Dr. Ivan Gris earned his doctoral degree in computer science from The University of Texas at El Paso in 2015 and has published over 20 peer reviewed research papers focused on gaming, virtual reality, and human-computer interaction. In 2017 he began working as a contractor and consultant in what would eventually become Boost Human (formerly Beacon Hill VR), where he would later join as a co-founder and its Chief Technology Officer.
Dr. Gris leads the engineering team at Boost Human, where they develop artificial intelligence enterprise solutions for simulation, training, manufacturing, logistics, telecommunications, and quality assurance. He has taken an active role as a software developer or project manager on every application and product line Boost Human has produced to date.
He also gives lectures, technical presentations, demonstrations, and workshops at most events where Boost Human is involved.
“When I was in middle school I went to the movie theater to watch a movie: The Time Machine. Although I later forgot most of it, there was one particular scene and character that got stuck on my mind. Vox, a holographic person (librarian) displayed on a glass panel, appears to be sentient, interacts with people as a real person, and claims to have access to all human knowledge.
Years later I would come to realize that this is one of the very few examples where extremely powerful technology is not portrayed as a problem, but rather a solution (the system goes to teach humanity’s few post-apocalyptic survivors about history, science, and the world). I grew up believing this was possible. Unfortunately at that time we only had dial-up internet connections, and we were still more than a decade away from the Internet of Things (IoT), mainstream artificial intelligence or augmented reality, and Industry 4.0.
When I started my Ph.D. in 2012 things had changed and accessibility to information and technology had improved. My research was in a very niche area in human-computer interaction called embodied conversational agents. For over three years I tried to take just one small step and make one positive change in this direction by working on building and measuring trust and rapport between humans and machines.
Fast forward to today and we are now working in projects I couldn’t even imagine a few years back, bordering in what was once considered science fiction, with one of the best teams of researchers, developers, and industry experts in the world. Although we are still far from Vox, I do believe we will get to see it, or better yet, to build it during my lifetime.”
In 2013 Dr. Gris co-founded Inmerssion, a company focused on research and development of virtual agents (computer-generated characters with artificial intelligence) and virtual, augmented, and mixed reality applications can help educate and entertain through engaging storytelling.
Ivan used to ride his bicycle across the US / Mexico border every day for 9 years. He accumulated over 35,000 miles during his commute, enough to bike almost one and a half world laps around the equator.
At a young age, he used to sell candy at school and on the streets. His first job in high school paid approximately $50 USD a week for 48 hours of work, reinforcing his decision to pursue an engineering degree in the US.
Ivan defended his Ph.D. dissertation a month before turning 26. He did not want to pursue this degree, but agreed under two conditions: first, he would have to graduate in three years and a half, and second, if he didn’t love his work and research, he would quit. Thanks to an awesome research team, half of which later joined Boost Human, and an incredible mentor, Dr. David Novick, he really enjoyed the journey.