Mark Bolas
Co-Founder of Fakespace, USC Professor and Palmer Luckey’s Mentor

In a career spanning more than three decades, Mark Bolas has revolutionized the XR industry with his research on perception, agency, and intelligence. His 1988-89 thesis work “Design and Virtual Environments” was among the first efforts to map the breadth of virtual reality as a new medium. At USC he was a professor, Director of the Interactive Narrative and Immersive Technologies Lab, and Director of the Mixed Reality Lab. There, he helped pioneer vital advancements in XR, including open sourcing a novel, cheap and easy-to-replicate HMD design, using readily-available cell phone components. He was a mentor to Palmer Luckey, Oculus Rift's creator.

Bolas’ work on immersive displays and haptic interfaces has been pivotal in advancing VR experiences, blending academic research with practical applications. In 1988 Bolas co-founded Fakespace Inc., inventing VR tools like the BOOM and Pinch glove. His efforts earned him the IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award in 2005. Bolas has also worked as a Professor at Stanford's School of Engineering, USC's School of Cinematic Arts, and as part of Microsoft's Hololens team.