3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Hannah Gillis
By Alice Bonasio
Hannah Gillis is an entertainment producer who’s worked on Industrial Light and Magic’s Experience Lab and Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group. She first got involved in VR originated out of a passion for storytelling and Star Wars. She favors projects centered around simulated environments that appeal to users' senses via visual, audio and haptics.
She produced Star Wars Trials on Tatooine, ILMxLAB’s first real-time rendered virtual reality experience the entire project is a real glimpse into the future of engine-driven storytelling.
"As an R&D Project Manager, my background is a little bit different. It focuses on multidisciplinary education. I have my Bachelors in Fine Arts — focusing on digital media, computer science, and production — as well as my MBA in emerging technology. So, having that type of value in art and tech has really helped me contribute to “making magic” as I like to call it," she said in an interview for the Disability Visibility Project.
Accessibility – like gender inclusion – is something @hannahlougillis is really passionate about, and she has been able to incorporate this into her creative work. "I am starting to research accessibility design in virtual reality for people with different medical conditions and how we can make our stories enjoyable for a wide array of audiences," she explains, adding that because "Trials on Tatooine" was an experimental project, it presented an opportunity to test it with a variety of people with varying disabilities.
"While it did hold up well, it could’ve been better, and we learned how we can do better in our future VR experiences, not only for that diverse audience, but really to use diversity to make the entire experience better as a whole. I think the message was really encouraging, especially for the VR industry, that there are disabled people all over the world who are intensely interested and want to engage in VR, but for a lot of different reasons or some design elements, it’s inaccessible. So that there is this whole market out there of people that really are interested. They’re like everybody else. They really want to get into the Star Wars universe."
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.