In order for software developers to do their jobs as new hardware reaches the market, they will need the right tools to get their projects off the ground and into augmented and mixed reality devices. There have been completely new approaches to development when it comes to AR and MR, and these are some of the faces behind them.
The names on the list below are helping create or tailor the development platforms that will bring software to the creative point it needs to finally change the world. If you're a software developer, you likely already know all of the people — and if you don't, you should. All of these names appear in Next Reality's list of 50 People to Watch in Augmented and Mixed Reality.
Starting with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, James Heppelmann moved on to become President and CEO of PTC, a "global provider of technology platforms and solutions that transform how companies create, operate, and service the 'things' in the Internet of Things (IoT)," according to the PTC website.
Heppelmann started working at PTC in 1998 when the company bought the startup he co-founded, Windchill Technology, which created the product lifecycle management software Windchill.
With products like Vuforia and ThingWorx enabling developers to easily integrate image-based tracking and IoT solutions into their own projects, it's no wonder Heppelmann was one of the "7 IoT Leaders to Watch in 2017" by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.
- You can follow James Heppelmann on Twitter.
Open-source enthusiast and developer Jerome Etienne is the creator of the recently released AR.js, a highly efficient 3D graphics solution for web browsers and mobile platforms. Etienne previously worked as Senior Staff Engineer at DAQRI, maker of smart helmets and smartglasses.
One of the primary content producers for Learning Three.js (or WebGL for Dummies), he has shown himself to be a very community-minded developer. If his passion for AR is anywhere near his passion for open-source software, expect to see a good deal more of him in the future.
Neeraj Wadhwa works as Senior Software Engineering Lead for Microsoft, one of the leading companies in AR development. Wadhwa attended Nagpur University in India for his BE degree in Electronics before receiving his MS at the University of Pennsylvania for Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.
He has been with Microsoft for 9 years, previously working on Windows Runtime for the Universal Windows Platform and Xbox One Kinect. Wadhwa's work focuses on the much-revered HoloLens, but more importantly — to the development community — he is very active in helping steer the path of its software partner the HoloToolkit.
As CTO of SLAM-based (SLAM as in simultaneous localization and mapping) image recognition and tracking software developer Wikitude, Philipp Nagele is helping define the technical strategies for AR and enabling both consumer and B2B solutions.
Prior to his start with Wikitude in 2011, Nagele spent years working in the mobile solutions market, most notably as Product Manager for T-Mobile Australia. He is a regular speaker at the yearly Augmented World Expo (AWE) and other events in the AR/MR space.
Nagele earned a degree in Austria for Telecommunication Engineering, then got his MS in Computer Systems Engineering from Halmstad University in Sweden.
As Principal Designer at Unity Labs — the experimental arm of the Unity structure — in charge of the immersive Authoring Tools group, Timoni West probably has one of the coolest jobs in the mixed reality space.
Having released the EditorVR to the public at the end of 2016, a virtual reality-based Unity editor, West is helping shape the future of 3D game and application development.
Before Unity, West worked as Senior Product Designer at Foursquare, Flickr, and Scribd, and graduated from the English Department at George Mason University in Virginia.
Co-creator of VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language), a mid-'90s attempt at making a web-based 3D environment, Tony Parisi is one of the long-time pioneers and a true veteran in this space. He has written multiple books on the subject of WebGL — a web-based OpenGL API, as well as WebVR.
Now, as Unity's Global Head of VR/AR, Parisi is in a position to use his experience to help steer the most-used game engine for AR/MR development in ways to help developers and the market grow exponentially.