10 Questions with András Velvárt

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I’ve been crossing paths with András for most of my career in emerging experiences. I first saw him speak about Windows Phone 7 design and his game SongArc at Microsoft’s classic MIX conference in Las Vegas. A few years later we bumped into each other in New York City where we were both assisting Microsoft at a Kinect hackathon. After that it’s been a whirlwind of new technologies and running into each other at conferences and MVP Summits, ending up where we are now with HoloLens and the new Mixed Reality headsets.

Needless to say, András has an insatiable appetite for the latest newest thing along with the stamina to drink directly from the Microsoft hose. He lives in Budapest, Hungary and is currently head of R&D at 360World. With his team at 360World, he’s won the 1st and the 5th HoloLens Challenge. The Red Pill, just one of many cool apps created by 360World, is frequently used around the world to demonstrate the HoloLens spatial mapping capability.

 

What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Contact. A somewhat underrated classic, which shows that “cold” science and spiritual experiences can coexist.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
On a real computer? It was actually a number guessing game that I written myself on a C64 after learning BASIC from a book – with no access to a computer.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
My mother. Even though I’m approaching the point in my life where I will have lived longer without her than with her, I can’t even start listing the myriad ways she still affects my way of thinking.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Yesterday. If was a pretty big change, too, having to let go of something that’s been a big part of my life for a long time.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
I think people who know what programming languages are have a pretty good idea of what I’m good at.

What inspires you to learn?
We’re living in the sci-fi world of my childhood. To be able to create cool sh*t, participate in building this world, and making it a reality, you have to learn.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That there’s another day tomorrow.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
I don’t think I have any views that I can’t defend at least in front of myself. If you’re asking about defending with scientific proof – it is the idea that the way people use computing a decade from now will be radically different than the way we use it today. A perfect storm of AI, cloud, and novel computing interfaces (such as Mixed Reality) is coming.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
I don’t think there’s one killer MR app. I do think however, that in just a few years, MR will be a lightweight, everyday wearable at the price point of a high-end mobile phone. This will make MR the killer of smartphones the way smartphones “killed” desktop computing. Why use a 5” screen when the whole world can be your display?

What book have you recommended the most?
Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Can history be scientifically predicted? How much power does one person have in the face of history? How does emotion affect judgement?

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