“With my Oculus headset still warm, I sat and googled him,” says Ericsson’s Zeljka Sotra. “I couldn’t believe it. I just had a virtual experience with Tom Furness, the grandfather of VR technology. In this other space – a space I think much of the world will inhabit soon – it was a defining moment for me and reignited my passion to bring Web3.0 and the metaverse to life!”

I remember the day when the Internet went mobile. Do I dare to admit that even I was a bit skeptical? It was so complicated to get things to work and configure everything that needed to be configured. The arrival opened all kinds of new opportunities. From my perspective at least, there was one opportunity that stood out the most: I could check my bus timetable. That was then.

And now it is 5G! Voice calls and packet data from the Internet are replaced with immersive 3D objects that have properties, functions, behaviors and intelligence. Extended reality is making illusions real, tangible and visible.

A chance encounter

I bought my first VR headset in May 2020, an Oculus. I was so eager to try it. I booked myself into a VR event; it turned out to be a HR summit in AltSpace. I joined but I realized that I was late. I missed the whole event. While I was trying to understand how I move in the AltSpace, an avatar approached me.

Mystery voice – “Hello…”

Zeljka: “Hello….”

Mystery voice: ” What brings you to this space?”

Zeljka: “Curiosity”

Mystery voice: “Oh, Great! How long have you been in the VR?”

Zeljka: “I just bought my headset and I am trying it out.”

Mystery voice: “Oh cool, what are you working with?”

Zeljka: “I am working at the system department developing 5G at Ericsson. How about you? How long have you been working with VR?”

Mystery voice: “54 years”

What! Could it be true? 54 years! I am in shock! I thought VR was a new technology! I smiled.

Zeljka: “Ah, perhaps then you could help me with my challenge?”

Mystery voice: “Sure, just google me! I am glad to help!”

The event ended.

The friendly and warm avatar left me a message on the chat:

Mystery voice: “Find me! Tom Furness!”

I take off my headset and I go and google the name, Tom Furness.

Google’s response: “Thomas A. Furness III is an American inventor, professor, and virtual reality pioneer based in Seattle, Washington. He is a Professor in the University of Washington Department of Industrial

& Systems Engineering, and the founder of the Human Interface Technology Lab at the University of Washington and its sister labs at the University of Canterbury and University of Tasmania.”

Source: https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2022/5/grandfather-of-vr-metaverse

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