VRWC17 was fantastic

'Virtual Futures Track' headlines new VRWC17 speaker additions

By Ryan Davies

Published in: Announcement

Date: 3 / 3 / 17

Tags: VRWC / VRWC17 / Exhibitors / Speakers

VR World Congress is excited to introduce ‘Virtual Futures: Where is VR taking us?’, a special talk track sponsored by the University of Bristol and University of the West of England.

The four talks will be provided by a range of internationally renowned thinkers in VR, from world-leading institutions MIT, the University of Barcelona, University of Mainz and Microsoft Research.

Virtual Reality and the related technologies of Augmented and Mixed Reality have come of age, brought about by significant advances in key technical challenges. This is leading to new applications and methods of interaction and communication that will impact on all areas of society, from entertainment to health and education.

Virtual Futures will explore the future direction of these technologies from a wide perspective, not only in terms of technical directions but also wider applications, content generation and ethical issues. A special track at VR World Congress 2017, it brings together four internationally renowned thinkers in VR to give four keynote talks, with the aim of questioning where these technologies are taking us and encouraging debate on how we can influence their development.

VRWC is also delighted to welcome another huge wave of new speakers to the event. These latest talks cover areas such as advertising, healthcare, events and so much more. You can read all the details on all of our latest additions below:


‘Virtual Futures: Where is VR taking us?’ Keynote Track: 

Mel Slater, University of Barcelona - Virtually Be Someone Else and Change Yourself

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Mel Slater is an ICREA Research Professor at the University of Barcelona and Professor of Virtual Environments at University College London. He has been involved in research in VR since the early 1990s. In 2005 he was awarded the Virtual Reality Career Award by IEEE ‘In Recognition of Seminal Achievements in Engineering Virtual Reality.’

Using immersive virtual reality, it is possible to visually substitute the body of a person by a virtual body that is spatially coincident with their real body seen from first person perspective, and that moves synchronously with their own movements. This typically leads to a perceptual illusion of ownership over that virtual body. Over the past few years Mel and his team have studied how the form of the body influences aspects of their physiology, attitudes, behaviours and cognition. Here he will introduce the topic of virtual body ownership, and discuss examples of how this has been used both for personal enhancement and for changing attitudes and behaviours, helping to diminish racial bias, and gender harassment in social situations.


William Uricchio, MIT - VR non-fiction: things to come from a historical perspective

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William Uricchio is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He is Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab.

From Barker’s 1787 panorama to Heilig’s 1960s Sensorama… from claims to ‘being really on the spot’ to the promise of Star Trek’s holodeck, the desires bound up in the term ‘virtual reality’ have a rich history of claims, technologies, and public deployments. This talk will draw from history in order to chart forgotten lessons, tease out long term continuities, and map sites of difference as we continue our elusive pursuit of redefining reality. 


Hrvoje Benko, Microsoft Research - Perception = Reality: Exploiting Perceptual Illusions for Design of Compelling AR & VR Interfaces

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Hrvoje Benko is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. He has coauthored more than 60 scientific papers and journal articles and has served as General (2014) and Program Chair (2012) of the ACM User Interface Systems and Technology conference. His work has been featured in the mainstream media including The New York Times, BBC News, and Forbes.

One of the best ways to design compelling AR and VR interfaces is to think about them not as simulations of reality, but as perceptual illusions, designed primarily to fool us or surprise us in (hopefully) fun ways. To highlight how one can create fundamentally novel experiences by exploiting the human perceptual system, Hrvoje presents a progression of research prototypes in AR/VR, each exploring a different use scenario, including interactive projection mapping, wide-periphery head-mounted displays and VR haptic simulations.


Michael Madary, University of Mainz - The Ethics of Virtual Reality: Risks and Recommendations

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Michael Madary is a co-author of The First Code of Conduct for Research and Consumer Use of Virtual Reality (2016).  He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Tulane University and has also published widely on the philosophy of perception.

After many years of anticipation, virtual reality is now commercially available.  There is much optimism about the technology, but little discussion of the new risks that it might bring.  In this talk, Michael will first cover some of the most important scientific results relating to the psychological effects of virtual reality.  Then he will use those results as a basis for identifying possible risks.  Finally, he will offer some concrete recommendations for minimizing those risks in order to take full advantage of the substantial opportunities that virtual reality has to offer.



Samuel Huber, Advir - The immersive media revolution: how VR and AR are changing the advertising paradigm.  

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At the age of 21, Samuel held Physics, Engineering and Management degrees from best ranked Universities in Switzerland Sweden and the UK. After a 2-year stint as a strategy engineer in the Formula One industry he left his job to setup two gaming startups: Betify, which failed spectacularly and a mobile game called RogueTrader which he exited a year later. Foreseeing the explosion of immersive technologies, Sam recently founded Advir to help content creators monetize in a non-disruptive way.

As brands constantly fight to disrupt our attention, we have become blind to advertising. In this talk, backed by behavioural experiments, entrepreneur Samuel Huber argues that immersive technologies such as VR and AR are the biggest media revolution since television and will reshape the way brands tell their stories while minimizing ‘ad blindness’. He presents his vision of a world where advertising doesn’t need to be disruptive and contributes to enhance the user experience.


