Afternoon Conference Speakers

  • David Liu

    David Liu

    David Liu

    Creative Director VR, Viacom

    New York

    As the Creative Director of Virtual Reality at Viacom NEXT (New York), David champions combinatorial creativity, working across storytelling and experiential mediums. He has created AAA and indie games, directed television and film productions, and designed large-scale alternate reality games. His resume includes work at Electronic Arts on The Sims 4, the BBC World Service, Singapore Arts Festival, Ford Motors, and SAP.

    Viacom NEXT creates and produces unique VR experiences for brands such as Paramount Pictures and MTV. Their projects have premiered across festivals and game platforms. Notable highlights include Tyler Hurd’s Chocolate (South by Southwest, Sundance); Smash Party VR (launched Dec 2016 on Steam); and MTV’s Open Your Eyes Tilt Brush VR Art Show (USA Presidential Debates, South by South Lawn). Viacom NEXT is a member company of the MIT Media Lab, NYC Media Lab, and NYU Game Center.

    David has worked in Singapore, Australia, and the United States. He holds a Master’s degree from the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

  • Dr. Adrian Kaehler

    Dr. Adrian Kaehler

    Dr. Adrian Kaehler

    Founder Deep Learning Group

    exVP Magic Leap, Silicon Valley

    Dr. Adrian Kaehler is an independant scientist, adviser, and start-up founder. His current research includes topics in robotics, deep learning, machine learning more generally, statistical modeling and computer vision. Adrian received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Columbia university in 1998. Adrian has since held positions at Intel Corporation and the Stanford University AI Lab, is an Applied Invention Fellow, and was a member of the winning Stanley race team in the DARPA Grand Challenge. Originally published in 2006, the book Learning OpenCV (O'Reilly Press) serves as an introduction to the library and its use. The book continues to be heavily used by both professionals and students. A second edition of the book is currently available from O'Reilly Media.

    Dr. Kaehler was Vice President of Special Projects at Magic Leap, Inc, a stealth startup company that raised over $1.4Bn in venture funding in the period from 2014 to 2016. Subsequently, Dr. Kaehler left the company in 2016. He is a co-founder of the Silicon Valley Deep Learning Group, and has a wide variety of published papers and patents in physics, electrical engineering, computer science and robotics.

    Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

    Artificial Intelligence The Solution

    "At this time, two very important mega-trends are emerging around the world. On the one hand, the rise of ever more capable AI makes possible the automation of increasingly many jobs and social roles once only possible for human workers. On the other hand, massive shifts in demographics in the industrialized nations, and soon all nations, show a trend toward lower birth rates and longer life spans, leading to aging populations world wide.

    Dr. Kaehler's talk will examine these two mega-trends, considering both the elimination of jobs arising from the rise of AI and the parallel loss of workers arising from demographic shifts, and explore the possibilities for how AI can be the solution to the profound demographic challenges that are coming."

  • Weiging Ngang

    Weiging Ngang

    Weiging Ngang

    Technical Program Manager

    HTC Vive (Taiwan)

    Weiging Ngang is a Product Manager of HTC Vive. He is responsible for VR Eco-system in Asia Pacific, developer partnership management as well as exploring potential business opportunities. Prior to joining VR team, he has rich experience in big data analysis and software architecture and smart devices.

    CNET says: "Vive is the best virtual-reality experience you can have right now, thanks to its motion controls and room-scale tracking. It's the closest thing to having a holodeck in your home."

    Gizmodo.Com says: "The HTC Vive is the most advanced VR system ever sold. Its headset is ridiculously powerful, so you can look around in all directions without a hitch. Its wireless controllers make it easy to interact with objects in the virtual world. Even cooler than all that, the Vive lets you walk around in the experience—which sets it apart from every other VR headset ever made."

  • Jennifer Wilson

    Jennifer Wilson

    Jennifer Wilson

    The Project Factory (UK/Syd)

    London & Sydney

    Jennifer is a Group Executive Director of The Project Factory, a producer of creative transmedia projects across games, VR, web, mobile and social media. Jennifer is one of the digital worlds true pioneers is the author of several books and papers exploring the digital space. Jennifer has over 25 years experience in interactive consumer engagement with a strong focus on using play and story to engage. She is Council member representing the Animation and New Media Division on the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) and a regular contributor on mobile, games and gamification and linking narrative to consumers across multiple devices.

