Despite the efforts of many forward-thinking organizations, women are still severely underrepresented in technological fields. In honor of Women’s History Month, this Metaverse Minute features nine stories of wonder women building Web3 and the Metaverse. Find out how they #BreakTheBias (this year’s theme for International Women’s Day) in moving us toward a gender-equal world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Being a self-taught programmer, Antonia is a firm believer that anyone interested in virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) can learn. “Coding isn’t like maths or physics; it’s more like learning a foreign language.” Having studied zoology, Antonia got the immersive reality bug when she was working in a science center and 3D planetarium in the U.K. She learned Unity to create astronomy content for the 12-meter dome, as well as for VR headsets. “Being an XR developer feels like magic!” Her activist spirit has led her to develop projects like the world’s first LGBTQ+ VR museum, a virtual space to showcase stories and artifacts from the queer community and record marginalized histories that would otherwise be lost. As a thought leader, she has been asked to speak at many events, including a TEDxBristol talk that reached more than 150,000 people.
Follow @AntoniaRForster on Twitter
Alisia is a user experience designer and developer who loves to tell engaging and immersive stories. Over the past five years, she’s been working with the likes of Volkswagen and Meta to see how mixed reality and spatial computing can allow us to see things from new perspectives. On the side, she develops VR interactive narrative games with friends and is currently working on a project titled Lift: The Last Days of the Westwind. If you’re also dreaming of a full-dive VR system, you should connect with Alisia.
Follow @alisiamartinez_ on Twitter
Born without stereoscopic vision, Elizabeth initially had a compromised perspective of the world. Traditional thinking might view this as an impairment, but it inspired Elizabeth. Her stereoblindness helped her “see” the importance of ultra-high-definition visualization. A veteran of the Ford Motor Company, Elizabeth invented the Ford immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) process, which allows teams to leverage high-definition rendering in VR. This collaboration tool enables design and engineering to experience a holistic vehicle in real-time. Her unique view of the world also allowed her to understand how the concept can be applied to other industries for digital storytelling – taking her down a new career path of developing interactive and immersive experiences for Unity.
Connect with Elizabeth Baron on LinkedIn
Lynette was recently named by Future Travel Experience, an independent advocate driving positive industry change, as a top innovator in her field and for good reason. With Lynette’s leadership, the Vancouver International Airport was the first major flight facility to build a comprehensive digital twin. The resulting data integration and system optimization has fast-tracked the airport’s operational improvements – from terminal layouts for COVID-19 to reducing greenhouse emissions. Lynette is a true futurist who challenges her peers.
Connect with Lynette DuJohn on LinkedIn
Let’s be real. What Kai Frazier is doing at Kai XR is extraordinary. Kai XR uses metaverse technologies to prepare students for a highly technical future by exposing them to global educational opportunities. The organization aims to give one million kids access to metaverse technologies by 2030. Through VR, Kai is taking young minds to the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the cobblestone streets of Paris, and beyond. Kai XR’s curated library of diverse, accessible, and safe experiences is encouraging students to dream big. We hope that more educators will follow in Kai’s footsteps and start reimagining their curriculum with interactive technology.
Follow @__Ka1 on Twitter
If you’re looking for leaders powering the industrial metaverse, keep an eye on Sarah. With a rich background in simulation workflows, computer vision, and even autonomous visual navigation, Sarah manages a robotics-simulation product team at Unity. Sarah is passionate about developing better tooling to simulate real-world scenarios.
Connect with Sarah Gibson on LinkedIn
At Varjo, Anna makes sure immersive solutions are designed with the user in mind. “The future is created by our actions today.” She looks at Varjo’s human-eye resolution hardware and software product designs from the customers point of view and makes sure that each stage of development is focused on the user experience. Anna is proud to be building a new reality that’s grounded in the real world but comes with the superpowers of the virtual world. Clients like Volvo, Boeing, Kia Motors, and Siemens are already leveraging Varjo’s solutions.
Connect with Anna Nilsson on LinkedIn
How can emerging technology be integrated into our everyday life without controlling it? That’s the question this futurescaper, author, TED speaker, and creative explores in her practice. Through her consultancy Future Memory Inc., Galit helps the likes of Microsoft and Gartner consider how digital/physical world-melding affects cultures, behaviors, and interactions. “Immersive tech will allow us to experience the world in more meaningful and imaginative ways.” Fellow creative explorers, Vulcans and Trekkies: give Galit Ariel a follow.
Follow @galitariel on Twitter
At Niantic, Tricia helps developers bring their AR apps to life using the Lightship AR Developer Kit. She’s inspired by AR’s ability to enhance the world around us and add magic and beauty to everyday moments. Tricia believes in an ecosystem that inspires movement, exploration, and connection at a global scale.
Follow @triciaabecker on Twitter
Take part in this year’s IWD theme and celebrate your story on social with the hashtag #BreakTheBias. Raising awareness is a critical first step to forming a more inclusive world. Together we can break the bias.