Mark Bolas, Director of the Mixed Reality Lab at the Institute for Creative Technologies and an Associate Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has been exploring presence and immersive experiences for over three decades, putting forward his thoughts on the medium of virtual reality as early as 1989. Bolas’ decision to open-source his seminal work and research has helped to usher in the current VR revolution. The influence of his lab's DIY VR projects (FOV2GO, VR2GO, MxR Unity Package) can be seen in current commercial products like the Samsung GearVR, the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. Emerging VR companies founded by students who have prototyped work at the MxR Lab under the supervision of Bolas, include: Survios, Otherworld Interactive, Oculus VR, and the Emblematic Group.
Bolas leads research projects for the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research, and DARPA, as well as a variety of entertainment clients. His efforts include a project seeking to bridge the gap between the language of cinema and the emerging medium of VR, including a project that brings stop motion animation into head mounted displays via light field rendering. Bolas co-founded Fakespace Labs, Inc. in 1988 and developed and sold VR hardware and systems for dozens of major research labs over the decades. He holds more than twenty patents and has been recognized with awards from the Consumer Electronics Association, Popular Science, SIGGRAPH Best Emerging Technology, IEEE's Industry Excellence, and IEEE's Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award.