    The Project Factory creates bespoke digital solutions to address the needs of brands, broadcasters, and governments. Working on global projects with Downton Abbey, Offspring and new film Predestination and the global hit TV series Sherlock, to produce Sherlock: The Network – the Official App.

    Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

    "The Suspect: an immersive game running on an AI system and delivers a serial killer thriller"

    The Suspect is an immersive game running on an AI system and delivers a serial killer thriller that gets under your skin. Also covering UX Design in AR/VR and AI and those imapcts in immersive experiences.

  • David Zwierzchaczewski

    David Zwierzchaczewski

    David Zwierzchaczewski

    Animation Specialist & Application Engineer

    Autodesk

    David Zwierzchaczewski has been working in the Film/ TV and games industry for over 15 years. Trained as a traditional 2D animator David quickly transitioned over to 3D where he moved up through the production ranks to direct several projects. Some of the recent project he has been involved in are Civilisation V, Dark Siders II, Saints Row the Third, L.A. Noire He is now the resident 3D specialist at Autodesk, where he is on the BETA development teams for Maya, 3DS Max, MudBox and Motion Builder.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9XqguB-cFE

    David Zwierzchaczewski's Presentation Topic at Convergence

    “Reality to Virtual Reality”

    It's easier making VR experiences form real world data.

  • Chris Murphy

    Chris Murphy

    Chris Murphy

    Evangelist Unreal Engine

    Epic Games, Melbourne

    Chris Murphy is an Evangelist for Epic Games and director of Pub Games.With over 10 years of experience using Unreal Engine, a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Bachelor of Multimedia, Chris has a broad skillset across a range of game development disciplines. Chris’ game development credits extend across PC, PS4, iOS and Android.

    Most recently Chris worked with Pub Games to release Primal Carnage: Extinction, for PC and PS4, which has the distinctive title of being the first Australian project implementing the Steam Economy for inter-player sales and trading.

    Chris’ role as Evangelist for Epic Games is to help independent game developers build successful games with Unreal Engine 4 through support, training and education.

    Chris will be running a 2hr workshop titled "Creating Epic VR Games" in the afternoon at Convergence as part of the Immersive Symposium.

  • Simon Che de Boer

    Simon Che de Boer

    Simon Che de Boer

    Creative Director & Founder

    realityvirtual.co

    realityvirtual.co is an Auckland based creative technologies R&D collective with an enthusiast towards the visual realm. - In a nutshell, we are streamlining VFX & capture technologies - allowing us to deliver presence in many forms, a ‘being there’ sensation. Truly an absolute godsend for foreign clients, innovative viral VR / video marketing strategies & end-user experiences alike.

    realityvirtual.co primary focus is towards the development of immersive media' technologies. All interrelated, these covers a host of fields: Semi autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV & Drone) cinematography, industry typology surveying utilizing ground station way point navigation, HDR video, stunning in-motion timelapse techniques, FPV (first person view), head tracking stereoscopic 360° cinematic capture, in-motion 4D photogrammetry techniques and virtual reality (VR) cinematography/simulations. Our ethos is driven towards the cutting-edge as we are continuously employing new drone and production techniques alike.

  • Darren Woolley

    Darren Woolley

    Darren Woolley

    Global CEO

    TrintyP3 Marketing

    Darren was a scientist, who got into advertising as a copywriter and ended up a creative director.

    After 15 years in advertising he realised when marketers and their agencies work well together amazing things can happen. Unfortunately that is often not the way it pans out. So in 2000 he established TrinityP3 as an independent marketing management consulting company.

    He helps marketers and advertisers work out what agencies they need, then search and select the right agencies to meet those needs. He helps them better engage and align their agencies to their marketing objectives. And we assess and measure the performance of their agencies. 

