December 21, 2018

Bobby Berry’s title isn’t really clear yet. Perhaps a title doesn’t exist. He’s a technology facilitator, a researcher, a creative consultant, a programmer and an artist. For the sake of this article, let’s call him the Creative Technology Researcher on the HP Blended Reality project. He’s also an alumni of the project, which he contributed to last year as a student.

Bobby graduated from Yale last June with a major in computing and the arts. At the time it was a new program which he discovered while exploring ways to integrate computer programming and art-making. Ultimately, he found himself drawn to Blended Reality as a way to synthesize animation and computer programming. In addition to his senior thesis, last year Bobby collaborated with students and faculty on the four HP Blended Reality projects.

As a student, Bobby found the HP project to be a game changer for him and others interested in Blended Reality. Not only did the grant help facilitate creating a community of students and faculty who wanted to explore Blended Reality, but the equipment they received provided them with the tools they needed to produce and explore. Practically speaking, they were able to bring equipment home and collaborate with groups away from school. It just gave them the tools and the room they needed to experiment.

Bobby with colleagues.
Bobby, left, with colleagues

After graduation, Bobby started working on an exciting project called Energy Academy with Martin Wainstein.  At that time Energy Academy wasn’t under the HP umbrella – it was just an innovative project with some funding. Since that time, it has evolved into part of the official suite of HP projects. “While working on Energy Academy I started leading students workshops on Unity (a cross-platform game engine). And then I just evolved into a technical and creative resource for all HP projects” says Bobby of his organic transition from student to staff.

While Energy Academy was being incubated at CCAM, it became obvious to the project directors, that Bobby was an invaluable resource and had the potential to really help future generations of Blended Reality students.

Energy Academy is a virtual reality project that uses people’s engagement with virtual reality to help them learn more about the solar system, the sun, the transition of energy from the sun to the earth, from the sun to the plants, and learn about the power grid. It’s an educational experience that utilizes multiple scales to teach about the energy system. One of the ultimate goals of Energy Academy is to launch as an open source educational product.

Photo of Martin Wainstein, Bobby Berry and Winter Willoughby - the Energy Academy Team
Martin Wainstein, Bobby Berry and Winter Willoughby- the Energy Academy Team

In addition to Energy Academy, Bobby is responsible for holding verb collective workshops on various topics on product and game design in Unity, holding office hours where he answers questions. And in the new semester, he’s going to start to participating as a team member on most HP projects as a resource.

When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, Bobby responded “I’d like to find a way to start a production company that helps companies create BR solutions to improve their processes. I’m also interested in what can be done with BR as an art form.”

But in the meantime, we’re pretty lucky to have him here.