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avatar for Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier

Computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author

Jaron Lanier is a scientist, musican, visual artist, writer, and inventor. His book "You Are Not a Gadget" was released in 2010 and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by Michiko Kakutani in the NY Times. In 2010, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. His current interests include biomimetic information architectures, user interfaces, heterogeneous scientific simulations, advanced information systems for medicine, and computational approaches to the fundamentals of physics. He is best known for his work with virtual reality. He coined the term "virtual reality" and in the early 1980s and founded VPL Research, the first company to sell virtual reality products. Jaron later served as chief scientist at Eyematic Interfaces (Nevengineering) which was acquired by Google along with some of his other patents.

Jaron was the chief scientist of the Engineering Office with Internet2, and he served as the lead scientist of the National Tele-immersion Initiative, a coalition of research universities studying advanced applications for Internet2. The National Tele-immersion Initiative demonstrated the first prototypes of tele-immersion after a three-year development period. Currently, Jaron is a research fellow of the International Computer Science Institute of U.C. Berkeley.

"Jaron's World," a monthly column in Discover magazine, is devoted to Jaron's own wide ranging ideas and research. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Discover, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Harpers Magazine, The Sciences, Wired and Scientific American. In 2005 Lanier was selected as one of the top one hundred public intellectuals in the world by Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines. Various television documentaries have been produced about Jaron, such as "Dreadlocks and Digital Dreamworlds" by Tech TV in 2002 and the 1992 movie "Lawnmower Man," which was in part based on Jaron and his early laboratory.

As a musician, Jaron has been active in the world of new "classical" music since the late seventies. He is a pianist and a specialist in unusual musical instruments, especially the wind and string instruments of Asia. He has performed with artists as diverse as Philip Glass, Ornette Coleman, George Clinton, Vernon Reid, Terry Riley, Duncan Sheik, Pauline Oliveros, and Stanley Jordan. He also writes chamber and orchestral music and his works have been played all over the world.

Jaron received an honorary doctorate from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2006. He was the recipient of Central Michigan University's Watson award in 2001, and was a finalist for the first Edge of Computation Award in 2005. He has received numerous other awards, including the first Virtual Reality Industry Award for Applications, shared with VPL client Matsushita, in 1992.

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