    Darren has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore so we can help our clients find the right agencies, negotiate the ideal contracts, benchmark the current costs or assess their current processes across Asia Pacific including China, SE Asia and Australia.

    Darren is very engaged in emerging technology, especially through MarTech (marketing automation technology) and AdTech (advertising automation technology). We are very excited to host one of the biggest names in advertising at our next Convergence.

  • Damian Candusso

    Damian Candusso

    Damian Candusso

    Associate Professor, School of Communication & Creative Industries

    Charles Sturt University

    Damian provides a unique nexus between industry practice and research in sound and immersive media. He has extensive expertise working at the pinnacle of the film, television, music and non-traditional screen industries. Notable screen credits include: The LEGO Movie, The Great Gatsby, Australia, and 79th Academy Award winning Happy Feet. Damian has been nominated and awarded at both national and international levels including: the Centenary Medal, awarded on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen for his Contribution to Australian Society, the City of Los Angeles Certificate of Recognition and many peer reviewed awards. Damian has also served on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), a first for an Australian.

    As a Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University, Damian provides innovative research solutions for industry. Damian's research includes sound design and interactive sound spatialisation for 3-D film, 360 film and Virtual Reality. More details can be found on his CSU staff page and on Imdb.

    Damian Candusso's Presentation Topic at Convergence

    "Heightening Realities: Spatial Sound for Immersive Media"

    There is much attention directed towards the visual aspect of 360º film and Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Realities. However, there has been limited consideration given to the application of sound in these new mediums. This presentation considers a practice-led approach to the creation of a soundtrack specifically for these emerging mediums by giving equal importance to the design of a sonically rich and a spatially immersive soundtrack. In combination with the immersive visual experience, only then can a visceral immersive experience be achieved.

    The presentation explores employing and adapting contemporary linear film sound design and game sound design practices to create a soundtrack for the new realities from capture, editing and to publication.

  • Mathew Tizard

    Mathew Tizard

    Mathew Tizard

    Creative Technologist

    Google Global Creative Team (ZOO) APAC

    After an academic background in AI, and a decade of making things for the web at Yahoo and elsewhere, Mat slipped and fell into advertising by accident, working at at Australian and New Zealand agencies such as TBWA, Colenso BBDO and Shine.

    At Shine Mat was responsible for reinventing the phonograph for The Beck's Edison Bottle project and creating interactive street posters, utilising conductive ink. Previously, at Colenso, he was instrumental in several award-winning projects including Westpac's Impulse Saver, Mountain Dew's "Beyond The Wall" and The V Motion Project.

    He has been working in Google's Zoo team in Sydney as Creative Technologist since 2014.

  • Michael Ritchie

    Michael Ritchie

    Michael Ritchie

    MD / Executive Producer & Principal

    Revolver / RevLover

    Michael Ritchie is the Managing Director/ Executive Producer and Principal of Revolver, an Australian based production company known for its commitment to produce both original and innovative, high end work.

    Michael's career began in the mid 80s, where he worked his way to a sought out position as Head Of Television at Ogilvy in Sydney, at the age of 25. After 10 years on the agency side and a successful stint working as a Regional Head Of Television at DDB in Hong Kong, Michael moved in to production joining Sydney based Pod Film, where he was made partner in 1997. In his time with the company, Michael saw Pod grow to become one of the most innovative production companies in the region at that time.

    1999 saw his most successful collaboration, with director Steve Rogers, when he joined Revolver. Since then Michael has received pretty much every international award there is, in the way of recognition at Cannes, D&AD, Clio, One Show and AWARD. He has twice been approached by Baz Luhrman, to produce the only advertising campaigns Baz has ever done - one of which was the Chanel No.5 film, starring Nicole Kidman. He is also the Deputy Chairman of AWARD, the most recognised industry body in this country, and one of the founding members of the Commercial Producers Council.

    In 2010 Michael also co-founded and became Managing Director of Will O'Rourke, a sister production company to Revolver - which concentrates on content and brand funded alternatives – and was awarded the coveted Grand Prix at Cannes and a further two Grand Prix at Spikes for its work on the NAB 'Break Up' campaign. Michael has forged international alliances with some of the most influential production companies in the world, from Biscuit Filmworks in Los Angeles, to Sonny in London. He has produced work for the entire range of clients, as well as producing music video's for the likes of Radiohead, The Presets and Beck.

