In an industry where the limelight often falls on influencers and public figures, the real minds driving VR/AR/MR/XR development forward can go unnoticed. They're the brains refining our tech to be more immersive, enjoyable, and user-friendly. And their drive? They're not just doing it for personal success. They're committed to achieving a grander, more collaborative XR ecosystem. That's why we shift public focus to recognize these professionals, celebrating the 'By Developers, For Developers' visionaries shaping our spatial worlds.
Our criteria for chosing the below individuals:
If you’re working in the VR (Virtual Reality)/AR (Augmented Reality) industry, you should not miss the chance to follow these individuals on their respective channels!
The content they share is truly avant-garde. But see for yourself why we selected the following 15 individuals as outstanding members of the XR community. However, sometimes it's difficult to find information on 'behind-the-scenes' personalities, that's why descriptions vary in length, please reach out if you'd like to add or edit information!
Daniel is the Head of AR/VR Shopify and became famous for his mindblowing experiments with hand-tracking. Under his leadership, Shopify developed its first VR app, Thread Studio, combining VR and e-commerce. Beauchamp is also a creative genius fond of developing crazy VR game concepts most famous of which is the Miniature Beat Saber. given his track record and the rapidly evolving nature of the XR industry, it’s safe to assume that he will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible in this exciting field.
Miniature Beat Saber, Shopify Party, Hyper Island Creative Data Lab
Follow Daniel here:
E-Commerce in VR and AR
Daniel is a dedicated VR developer whose passion for XR shines through in his work. With a channel focused on teaching and exploring XR UX design and philosophy, he has become a valuable resource for those interested in this cutting-edge field. On his channel, viewers can anticipate a wealth of knowledge, including informative tutorials, in-depth explorations of UX design, and thought-provoking discussions on design philosophy. He is one of the guest lecturers of the XR Design Fellowship program at XR Bootcamp.
Why did we select him ?
He is known for his design resource library. He has also inspired XR designers with his UX breakdown of famous games and apps. He created one of the most helpful XR design collaboration tools for rapid prototyping called Bezel.
Follow Daniel here:
John Carmack is known for his work and time as CTO at Oculus. He left VR in 2022 and founded Keen Technologies, an artificial general intelligence (AGI) company.
Why did we select him?
John is widely regarded as one of the greatest programmers in the gaming community. His technical expertise and innovation have left a lasting legacy in the world of video games. It's worth checking his “Unscripted” talks at Meta Connect.
Doom, Quake, Rage, Wolfenstein 3D
Follow and connect with John:
Superpowers: Game Programming, Game Engines, VR, Hardware, AGI
Enrique Tromp, co-founder and CTO of VRMADA. His specialty is in complex simulation-based training and virtual reality interaction. He has directed the development of multiple virtual reality training applications for Fortune 100 companies and governments, establishing VRMADA as a leader in this space. He has also developed UltimateXR, a professional-grade Virtual Reality framework and toolkit that simplifies the creation of virtual reality applications - free and open source, focusing on simulation and enterprise XR use cases.
Follow Enrique here:
Superpowers: Simulation-based training, Real-time interactive games
Fabian Quosdorf is an XR/MR/VR enthusiast with a passion for interaction concepts and "real-world" applications. With expertise in HoloLens2, Unity, and Unreal Engine 4, he became CTO of Island Labs, an MR studio for interior design and industrial applications. In 2021, he founded his own studio, mixed.world whose productions were nominated for the famous Auggie Awards. He’s also teaching MR Master Classes at XR Bootcamp.
His client list:
Why we selected Fabian?
Fabian is creating truly innovative MR experiences! Especially, we’re impressed by his recent creation of the world’s first cross-platform multi-user experience using shared anchors.
Superpowers: MR Development, Microsoft HoloLens2, Volumetric Video and Augmented Reality
Follow and connect with Fabian:
Freya Holmér is a video game developer, known for her shader and graphics libraries, Shader Forge, and Shapes, as well as her software development of the game Budget Cuts. Shader Forge is a shader library developed by Holmér which became the industry standard for shader editing. Holmér's other major contribution to the gaming industry is Shapes, a real-time vector graphics library built to aid in development of Unity-based games.Holmér co-founded an indie game startup called Neat Corporation, the company behind the Budget Cuts VR games. She is credited 21 times across 18 video games spanning from 2007 to 2022.
Follow Freya here:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@Acegikmo
Superpowers: Writing shaders and plug-ins for Unity, 3D Modelling and Indie VR Game Devleopment
Greg Madison, the XR magician, serves as an IXD/UX designer at Unity Labs, where he's made a name for himself by developing interactive VR environments using the Meta Quest. He holds several patents in the digital reality space and is deeply involved in research to push the boundaries of AR and VR technologies. Beyond his design skills, Greg is currently engaged in innovative productivity and gaming experiments, demonstrating advanced shader techniques.
Carte Blanche with Unity, Samsung GearVR , Oculus Rift, Google Glass
Follow Greg here:
Superpowers: Spatial Computing, Latent Spaces, XR Interaction Design, Stable Diffusion
Javier Davalos is a seasoned XR and RIFT developer, best known as the founder and visionary behind Overlay, the company responsible for Figmin XR—a cutting-edge AR platform specializing in hologram creation. A sought-after voice in the XR community, Javier took the stage at AWE USA 2022, a premier industry event. An active Twitter presence, he regularly disseminates insights and updates on his groundbreaking work. His contributions have significantly advanced AR hand physics, multimedia integrations, and multiplayer functionalities. He's also the mastermind behind the innovative floating virtual gamepads.
