University of Washington
Cobwebs in a Virtual Brain
Abstract: Over a career of 42 years, Prof. Furness has been exploring and developing technology for getting bandwidth to the brain and between brains. His work has encompassed fighter cockpits, virtual reality, retinal displays, educational tools, medical simulators, pain, phobias, molecular modelling, scanning fiber endoscopes and entertainment systems. This quest has been punctuated with side trips and 'aha' experiences that have led to unanticipated destinations. Dr. Furness plans to talk about lessons learned on his journey including unexpected delights...with an aim to inspire, entertain and challenge.
Biography: Professor Furness is a pioneer in human interface technology and virtual reality. He received the BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University and the PhD in Engineering and Applied Science from the University of Southampton, England. Dr. Furness is currently a professor of Industrial Engineering with adjunct professorships in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Technical Communication at the University of Washington. He is the founder of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at UWaterloo and founder and international director of the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ and the HIT Lab Australia at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania. He is also an Erskine Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the University of Canterbury and the University of Tasmania.
Prior to joining the faculty at the University, Prof. Furness served a combined 23 years as an U.S. Air Force officer and civilian at the Armstrong Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he developed advanced cockpits and virtual interfaces for the Department of Defense. He is the author of the Super Cockpit program and served as the Chief of Visual Display Systems and Super Cockpit Director until he joined the University of Washington in 1989.
Dr. Furness lectures widely and has appeared in many national and international network and syndicated television science and technology documentaries and news programs. He is the inventor of the personal eyewear display, the virtual retinal display, the HALO display and holds 15 patents in advanced sensor, display and interface technologies. With his colleagues Dr. Furness has started 24 companies, two of which are traded on NASDAQ at a market capitalization of >$2B. In 1998 he received the Discover Award for his invention of the virtual retinal display.