  • Chris Rollings

    Chris Rollings

    Chris Rollings

    Executive Producer

    Google APAC

    Chris started out in England where he worked for some of London's finest Ad agencies. In 2010 he made the move to Sydney, where he joined TBWA and continued to deliver award winning work.

    Prior to Joining Google Chris was one of the founding members of R/GA Sydney.

    Today Chris leads production across Google Zoo APAC and helps brands realise the creative potential of Google.

  • Rebecca Bezzina

    Rebecca Bezzina

    Rebecca Bezzina

    Managing Director

    R/GA

    Rebecca is R/GA Sydney’s VP Managing Director and a near founding member of the agency, having joined as Client Services Director in 2013 and being instrumental in its rapid growth since.

    After a stint as managing director of Cummins & Partners, she returned to R/GA Sydney to take the helm in 2016 where she’s now spearheading new business and relationships, and driving digital transformation for clients.

    Prior to R/GA, Rebecca led a number of blue-chip accounts at M&C Saatchi/Mark for over five years. As a trusted strategic partner, she delivered award-winning, transformational work for Google, News Ltd, Nestle and Qantas Frequent Flyer, before bringing Australia’s largest account The Commonwealth Bank to the agency and ushering in their highly successful re-positioning.

    Rebecca has had a rapid rise in the industry which also included being awarded Young Direct Marketer of the Year (ADMA) and a Top 30 Under 30 Nomination.

  • Benjamin Richards

    Benjamin Richards

    Benjamin Richards

    Director of Creative Development & Innovation

    Cutting Edge

    Benjamin Richards has always been extremely passionate about art, science, technology and the moving image. In the early 90s he saw the culmination of his interests in the form of primitive 3D software which resulted in an award winning animated short and since then, he has been involved in nearly all aspects of film and tv production, winning multiple awards for his VFX work and documentaries.

    He worked with Autodesk for 7 years as a technical specialist, living and traveling extensively across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and North America, working with the likes of Weta, Pixar and Lucasfilm on high profile feature films such as Avatar, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars & The Incredibles and games studios such as EA, Ubisoft and Sony on several AAA game titles, as well as with all manner of technology partners.

    Benjamin is keenly interested in the future of entertainment and the possibilities new technologies such as AR and VR enable. As Director of Creative Development & Innovation for Cutting Edge, he is at the forefront of an exciting new era of storytelling.

  • Dr Tomasz Bednarz

    Dr Tomasz Bednarz

    Dr Tomasz Bednarz

    Team Leader

    CSIRO Data61

    Dr Tomasz Bednarz is a Team Leader at CSIRO's Data61 (Big Data Visualisation and Analytics team). He is also an Associate Professor at the QUT (ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, http://acems.org.au) and holds Adjunct positions at the University of Sydney (Design Lab) and University of South Australia (School of IT and Math Sciences). He has done his doctorate and masters in computational science area. Over last couple of years at CSIRO he has been involved in wide range of projects in area of immersive visualisation, human-computer interaction, computational imaging and visualisation. He led cloud-based imaging project that received merit Queensland's iAward in 2015 (http://cloudimaging.net.au).

    Dr Tomasz has been leading project Platform for Big Data Analytics and Visual Analytics, connecting data analytics, statistical modelling, image analytics, machine learning, visualisation into one stack of reusable solutions. His broad range of expertise is evidenced by the quality and number of publications, http://www.researcherid.com/rid/A-7376-2011.

    Dr Tomasz chairs IEEE Computer Society Queensland Chapter, chairs Brisbane ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter and leads the Brisbane Khronos Group chapter. He actively promotes use of computational and visualisation techniques for science and research, and art + science methodology.​

    Dr Tomasz will be demonstrating some of his applications for VR in science.

