Birth: August 26, 1918
Specialty: Computer Engineering
Co-inventor and developer of the CAVE automatic virtual environment
Agere Chair Professor at University of Central Florida
IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Carolina Cruz-Neira was appointed the Director of the Emerging Analytics Center and Donaghey Professor at the University of Arkansas Little Rock in 2014 where her expertise in virtual reality helped her to work with industries across the board to implement broader use of this technology not only at the center but in a more mobile format.
Cruz-Neira graduated with a degree in systems engineering in 1987 from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela and earned her master’s degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1991 focusing on electrical engineering and computer science. This was followed by her Ph.D. just four years later. As part of her doctoral dissertation she was part of a team that designed and developed a virtual reality system dubbed CAVE. She also designed and implemented the CAVELib software API, and was the architect of the Open Source API VR Juggler.
The CAVE system has been compared to the holodeck system shown on Star Trek: the Next Generation. Used on the show as a form of entertainment, the CAVE system is seen as a multi-functioning tool for a variety of applications. CAVE systems can be found on many university campuses as well as in industrial settings. The interaction between the user in an immersive environment and the environment itself allows the user the ability to manipulate objects that cannot be easily manipulated in reality. Engineers can create and test designs before incurring the cost of actual products and doctors can use the system to “step inside” a virtual rendering of an MRI and make a better diagnosis than with the traditional ways to view the scan results.
In 2019 Cruz-Neira joined the faculty at the University of Central Florida as a professor in the computer science department where she continues her work in VR systems including applications for virtual and augmented reality and emerging visual data analytics.
In her words she feels “What limits what we can do is how far we can think, our imaginations. If you can think about something, no matter how challenging, we should be able to make it happen.”
Suggested By: William Russell
Written by Angela Goad