Andre Elijah, OPIATS - Creating Magic! Blow People's Minds and Expectations Through VR

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Andre Elijah is the Creative Director and CTO of OPIATS, a startup based in Toronto, Canada that tackles interactive marketing initiatives through the use of game engines and VR. Having worked in multiple industries from film, to enterprise technology, to digital media - Andre is always pushing technology to its breaking point in service of thoughtful and engaging narratives.

Andre has been taking the pillars of VR and 360 degree design and turning them into engaging projects that immerse and delight users while leaving lasting impressions. The last couple of years have seen the foundation of VR concepts and workflows be defined, now is the time to adapt and think outside of the box in delivering especially creative and awe inspiring experiences.


Dr MariCarmen Gil Ortega, UWE Bristol - Learning in 3D: making education more real and inclusive

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Maria del Carmen Gil Ortega is Senior teaching fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK, Senior Lecturer in Innovative Pedagogy and Programme Leader for the Masters in Education in Virtual Worlds at the Education Innovation Centre of the University of the West of England.

Maria will be speaking on the design of virtual learning experiences and the Affordances of Immersive 3D Virtual World Environments for Education and Training.


Jan Szczycinski & Marcin Pleta, World of VR - VR distribution – reaching out to thousands and millions

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Co-founder of Showtime VR solution for presenting VR and World of VR – a startup searching for implementation of virtual reality in marketing, education and entertainment through professional distribution. Event manager and author of global communications campaigns for international organisations (including United Nations), public administration and private sector.

Forget about a great 360° concept and high-end content if you can’t distribute it well, reach mass audience, and achieve high turnouts. People want to experience VR together! Like on a football game or a concert. Jan will present Challenges in managing multicast shows & solutions used by event agencies, VR cinemas, fairs, schools and more.


Trina Watt, Watt Knowledge - Translating Technology

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Trina has worked in engineering and marketing roles within the technology industry for over 23 years. Always interested in translating technical concepts into understandable messages, Trina left ARM Holdings to set up a dedicated technical marketing company focusing on helping companies maximise the impact of technology on their business.

Her talk will discuss the importance of translating increasingly complex technical concepts into easily digestible messages. She’ll discuss key approaches so the audience can translate their VR innovation into messages about the benefits of the products and customers buy them because of the innovation rather than be confused by it.


Youssri Helmy, Eonite - Challenges to Building a Consumer-Grade Inside-Out Positional Tracking System

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Seasoned entrepreneur Youssri Helmy, founder & CEO of Eonite, knows what it means to make an impact in the market. With more than 25 years of experience in engineering, product management, marketing, business development and consulting in a wide range of technology industries, Youssri has successfully co-founded, operated and exited several startups globally.

During this presentation, Eonite's CEO Youssri will identify the positional tracking options for VR/AR, discuss what it will take to adopt, fine tune, and standardize inside-out positional tracking, and explore what we can expect in consumer devices as the landscape matures.


Håvard Christensen, Agens AS - Protein synthesis: From textbook to room-scale in one month

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Håvard Christensen is a VR developer with background from game programming and game design. In addition to game and VR development, he has a solid experience with android development. He has most fun working in short cycles and especially with game jams or similar.

How do you move from a detailed and scientific text book to teaching in room scale VR, with the constraint that you have only one month and a limited budget? We argue that our weekly design, prototype, test cycle was key to understanding how to best adapt biology content for VR. Come learn how we believe science education can benefit from interactive teaching in VR.


Ed Daly, Seeper - Why MR wipes the floor with VR in the events space

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Ed Daly has spent 20 years as an entrepreneur in the creative industries, starting and growing video games development studios and an innovation consultancy. At seeper Ed’s mission is to lead the creative and technical team to new heights and bring their work to a bigger audience. This involves building a scalable operation while retaining a culture of innovation.

Seeper has developed an alternative MR experience called seeForm specifically for use in public events spaces/venues or by brands/creatives where the immersive benefits of VR can be enhanced by the interactive benefits of MR so users can still interact with their environment, objects, hosts and people around them.


Pablo Coca, CTIC Technology Center - Democratizing VR adoption by engineering and industrial companies

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Pablo Coca is Director of Business Development and Operations at Fundación CTIC, a technology center specialized in Information and Communciation Technologies. He is Lead Auditor of R&D Management Systems according to the Spanish standard UNE166002, performing certification audits for the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR). He is also external evaluator of the European Commission in R&D and innovation Programmes.

His talk will be based on CTIC's conversor called RealCAD. It allows them to make quick conversions (some hours) from CAD3D files to VR scenarios. Thus current economic barriers to use in the VR industry are overcome. They have used this technology in several industrial and engineering applications that will be presented in the talk as real use-cases.

Dave Elliott, Holovis - Using VR to save lives

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Dave specialises in Business Development at Holovis with a strong focus on Augmented and Virtual Reality, using these platforms to enhance communications for marketing, training, visualisation and production. Throughout his career he has been at the cutting edge of the media world, working alongside brands including Disney, Unilever, Ford and Sky.

Dave’s talk will be exploring VR used for training and the impact this is having, based around Holovis’s proprietary LearnView platform. This includes the Near Miss Simulator; an immersive VR solution recreating high-risk working scenarios concluding with a moment of jeopardy, eg height drop.

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Tickets for VR World Congress 2017 are available right now, with full three-day delegate tickets (which will grant you access to all of the speakers and exhibitors above) currently available for £300.

We hope you'll be joining us and our new speakers and exhibitors from April 11th - 13th for VR World Congress 2017! 

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