  • Anet Redmer

    Anet Redmer

    Anet Redmer

    UX & Lean Startup Methodologist

    Redmera

    Skilled as digital media engineer, product designer and architect, Anet works across the disciplines of UX design, design thinking and the lean startup method. Originally from Berlin, Anet has worked in Holland, Brussels, New York and Silicon Valley where she worked for innovation platforms such as Living Tomorrow and TomorrowLab, featured by BBC and Discovery Channel.

    As one of Australia's most sought after UX specialists, Anet works for clients such as Telstra and Global Enterprise Services, innovating bio-plastics furniture and collaborating with an Internet of Things start-up. Anet is interested in emerging technologies and finding new ways how they can be leveraged to enhance people's lives with a great user experience.

  • David Francis

    David Francis

    David Francis

    Head of Sales APAC

    Zappar & Virtual Method

    Augmented Reality and Virtual Interfaces are David's area of specialisation, finding their best utility, application and monetisation in the real world, without breaking User Experience. David deploys large AR and VR campaigns in Live environments, working with premium global brands. His skills cover AR, VR, Geo-Fencing, BLE proximity, Acoustic Fingerprinting, Haptics, 3D/4D Printing and sensor-based biometrics, frontier technologies.

    Zappar is a clever little app that can see and recognise images and objects in the world around us. Once it sees things it knows, it uses Augmented Reality to make them come to life. AR is just a fancypants way of saying that the app adds things to the camera view that aren’t actually there.

    With Zappar you can turn almost anything into a TV channel, a video game or even one of those social networking sites. Zappar adds a new visual dimension to the world for you to explore.

  • Michael Nasuta

    Michael Nasuta

    Michael Nasuta

    Product Manager,

    Robotics Stryker

    Michael Nasuta is the Robotics Product Manager for Stryker South Pacific and has led the introduction of robotic-arm assisted joint replacement surgery in Australia and New Zealand since 2015.  Prior to this role, he worked as an engineer for Stryker in the US leading teams to develop medical devices for 7 years.  He has a BS in Biomedical Engineering and MS in Industrial Engineering.

    Stryker is one of the world's leading medical technology companies and together with our customers, we are driven to make healthcare better. The Company offers a diverse array of innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine, which help improve patient and hospital outcomes.  Stryker is active in over 100 countries around the world.

    Michael Nasuta's Presentation Topic at Convergence

    “Dr. Roboto: How robotics is transforming orthopaedics”

    Healthcare is a complex and ever changing industry including innovations of technology to assist surgeons improve their patient outcomes. A variety of robotic technologies have been introduced in different surgical fields with the greatest benefit realised in orthopaedic surgery. The Mako robotic arm assisted surgical system provides surgeons with enhanced planning features and robotic-arm assisted execution for total hip, partial and total knee replacement surgery. These advancements have led to the potential for more accurate implant positioning, faster recovery and less pain, fewer complications, and reduced healthcare costs. Michael will discuss how this technology works and why it will transform orthopaedics.

  • Roger Lawrence

    Roger Lawrence

    Roger Lawrence

    Founder and Director

    Vice Versa Reality

    A successful technology executive, with broad experience in all aspects of advising enterprise executives, managing high-calibre technologists and facilitating business results across both infrastructure and development domains.

    Chief Technologist and strategic advisor for business and government covering topics that include; innovation, the Internet of Things, wearable computing, applications modernisation, unified communications, Big Data, social media, security, mobile computing and cloud tech.

    A startup entrepreneur who empowers other professionals through innovation in the latest technologies, including IoT, wearable computing and 3D printing.

  • Morgan Lean

    Morgan Lean

    Morgan Lean

    Director

    Epiphany Games

    Director of Epiphany Games, creator of many games both computer and other media. World Builder, Programmer & Entrepreneur.

    Epiphany Games develops games and game related technologies. We developed the Emergent Games technologies Terrain engine for Lightspeed, we are developing our own Games and looking for other opportunities in the gaming space.Epiphany Games is Australian company with a Studio in Sydney.

    Epiphany Games titles include: Blood of Sol, Majestic Nights, Frozen Hearth, Runic Rumble, Aki and Plizkin: Codex of Ancients and Ámorrá: Teigh Suil.

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