Jaron Lanier's Headshot

Jaron Lanier

- Panelist Blurb

Jaron Zepel Lanier is an American computer scientist, best known for popularizing the term virtual reality (VR). A pioneer in the field of VR, Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman left Atari in 1985 to found VPL Research, Inc., the first company to sell VR goggles and gloves. In the late 1990s, Lanier worked on applications for Internet2, and in the 2000s, he was a visiting scholar at Silicon Graphics and various universities. More recently, he has acted as an advisor to Linden Lab on their virtual world product Second Life, and as a partner architect for Microsoft's controller-free Kinect device for Xbox 360.

Lanier is also known as a composer of classical music and a collector of rare instruments; his acoustic album, Instruments of Change (1994) features Asian wind and string instruments such as the khene mouth organ, the suling flute, and the sitar-like esraj. Lanier and Mario Grigorov collaborated to compose the soundtrack to the documentary film, The Third Wave (2007). As an author, Lanier has written a column for Discover magazine; his book, You Are Not a Gadget (2010), is a critique of Web 2.0. In 2010, Lanier was nominated in the TIME 100 list of most influential people.

NOTE: Bio updated on June 14, 2011.