[Check out mind-blowing augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies at work and play.]
Augmented and Virtual Reality

The dramatic progress to date in extended reality technologies notwithstanding, formidable challenges remain in creating technology that not only couples seamlessly with the human senses but is also matched to human cognitive and social abilities. The solutions to these challenges require integrating the expertise of scientists and engineers from a broad range of disciplines including optics, visual science, auditory science, cognitive science and social science.  We have assembled experts from these fields to explore the future of these transformative technologies through talks and panel discussions.  A session will also explore how AR/VR technology can enhance education.  For everyone from newcomers to advanced designers of AR/VR technology, the meeting will offer many hands-on demonstrations of the very latest technologies.


Topics Include:

  • Compact, lightweight, and high image quality optical solutions for extended reality imagery
  • Visual system constraints on AR/VR technology
  • State of the art eye tracking in AR/VR systems
  • Challenges in achieving effortless human/AI conversation
  • The impact of human social behavior on the design of AR/VR technology
  • Applications of AR/VR in education
  • Industry roundup – future-casting in Education, Gaming, Defense, Manufacturing and more

Track Leader:

  • David Williams, Ph.D., Dean for Research in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, University of Rochester
Track Speakers
[Hear inspiring talks in an intimate setting with the best minds in the field.]
Augmented and Virtual Reality

Steve Feiner

[Columbia University]

Nassir Navab

[Technical University of Munich and Johns Hopkins University]

Michele Rucci

[University of Rochester]

Nick Vamivakas

[University of Rochester]

Aaron Bauer

[University of Rochester]

Zhen Bai

[University of Rochester]

Linda Liu


Jannick Rolland

[University of Rochester]

Juan Carlos Minano

[Technical University of Madrid ]

Jane Alexander

[The Cleveland Museum of Art]

Richard Lamb

[East Carolina University College of Education]

Shaun Foster

[Rochester Institute of Technology]
Track Schedule
[Hear inspiring talks in an intimate setting with the best minds in the field.]
Sibley Square

Wednesday, June 26

Moderator: Jannick Rolland, University of Rochester
9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Robotic Imaging
Keynote: Nassir Navab: In this talk, I will present an overview of our most recent advancements in Robotic Imaging, Machine Learning and Medical Augmented Reality. I will first discuss the particular requirements for intra-operative imaging and visualization. I will then present some of our latest results in intra-operative multimodal robotic imaging and its translation to clinical applications. I will then discuss the impact of research advancement in machine learning on medical imaging and computer-assisted intervention. I will finally present some applications of virtual and augmented reality in the medical domain. Starting by the current deployment of AR and VR technology within medical education, I discuss its current and future impact on surgical education and training. I will then review the first deployment of augmented reality into operating rooms in the last two decades and present some of our latest achievements in this field.
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Better Together-Collaborating through AR and VR
Steve Feiner - Columbia University: There are many tasks that require collaboration, with participants that are co-located, remote, or mixed. I will present ongoing research at Columbia University that explores how AR and VR can improve communication between collaborating users, increasing how effectively they work together. Domains that I will address range from maintenance and assembly, to rehabilitation, to urban visualization, and also demonstrate the complementary advantages of different kinds of AR and VR displays.
10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Free-form Optics and Light Folding for Optimum Experience
Juan C. Minano - Span University: The optimal user experience in VR requires a wide field of view (for the sake of “presence” or “immersion” feeling), high-resolution scenes and headsets as small as possible. These goals are best met by free-form optics able to attain good image quality within the required field of view, and folding the light so that displays can be located as close as possible to user’s eyes. This work will discuss different solutions featuring free-forms and/or light folding in their attempt to replace conventional (rotationally symmetric) optics in this field.
11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Freeform Optics
Aaron Bauer - University of Rochester: Freeform optics offer designers the flexibility to conform optical systems to unique geometries that would otherwise be unattainable. We developed and will present a method for designing optical systems with freeform optics that is based in aberration theory. Using this method, we designed a variety of a systems for augmented reality packaged to fit within a sunglass form factor.
11:45 a.m. - 12:15 a.m.
Understanding Metasurfaces
Nick Vamivakas - University of Rochester: Fundamentally the spatial phase of an electromagnetic wave determines its direction of propagation. A natural question therefore arises – how can one control the spatial phase distribution of an electromagnetic wave and thereby its direction of propagation and energy flow? A recent answer to this question relies on the ability to structure the nanoscale coordination of metals and dielectrics across a surface to engineer the interface’s optical response. These engineered surfaces, commonly called metasurfaces, have transformed how we understand the interaction of light and matter and are leading to a revolution in the development of optical technology. In this talk, I will describe some of our recent work using planar metasurfaces to realize optical elements relevant for spectroscopy and imaging.
2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Audio Augmented Learning
Hannes Gamper, Researcher HoloLens, Ben Salzman, Virtual Symphony, Hamilton College: Structured Conversations Between Industry and Education
2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Designing for Diverse Learners
Kai Frazer Curated X Kai, Greses Perez, Science in the City, Stanford University: Structured Conversations Between Industry and Education
3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Capturing The Spectrum of Learning
Jane Alexander, Chief Digital Information Officer, Cleveland Museum of Art, Richard Lamb, Associate Professor, Dir. Neurocognition Science Lab University of Buffalo: Structured Conversations Between Industry and Education

