IT Life Radio: Where Virtual Reality Falls Short

The latest episode of IT Life radio features the real-life inventor of Iron Man's Jarvis, who happens to bring similar innovations to the way we work.
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Oculus Rift and other virtual reality helmets are seen by many as potential game changers in gaming, retail, entertainment, and other industries. But VR has significant weaknesses. You're stuck inside the helmet. It locks your experience and makes it difficult to share with coworkers or friends. Join us Wednesday, July 29 at 2:00 pm ET for the latest episode of IT Life radio, in which we'll discuss those weaknesses in detail, and see if there is a better way to bring VR into the mainstream.

John Underkoffler thinks there is -- and he would know. He's been called "the real-life Tony Stark." Underkoffler, the computer scientist and award-winning user-interface designer behind the films Minority Report and Iron Man, believes the future isn't locked in these headsets. Rather, it's in shareable experiences and workspaces. Collaboration is not about creating virtual walls, but working with one another on actual walls. People need space for their ideas and content to spread and adapt as they flow in real-time. VR users need a whole new UI to interact with it properly.

We'll talk to Underkoffler about the future of collaboration and shared visuals in the workspace. We'll see what might await beyond virtual reality. We'll talk to him about how close we are to the Jarvis interface from Iron Man and how to work better together.

[ Can VR work in real life? Read Dallas Cowboys Try To Score With Virtual Reality. ]

Underkoffler is CEO of Oblong Industries and developer of both the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment and the Mezzanine conferencing and collaboration system in use at firms from Boeing to Beats Music. Oblong's technological trajectories build on 15 years of foundational work at the MIT Media Laboratory, where Underkoffler was responsible for innovations in real-time computer graphics, large-scale visualization techniques, and the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room systems.

He has been science advisor to films including Minority Report, The Hulk (A. Lee), Aeon Flux, Stranger Than Fiction, and Iron Man. He also serves as adjunct professor in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is on the boards of the 5D Conference, the University Art Museum at CSULB, the Sequoyah School, and the E14 Fund. He is also on MIT's Visiting Committee. He is the 2015 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner for Interaction Design.

Tune in Wednesday, July 29 at 2:00 pm ET to learn how we can do VR and workplace collaboration better.

IT Life is the biweekly show for you, the IT professional, the technologist, the futurist, and the maker. We bring experts to cover topics to help you have a better career and stay on top of future trends in technology. Tune in live every other Wednesday at 2:00 pm ET, and explore our archive here.