Carolina Cruz-Neira is a pioneer in the areas of virtual reality and interactive visualization, having created and deployed a variety of technologies that have become standard tools in industry, government and academia.
She is known world-wide for being the creator of the CAVE virtual reality system, which was her PhD work, and for VR Juggler, an open source VR application development environment. Her work with advanced technologies is driven by simplicity, applicability, and providing value to a wide range of disciplines and businesses. This drive makes her work highly multi-disciplinary and collaborative, having receiving multi-million dollar awards from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Lab, the Department of Energy, Deere and Company, and others. She has dedicated a part of her career to transfer research results in virtual reality into daily use in industry and research organizations and to lead entrepreneurial initiatives to commercialize results of her VR research. She is also recognized for having founded and led very successful virtual reality research centers, like the Virtual Reality Applications Center at Iowa State University, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise and now the Emerging Analytics Center. She serves in many international technology boards, government technology advisory committees, and outside the lab, she enjoys extrapolating her technology research with the arts and the humanities through forward-looking public performances and installations. She has been named by BusinessWeek magazine as a “rising research star” in the next generation of computer science pioneers, has been inducted as an ACM Computer Pioneer, received the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Digital Media & Arts Society among other national and international recognitions.
Currently, Dr. Cruz is the Donaghey Professor and the Director of the Emerging Analytics Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an Arkansas Research Scholar through the Arkansas Research Alliance.