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Advance Program »

Ed Lantz - CTO, Vortex Immersion Media


The ultimate virtual reality technology is popularly envisioned to entirely replace sensory inputs, immersing participants within a virtual environment while physically isolating them from real-world sensations.

While the head-mounted display and data glove remain the prototypical icons of virtual reality, real-world applications have tended towards less intrusive interfaces that do not inhibit natural, unencumbered, real-world interaction.

This is especially true for education and game applications that still employ monitors, keyboard and mouse or hand controllers but rarely venture beyond stereo glasses when it comes to wearable gear. Durability, cost, hygiene and throughput issues conspire to limit the use of wearable gear in everyday applications.

While “isolating” VR interfaces have found some practical applications, maturing technologies including Spatially Immersive Displays and Spatial Augmented Reality offer unprecedented opportunities for extending interactive virtual environments into large-scale group environments without the issues posed by wearable gear.

Real-world applications of spatial VR technologies will be explored including group gaming, interactive nightclubs, VR theater and digital theming.

About the Speaker

photo: michael zyda


Ed Lantz is founder and CTO of Vortex Immersion Media, a new venture bringing virtual reality experiences to the themed entertainment market.

He is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading authority in large-format digital cinema and immersive experiences for mass audiences, and continues to nurture the development of the “fulldome” medium which is now surpassing IMAX’s installed theater base by replacing film and analog star projectors with large-format interactive computer graphics projected onto domed screens.

Ed has a background in hardware and software engineering, quantum physics and electromagnetics. He spent 7 years leading photonic signal processing R&D at Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Florida. At the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory in Cocoa, Florida he led the development of the first polychromatic acousto-optic modulator (PCAOM) for laser graphics, an advanced DSP-based celestial motion control system, and design of Florida’s largest domed theater utilizing next-generation video graphics.

At Spitz, Inc. (E&S Spitz) he developed new products that transformed old-style planetariums into immersive visualization environments. He also founded Harmony Channel, a television network delivering mood-elevating digital media including MoodZones which has been described as “MTV for the Soul,” and Visual Bandwidth, Inc., an immersive cinema and fulldome video advisory group.

Ed has published and presented numerous papers on VR and entertainment technologies, and is a regular contributor to ACM SIGGRAPH papers, panels and courses. He founded the International Planetarium Society’s Fulldome Video Committee and the first Fulldome Standards Summit held in Valencia, Spain in 2004, co-organized the first Immersive Cinema Workshop in Espinho, Portugal in 2005, and moderated the NASA Explorer Institutes focus group on fulldome video held at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA.

He received a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University (1984), serves on the boards of the Center for Visual Music and the Center for Conscious Creativity, and holds two US Patents on immersive video-based theater technology.