|Alma mater||University of Illinois, Chicago|
|Occupation||University of Arkansas at Little Rock, |
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Iowa State University
|Known for||Computer Engineering, |
CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment
|Awards||IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award|
Carolina Cruz-Neira is a Spanish-Venezuelan-American computer engineer, researcher, designer, educator, and a pioneer of virtual reality (VR) research and technology. She is known for inventing the CAVE automatic virtual environment. She previously worked at Iowa State University (ISU), University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is currently the director of the Emerging Analytics Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Carolina Cruz-Neira graduated cum laude with a degree in systems engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela in 1987. She earned a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1991, and her PhD in 1995, working under computer graphics researcher Thomas DeFanti.
The first CAVE was invented by Carolina Cruz-Neira, Daniel J. Sandin, and Thomas A. DeFanti in 1992. For her PhD dissertation, Cruz-Neira designed and developed the CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment, its specifications, and implementation. She also designed and implemented the CAVELib software API, now a commercial product. She was the architect of the Open Source API VR Juggler, an open source virtual reality applications development framework.
The CAVE is an immersive system that became the standard for rear projection-based Virtual Reality systems. The normal full system consists of projections screens along the front, side and floor axes, and a tracking system for the "user". Although they used the recursive acronym Cave Automatic Virtual Environment for the CAVE system, the name also refers to Plato's "Republic" and "The Allegory of the Cave" where he explored the concepts of reality and human perception.
Since then there have been a couple offshoots of the CAVE technology, including ImmersaDesk, Infinity Wall and Oblong Industries' G-speak system. The ImmersaDesk is a semi-immersive system, resembling a drafting table, while the Infinity Wall is designed to cater to an entire room of people, such as a conference room. Extending this concept, G-speak supports gestural input from multiple-users and multiple-devices on and expandable array of monitors.
Dr. Cruz-Neira was the Stanley Chair professor in Interdisciplinary Engineering, and a co-founder of the Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) at Iowa State University (ISU). In 2002, Dr. Cruz-Neira co-founded and co-directed the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate program at ISU.
She later joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005, and in 2006, was the first CEO and Chief Scientist of LITE (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise), a Louisiana State initiative to support economic development immersive technologies. From 2009 to 2014 she was the W. Hansen Hall and Mary Officer Hall/BORSF Endowed Super Chair in Telecommunications in Computer Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
In 2007, she was awarded the IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award, in recognition of the development of the CAVE. International Digital Media and Arts Association (iDMMa) awarded her the Distinguished Career Award in 2009.
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