Since late 2004, I have been having a ball working in the area of haptics and video games. In June of 2007, Novint blasted away the price barrier that prevented normal people from experience true 3D touch in their computer experience, and I'm proud to have had a role, however small, in that event.
Besides videogames, we do some serious applications. One of my own projects was The Virtual Injection Clinic. It was a limited (2D only) simulation of giving a corticosteroid injection into a knee. But the cool thing is, you FEEL the skin as you puncture it, you FEEL the retinaculum as you puncture it, and you FEEL the bone as you get carried away and go too far. And then, when you've put that needle in just the right place, you can press the plunger. I showed this to a couple hundred orthopedic surgeons at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in early 2007, and it was interesting to note that they weren't satisfied until they'd pressed that plunger. Some of them were so impressed with the experience that they came back and brought colleagues to see what might be possible with modern training techniques.
Okay, for the geeks among you, it's a pure C/C++ world. I've been given the keys to the innards of the Falcon, letting me scratch my embedded software itch, which is what got me suckered into the magic kingdom of software in the first place. That means I'm writing software for Windows real time (1 msec update interval), a TMS320 Digital Signal Processor, and a couple of PIC processors. How much more fun can it get?
Before moving out west, I spent a few years in the public safety software business. Have you ever walked past a police squad car and noticed a laptop computer mounted near the driver? That was my area of the business. Have you ever called 911, or wondered what a police dispatcher does all day? That was also my area of concern. I managed the team responsible for the software the dispatched the unit to their designated positions, and for the software that enabled them to be most effective while "on the beat."
Technically, I never really worked for KnowledgeBin, but for a predecessor one or two evolutionary phases removed. However, Dr. Stephens provided an opportunity for me to hone the "reskilling" I had done in the last few months preceding my early retirement from EDS. For that I am eternally grateful and it would be unthinkable to omit reference to KnowledgeBin, even though my sojourn there was very brief.
I spent fourteen years at EDS, managing a variety of systems engineering projects, most of which would not be very interesting to most of you. Suffice it to say that it was an intense education in some of the right ways and some of the wrong ways to manage teams of a variety of skills.
My first full-time software engineering job. We divided our time between training and doing. What we trained was the actual first 16-bit microprocessor, the Texas Instruments 9900. Lest ye think I don't know my microprocessor history, check out IBM's history.
What we did was implement a huge variety of products all sharing one trait--they required microprocessor control to operate. My first project was a gamma ray detector data collector with a design requirement of collecting 30,000 samples per second. In 1979, this was a daunting challenge. Here I also had my first taste of engineering management. Life was good.
The nine years I passed at Micronyx convinced me that the notion implanted at Texas Instruments was a true compass for my professional future. When I interviewed at Novint, I told them I was trying to repeat the essence of what I had at Micronyx, a job full of technical challenge and reward, working with people I loved being with every day, doing something that would have social value.
Note that I did not supply a link, because this is NOT the same company that can be found today at http://www.micronyx.com. My Micronyx was in Texas, and went out of business in 1992.
This is where it all started. I graduated from Lamar State College of Technology in 1968 and went to work at TI as a green electronics circuit designer. Along the way I built an alarm indicator panel using an Intel 4040 microprocessor and a whopping 256 bytes of ROM memory. I sat back and said, that's cool! Then a few years later I was challenged to prove my cable harness was correct, and to do so I had to spend a day learning enough about the HARM missile's avionics computer to program a little test pattern into it. On the way home that night I decided that my soldering iron had to go and be replaced with a coding pad. The rest, to coin a phrase, is history.