What's your job or Profession?
I am an Entrepreneur and Indie Developer who specializes in Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR) to make games for both entertainment and purpose (Serious Games - health, education, simulation etc)
How did you get started?
Well I moved from Ireland to Australia with my family. I originally wanted to work with animals but due to visa requirements I couldn't travel to where the courses were. So I found myself studying and becoming a member of the HITLab family. The HITLab is a network of laboratories around the world and is most famous for its work in VR and AR. The founder of the HITLab is Thomas Furness. Currently there is HITLab US, HITLab NZ, and HITLab AU. Work is being done to bring more HITLab's to various parts of the world. So its a growing culture.
I was fortunate during this time to learn and work alongside experts in the fields, including:
- Thomas Furness - Grandfather of Virtual Reality
- Mark Billinghurst - Co-Creator of Augmented Reality
From there I opened up my own company (TemperTantrum) and was also involved in a number of other startup companies. I became a tutor, which you have heard about before. Got involved in various research projects to try and use the technology to help people. I then went on and did my masters and worked alongside a whole bunch of experts.
What's your Teaching Background?
That's probably a fair question to ask. Well I thought the following units as a Senior Tutor at University (the double codes represent undergraduate and postgraduate student groups):
- KXT101 Programming and Problem Solving
- KXH141/KXH541 Virtual Reality Technology
- KXH142/KXH542 Augmented Reality
- KXH241/KXH543 User Interface Design
- KXT313 Human Computer Interaction
I created and developed all the teaching material used by the students in Virtual Reality tutorials. The teaching material was deemed to be at such a standard as to be used to teach students in another unit, KXH343 Designing Virtual Worlds. The students that I taught, got together and nominated me for a teaching award, which the university gave me.
Here is what some of my students have written in a report:
⦁ "Great Patience, was always able to solve the problem, then explain to the students."
⦁ "Always helps to the best of his abilities."
⦁ "Jonathan knows what he is talking about when it comes to his chosen field."
⦁ "Jonathan is really knowledgeable about what he teaches, and this really shines through whenever he leads the class tutorials.
He shows genuine interest in everyone's work and was extremely helpful when I needed his assistance via email."
⦁ "Communicates to his students very well, and ensures you're understanding everything."
⦁ "Cares so much and makes sure that everyone is keeping up. brilliant teacher."
⦁ "Very committed person when it comes to helping students with his knowledge."
⦁ "Jonathan is an excellent teacher that goes above and beyond what is required."
⦁ "He is perfect to be a teacher."
⦁ "He has great teaching skills, he has a good communication power."
⦁ "Friendly and enthusiastic to help others, have a good understanding."
⦁ "Very approachable, knowledgeable and helpful."
⦁ "Always very hepful."
⦁ "Jonathan's great! Not only does he know his ways around Unity but also with many other very useful Plugins that come with it."
What have you made?
That's probably another good question to ask.
Well a lot of my background is in creating startups, creating in-house and research based projects.
During my time as university student I was the leader for a Virtual Reality project that ran for a year. The team was myself and 9 other students from mixed backgrounds. We made the project in Unity3d and a 3D theatre called the Vision Space. It did so well that it achieved media coverage in TV, Newspaper and Radio(Southern Cross, Examiner, ABC Radio and Triple Jay). During this time I participated in interviews and public speaking.
As a master student I used Unity3d and Playmaker to create my thesis project - "Remote Collaboration solution for a Physiotherapist". I was investigating how to create an advanced system to help doctors and stroke patients work together over vast distances. I compared a whole range of different equipment to build this Virtual/Augmented Reality system (I was told I did the equivalent of a PhD during this time).
Before I did my masters, I managed to release a casual infinite runner game on for iOS and Android on the iTunes and Google Playstore:
I have also created a number of games and systems with custom hardware to help Stroke and Parkinson disease patients. As these research projects are still ongoing, I cannot share the videos and screenshots just yet. But here is a poster from the Parkinson system Games:
What are your plans now?
Well I have been involved in VR and AR for almost 10 years now. So I was here before the craze started with the Oculus.
I did get offered various different PhD's, and jobs from some very high up people, and companies in the field.
But I decided to take some time off and do what I always wanted to do, run my own startup and be a fulltime indie dev.
Currently I have a number of projects that are starting to reach the crowdfunding stage. I would love to tell and show you guys but you will have to wait. A whole bunch of work has gone into this: business plans, development, research etc. Including the creation of patents. I can tell you its in the AR space but that's about it. If your interested in this whole journey and process, I do have a website with a newsfeed or email list. Whatever that thingy is called.
And honestly, that's why I created this course. I have been told that I have been wearing too many different hats, and that I have way too much going on. And I would be quite happy just focusing and working away on my startups. But I know from tutoring and talking to other people that they would like to do what I do. There are a whole number of reasons why they don't:
- Scared to fail
- Don't have the skills or not smart enough to learn them
- Looks really complicated
I could go on and on but that is a topic for a whole other conversation. What my point is, is that I want to leave a trail and a path for people to follow. I don't mind being the genuine pig or the first one. I will take all the spears and arrows fired and report back what is the safest way to navigate it all. Obviously each project will be different. But some fundamentals are common among them. And it starts with the mind.
You have to believe you can do it. That's what the aim of my course is. To put confidence in you that you can do it. That you have the ability to make your ideas come to life. From there, its just another step and another step and before you know it. You are helping others who started off like you so long ago.
So to sum up everything. I will be continuing on my journey of becoming an Entrepreneur, Indie Developer, and Polymath, with the aim of leaving a trail to help others who wish to pursue this life choice. I do this as I want to help people and have a passion for passing on what I have learnt. There's no point in me hoarding all this knowledge to myself. Doesn't do anyone any good.
How can we find out more about you, or follow what you do?
You can find out my various jobs and roles I have done on my linkenin page:
I also have my own blog/website, which is just my name. So it should hopefully be easy to find:
I also have a YouTube Channel that I post tutorials and any cool demos I make to. So it can be worth checking out. Depending on feedback and what people like, that will probably be the next thing I will teach.