3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Lisa Laxton
By Alice Bonasio
Virtual reality consultant Lisa Laxton has worked with both NASA and the U.S. Navy. She first became interested in immersive technologies while working at the Johnson Space Center. There, she supported Space Shuttle Operations, as well as the design and build of the International Space Station.
Laxton eventually started supporting the Visual Simulation Systems in the Integrated Training Facility, which housed a full-size mock-up of a Space Shuttle and cockpit combining visual and physical simulation aspects."Virtual world technology as we know it today, began with these simulation concepts," she told WIVR.
Being a fan of open source and an early adopter of virtual world technology, she joined the Open Simulator community evaluating and testing multiple versions from an engineering perspective, which she believed showed great promise. "I’ve done everything from organic and inorganic modeling to behavioral scripting to scientific visualization. I have experience with just about every virtual world or virtual reality technology to date and am looking forward to what we can evolve together in future technologies!"
Laxton says that "Math is her thing" and that she's greatly interested in realism when it comes to virtual world simulations, particularly physics. "It is far more challenging from an engineering perspective to simulate reality than it is to simulate fantasy," she muses.
Her advice for women choosing a career in the immersive field? Embrace the reality that equality has not yet been achieved, she says, and expect some of the same challenges women in traditionally male occupations tend to face. However, at the same time, she also encourages women to embrace that "outlier" status and think outside the box. "Almost everything I have done involved doing things in a way either none had accomplished, some had failed, or many had not envisioned. Approach every project as a problem-solving exercise with a solution waiting for you to discover it," she concludes.
Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech and their work. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio.