21 July 6:30pm8:30pm

IxDA New York City: Virtual Pioneers

New York

IxDA New York Presents - Virtual Pioneers: An Exploration in Designing for the VR Frontier

Thousands across the world have touted virtual reality as “the next big thing”, and there’s no denying that much like wearables and the internet of things, the age of VR is upon us. But how does this affect us as designers? What skills should we be honing, what experts should we be looking to, and what, if anything, is considered the gold standard? When it comes to designing for VR, who in 2016 can really claim to be an expert? The truth is, we’re all pioneers, and virtual reality is the wild, wild west.

Join our panel of VR trailblazers as we dive into successes, failures, challenges, and lessons that we’ve experienced while experimenting with design in virtual reality. We’ll discuss everything from interface and environments to narrative and use cases for VR, and of course, how and where we got started when moving from 2D to 3D. It’s, quite literally, a whole new world.

6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Networking and Refreshments
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Presentation
8:00 – 8:30 p.m. Wrap-up and Post-Event Networking

Refreshments will be served.


Annie Laurie Malarkey (Moderator) is the Senior Programs Producer at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, where she creates the strategy for innovative programs related to tech, media, and the future of work. Annie Laurie started her career on the Photos Team at Google, representing the voice of the user to the engineering and management teams. She previously led partnerships and event initiatives for Wix.com, while pursuing her freelance photography in her spare time. Annie Laurie earned a BA in Sociology and Studio Art from Wheaton College in Massachusetts..

Chris Marotta has been working as a product designer at ustwo for two years on a range products with clients such AMEX, Google, SONOS, and the Mayors Office of NYC. Most recently he was part of the team that designed and built the New York studio’s first game – A sandbox driving experience for Sprout’s new original children’s show, Terrific Trucks. In his free time, Chris is an avid gamer, VR enthusiast, and vocalist for the BK based “filth-encrusted-metallic-hardcore” band, Blackest..

Michael Calvert has been a part of the gaming industry since 2011 and manages gaming at Sketchfab, the leading platform to publish and find 3D and VR content, anywhere online. He has an extensive knowledge of growth hacking, 3D/2D game development, art, and process. Michael is an expert in mobile development and industry trends, and is also a teacher, speaker, and trainer with a respected reputation in the gaming space. Past experience includes leading high profile marketing and community projects for companies such as The White House, Disqus, CNN, Telegraph UK, BBC America, McClatchy Interactive, Wired, Current, Nvidia, IGN, Destructoid, and many more..

Toph Brown is a producer at ustwo, where he is constantly distracted by wonderful technology and people. Based in the New York studio, he helps teams to form, grow, and equip themselves to make useful and beautiful things. For three years, Toph has also looked after the collaboration between Googlers and ustwobies on teams like Wear, Cardboard, Tango, Material Design, and Fiber. He likes bugs, hugs, and hot sauce..

Alexander Porter is a director of photography & creative director at Scatter. His career as an artist, photographer and documentarian enable him to combine photographic traditions and narratives with new imaging techniques; exploring the documentary & aesthetic potential of reality capture techniques..


With over 50,000 members and more than 150 local groups around the world, the IxDA network actively focuses on interaction design issues for the practitioner no matter his or her level of experience. IxDA is a novel kind of “un-organization” and relies on its passionate members to help serve the needs of the international Interaction Design community..

The IxDA New York City local group is a vibrant community of people interested in interaction design who meet monthly at face-to-face events. Programming is created by a volunteer group of local leaders and realized through the generosity of speakers, sponsors, and host partners. To learn more about IxDA, please visit http://www.ixda.org..