Tawny Schlieski Profile

Tawny Schlieski of Intel Labs wants to change the way that we tell stories. For example, by using a giant 3-D whale.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Showcase, The Leviathan Project— an augmented and virtual reality film made in conjunction with Intel Labs and USC's World Building Media Labdebuted to an audience that found themselves taking control of flying jellyfish (by way of tablet computer) as they were surrounded by a gigantic, whale-like creature "swimming" through the auditorium.

The Leviathan Project: An immersive virtual/augmented reality film

Schlieski's team at Intel Labs has been heavily involved in the creation and promotion of The Leviathan Project, which aired at this years' Sundance Film Festival in January. As a research scientist, author and board member of the Oregon Story Board, Schlieski's an expert on the stories that people tell and the methods that they use to tell them, and she believes that virtual reality is the next frontier in how people tell stories.

"I think that VR could be as important as the internet," Schlieski said at Sundance. "It has tremendous potential and we are in the Wild West of its beginning."

Schlieski's team at Intel is making enormous strides, but the road to a fully immersive VR film experience still has some obstacles. On the audience's side, many have yet to understand how they are supposed to participate in the experience. Not only that, there isn't yet a set of standards for gear, editing software and VR media players, forcing filmmakers to hack existing equipment and techniques to achieve the results they want for their projects.

Schlieski will be confronting the challenges of VR storytelling in her talk for the TechFestNW main stage: We are the [virtual] 99%- Bringing the promise of Virtual Reality to all the peoples.

Join Tawny Schlieski and our other excellent speakers at TechFestNW 2016: April 25-26 at The Armory in Portland, Oregon's Pearl District. For more information or tickets to TFNW, visit techfestnw.com.