Thursday, June 27

Moderator: David Messinger, Rochester Institute of Technology
9:30 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Eye Tracking
Michele Rucci - University of Rochester: Michele’s research integrates experimental and theoretical approaches to elucidate the computational and biological mechanisms of visual perception. Research in his laboratory has revealed novel contributions from eye movements to spatial vision, has raised specific hypotheses on the influences of eye movements in the neural encoding of visual information and in visual development, has resulted in new methods for eye-tracking and real-time control of retinal stimulation, and has led to robots directly controlled by models of neural pathways.
10:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Social AR/VR
Zhen Bai - University of Rochester: The reality that people experience is not only physical and biological, but also largely social. Social interaction shapes all aspects of our everyday life from learning, working, recreation to wellbeing. My research focuses on exploring the design space of embodied and intelligent interfaces that augment social reality through enhanced social cognition, communication and collaboration. In this talk, I will share research findings that inspire my research in the direction of Augmented Social Reality, through the lens of designing Augmented Reality and Virtual Agent in supporting social-emotional learning such as imagination and curiosity for people with diverse abilities and backgrounds. I will reflect on the interdisciplinary opportunities and future directions of designing an accessible and supportive social reality with an ever-growing symbiosis with machine intelligence.
10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Fluent Conversations with AI
Linda Liu - Amazon: Within the past decade, voice assistants, such as the Amazon Alexa devices, have become increasingly popular. People use these devices for a variety of tasks, from playing music to calling friends without even picking up their phone. How can we make these interactions as natural as possible for the user? In this talk, I discuss some of the challenges of creating a system that can fluently recognize and understand speech for a diverse array of tasks.
11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Cross Disciplinary Virtual Reality For Lighting and Composition
Shaun Foster / Ihab Mardini - Rochester Institute of Technology: In this talk we will first discuss the methods for creating VR compositions and lighting. Next we<br /> will discuss the VR tools for lighting & composition for an accelerated iteration: Next we will discuss some emerging multi-department exploration revealing synergistic workflows for collaboration and communication across the disciplines of 3D Digital, Game, Interior and Industrial Design programs. We will discuss a pivotal set of questions and discussion areas we have found for improving multi-disciplinary collaboration
11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
History and Case Studies of AR in Utilities
John Simmins - Alfred State University: Dr. John J. Simmins is Associate Provost for Research and Economic Development at Alfred University. In this position, he oversees approximately 50 research faculty and 200 graduate students. In addition, he directs the efforts of the NYS Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) as Executive Director. Simmins is also partially responsible for bringing jobs and opportunities to western NY and in particular Allegany County, one of the most underserved counties in NY State. Dr. Simmins has expertise in the intersection of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and geospatial information systems developed while he was at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) where he was employed for the 10 years before becoming Associate Provost.
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Expert Led Round Table Conversations
Table 1: Greses Perez: What counts as learning in VR? Table 2: Jane Alexander: What approaches are most successful in helping a creative team innovate and work given the complexity of integrating ever-new technologies at an institution level? Table 3: April Luehmann & Andrew White: How can we see and sell the social aspects of learning? Table 4: Zhen Bai: How can we make claims about AR-supported 21st century learning of collaboration, creativity and communication? Table 5: Kai Frazer: What does it mean to consider safety in location based XR? Table 6: Richard Lamb: How important is it to quantify learning?

Experienced Speakers

Hear inspiring talks in an intimate setting with the best minds in the field.


See interactive demonstrations of the latest AR/VR technologies, products and capabilities.

Track Venue

Sibley Square, 2nd Floor