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Eric Howlett is the creator of the LEEP Videowrap immersive display system.
has pursued careers in engineering, as a marketing executive and as an entrepreneur, founding several companies-all in the Boston technology milieu.
In the early 1980's he
invented the LEEP™ system of photography, which has become the basis of VR imaging.
He is a well-known pioneer of the VR industry, has delivered many talks and invited papers on wide angle stereoscopic video imagery.
Over the last 45 years, as founder and senior technologist of several technology-based companies, as project engineer for General Electric Heavy Military Electronics Division, and as Engineering Manager for Adage, Inc., Mr. Howlett has managed a broad range of design and development projects while continuing to make his own contributions.
has an ScB in Physics from M.I.T.
has been called "...a backbone of the [virtual reality] industry.
by Matrix Information Systems because of his
invention of the optical system used in essentially all the original VR head-mounted displays.
A selection of Mr. Howlett's
earlier papers, talks and publications follows:
In 1994 Eric Howlett's
immersion in the optics and physiology of wide angle bore sudden fruit in the astonishing invention we now call Videowrap™.
These wide angle optics (designed by ...
These wide angle optics (designed by Eric Howlett of LEEP), coupled with 2 or 3 LCD screens really did deliver a totally immersive visual experience...except that the resolution of the LCDs were so low that under this extreme magnification each pixel looked like a football; you were swimming is a sea of colored footballs!
The optics were my biggest challenge, but the answer was buried in Eric Howlett's LEEP
patent, not as a claim, but as a demonstration of how to achieve wide FOV with conventional optics.
I "borrowed" the specifications from Eric Howlett's
related patent #4,406,532 (look it up on Google Patents), page 11 in the description of Fig.
Above: Part of the Virtual Orbiter hardware with its inventor, Eric Howlett, then president of LEEP Systems, Inc.
On March 27th 1996, Eric Howlett
gave a talk on Virtual Vistas and the Virtual Orbiter at the Forum for International Trade Show Exhibition Participation and Management at Brandeis University
The forum was sponsored by Brandeis University, Babson College and Massport
, in conjunction with the World Trade Center
The show was managed by World Access Corporation in Wellesley, MA.
topic was "Technology in Trade Show Management" and the effective use of audio/visual equipment in the booth, with major reference to the Virtual Orbiter.
This particular slide is a picture of Eric Howlett, the inventor of the LEEP™ Panoramic Stereo Photography System.
made this first slide before he
filed the patent application and before he
publicly disclosed the invention.
The first public demonstration was in March 1980 at the Photographic Society
of America conference in Las Vegas.
The picture in the demonstration viewer that he
carried around the conference was exactly this image, except of course, in color and of a higher resolution.
took the photo with a Speed Graphic carrying a specially made lens board with two lenses 2.5 inches apart.
Because a 4" x 5" sheet of Kodachrome wasn't quite wide enough, he
mounted the lenses at an angle matching the diagonal of the film and then he
tilted the camera by the same angle.
The lenses were two glass elements for each eye off the shelf at Edmund Scientific.
To take the shot, he
stood at about arm's length in front of the camera.
Observe that his
left arm is reaching out to the side of the camera to press the cable release of the focal plane shutter.
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physicist, virtual reality pioneer Eric Howlett