visibility_off Engineer Spotlight : Morton Heilig
As a part of an ongoing series, we are highlighting engineers from around the world who are changing the way we think about innovation. In this month’s Engineer Spotlight blog, we are detailing the accomplishments Morton Heilig.
Morton Leonard Heilig was a cinematographer who lived from 1926-1997. Often referred to as the Father of Virtual Reality, Heilig is credited for fabricating and introducing a machine to the world that was capable of projecting real-life scenarios to it’s user in a 3D simulation complete with sound, vibrations, and even smells. The device, branded the Sensorama Motion Picture Projector, was originally built in 1960 as a head-mounted display that utilized sight and sound technology to immerse the user in a 3D world. A few years later, a full arcade-style Sensorama was built. This version of the machine gave users the experience of riding a motorbike complete with everything from the feeling of wind whizzing by to the smell of flowers on the side of the road.
The invention was eventually a failure, as Heilig was not able to secure enough interest or sales to further fund production of the machines. As a cinematographer, Heilig originally viewed the machine as “the future of cinematography”. He also shopped the machine to different automotive companies as simulators for their showrooms. However, in the end, he was unable to convince enough people of it’s worth. Although ahead of his time, Morton Heilig was the first person to show that augmented reality is possible through technology.