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Well..How Did I Get Here?

Prof. Steve LaValle, University of Illinois, Research Scientist at Oculus/Facebook

Well..How Did I Get Here?

  • CREATE-MIA Event
  • Seminar
  • Professional skills
When Nov 21, 2014
from 12:15 PM to 01:15 PM
Where McConnell Engineering MC437
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You never know where your expertise, experience, and Internet presence will take you. This talk will explain how I became involved with Oculus and virtual reality, while being a robotics professor on sabbatical. An important take away from this talk is that our robotics background may be useful in commercial endeavours that extend well outside of robotics. This is partly due to our comfort with problems and systems that extend across multiple disciplines, such as computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. This is a natural consequence of robots mixing sensing, actuation, and computation, which furthermore gives us useful exposure to the gaps between theory and practice.


Steve LaValle started working with Oculus VR in September 2012, a few days after their successful Kickstarter campaign, and was the head scientist up until the Facebook acquisition in March 2014. He developed perceptually tuned head tracking methods based on IMUs and computer vision. He also led a team of perceptual psychologists to provide principled approaches to virtual reality system calibration and the design of comfortable user experiences. In addition to his continuing work at Oculus, he is also Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, where he joined in 2001. He has worked in robotics for over 20 years and is known for his introduction of the Rapidly exploring Random Tree (RRT) algorithm of motion planning and his 2006 book, Planning Algorithms. You can find more about Steve and Oculus VR here: here:,

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Funded by NSERC

Funding provided by NSERC