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Ten Minutes with: Paul Hoover

We are wrapping up our A10 series with a profile of Paul Hoover, the designer behind Storyboard VR, our prototyping and protovisualization tool. 

What are the 5 words that people would use to describe you?

Pulled from my peer feedback: Full of ideas. Giving. Playful. Thoughtful. Fun. 

What makes you excited about AR and VR? 

Both AR and VR can help make computing more physical and present, making things that have only existed in our imagination more real than ever before. Every time I experience something new that can only be seen in VR and AR, I get excited. For example, I am intrigued by remote collaboration through VR and AR as we can create a more true sense of presence in telepresence. 

What is in your notebook? 

These days I’m interested in visualizing scientific data in VR. Microbiology, 3D weather, geology. I’m sketching these in Sketchbook Pro on my Surface Pro. Then straight into Storyboard VR. 

What is the AR or VR product, service, solution that you would die to design? Why? Another way to think about it, what is the killer app for VR?

I’d love to design the best 3D globe ever. It would have real time and historical 3D data of weather, earthquakes, and continental drift, formation of the moon, 3D cities, CO2 levels, temperature, ocean levels, population, etc. Think of it as a version of Hiro Protagonist’s globe from the Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, but one that could rewind into the past and fast forward into the future. 

What advice would you give to your 10 year old self?

Keep drawing. Have your brother teach you to code right now rather than waiting till junior high. 

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I will still be happily married, with my kids starting to graduate from college. And I am hoping my kids will be ready the fill jobs that won’t be automated any time soon. I will be still designing products that bring about positive outcomes for humanity, solving the next wave of human computer interaction problems. 

What makes Storyboard VR a special Artefact project? Why?

I’m always on the lookout for new creative tools that can increase my idea throughput. And at Artefact when we don’t find them, we make them — just look at 10,000ft. As I got into VR design and development, I learned Unity Editor and the Unreal VR Editor. While both of these are quick to set up a scene, it was difficult for me as a designer to set up the different states in the flows and stories that I was trying to visualize. Inspired by the storyboard tool I heard was created in-house at Pixar, I had the idea for Storyboard VR.

As an Artefact fellow, I get to spend ten percent of my time on career mastery. So I dedicated that time to creating a tool that helps designers transition their skills to the world of VR. Together with another Artefact fellow, Sam Baker, and quite a few other team members, we specked out a tool that we, as designers, knew we could start using right away. Now we have designers using Storyboard VR every day on Artefact projects to increase our idea throughput and foster closer collaboration among themselves and with clients.  

What are you afraid of?

Run-away greenhouse effect. War. Drug resistant bacteria. 

Where do you go/what do you do for inspiration?

Nature. The Human Computer Interaction community. TED. Elon Musk. My co-workers at Artefact. My brother.