Follow Javier here:
Overlay Website: https://overlaymr.com/
Superpowers: Hand tracking and interactions, Advanced physics modelling, Gravitational fields and colliders in Unity
Jasmine Roberts is a software engineer and researcher. Notably, she played a key role in developing Google ARCore's Depth API with Google Research and is a contributor to the "Speaking the World into Existence" project led by Jaron Lanier. This project stands as one of the first to seamlessly integrate generative AI into game engines. Roberts has also contributed to the development of eye-tracking UX paradigms for the PlayStation VR 2 and contributes to open-source repositories. Jasmine also is one of the original organizers of the MIT Reality Hackathon.
Microsoft, Google, Unity, Sony PlayStation, NASA
Follow Jasmine here:
Augmented Reality Application Development, 3D UI Engineering, Game mechanics, Game Engine Integration
Jeri Ellsworth is a key figure in AR gaming hardware. She initially founded the first consumer-focused AR platform and developed the castAR development system. Now, she's behind Tilt Five, a set of AR glasses designed for tabletop gaming and more. She also supports developers through a specialized program aimed at bringing new games and apps into the XR space.
In addition to her work in AR, Jeri is a self-described nerd with a YouTube channel where she tackles projects ranging from software-defined radios to race car prototyping.
Cast AR, Tilt Five, Astra
Follow Jeri here:
Personal Website: https://www.jeriellsworth.com/
Superpowers: AR Hardware and Eyewear, Holographics development
Matsuda is a London-based designer known for combining filmmaking and interaction design. His projects include “Hyper-Reality”, a film that presents a vision of the future where physical and virtual realities have merged. He has created experimental projects that explore the possibilities of spatial computing and mixed reality. From using VR to explore nature and technology to present a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, Matsuda has a lot of ongoing research-by-design projects.
Why did we select him?
Matsuda stands out with his mixed reality filmmaking skills. He is also the creator of Wol, a popular mixed-reality experience.
Famous film projects/ works:
Follow Keiichi here:
Personal Website: http://km.cx/
Superpowers: Design systems, vision films, interaction prototyping and content development
Mark is a VR leader, with a career spanning over 7 years of immersive VR and Natural User Interface development expertise. He is based out of Canberra, Australia. Mark serves as a VR developer at the esteemed SUPERHOT Team, a renowned Polish game and VR studio celebrated for its blockbuster titles such as SUPERHOT, SUPERHOT Mind Control Delete, and SUPERHOT VR. He is also an independent game developer known for his critically acclaimed titles from Gravity Lab to Nighttime Terror.
Paul Hoover is Head of Design at ShapesXR, a platform that allows users to create, share, and experience XR content. He has worked for clients such as Meta Reality Labs, Magic Leap, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel, Oculus, and many more. He also owns several patents in the MR space. Paul is also one of the main lecturers at the XR Design Fellowship at XR Bootcamp, sharing his knowledge and experience with XR Designers across the globe.
Follow Paul here:
Paul’s Website: https://paulhoover.myportfolio.com/
Superpowers: XR Design, Stereoscopy, Room scale and Immersive Interaction
Stephen is a dynamic and accomplished professional with a passion for interactive design and a knack for turning creative ideas into reality. Stephen's journey in the tech industry has been marked by a deep interest in Unity prototyping software and mobile app development for clients. He developed a student project at The Art Institute of Phoenix that focused on Augmented Reality and its potential in the mobile space with Project E.A.R.T.H. He is currently working as the Chief Technology Officer at Coral Labs where he is guiding the team not only on proper implementation and integration of Unity software stack with Flutter UI but also on best practices on mobile augmented reality application development.
Why did we select him?
Stephen took a significant part in introducing and starting the creation of XRTK. He did this by making a new version of the Microsoft Mixed Reality Toolkit, and this new version made it easier for developers to work on mixed reality apps in Unity.
XRTK (Extended Reality Toolkit)
Follow Stephen here:
After working as Lead Product Engineer for Resolve, Thomas breakthrough came with his first commercial game, Cubism, a spatial puzzle game with a slick minimal presentation that impressively holds the highest user rating among all Quest apps. It is an excellent showcase of hand-tracking capabilities on Meta Quest. His latest game Laser Dance (turn your own living room into a laser obstacle course) is also going to be released on Meta Quest. The game has gained attention for its innovative and fun gameplay.
Cubism, Laser Dance
Follow Thomas here:
Superpowers: Simplistic Game Design, Procedural Generation, Passthrough.
These 15 XR Master Minds are the unsung heroes driving innovation and collaboration in the Extended Reality (XR) industry.
From Daniel Beauchamp's groundbreaking hand-tracking experiments to Freya Holmér's graphics libraries and Fabian Quosdorf's pioneering MR experiences, these professionals are inventors, educators, and creators committed to advancing XR for the greater community's benefit.
Their visionary work is shaping the immersive future of XR, and following them on their respective channels is a unique opportunity to witness their groundbreaking contributions firsthand. As the XR journey continues, these individuals will undoubtedly lead the way, inspiring others and fostering a more collaborative and immersive XR world.
More XR heroes? Check our award list of Top 15 XR Enablers!
Let us know if we forgot anyone who needs to be listed. Reach out to us here