Employee Spotlight: George Hito / by Leah Kovach

George

In honor of National Intern Day, we're putting the spotlight on George Hito, our software engineering intern! George hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and attends Dartmouth College.

What initially drew you to VR and IrisVR?

I was one of the early adopters of the HTC Vive - I instantly fell in love with the headset when I first saw it advertised, preordered it immediately, and built my own PC rig with the necessary specs to run VR. My time up until its arrival was spent reading anything and everything about VR and how the industry was developing. I followed the community of creators as it took off, and even contributed my own small part through a research project for my school’s CS department.

I visited NYC early this year with a group of students to meet with the owners of a few startups that were either founded by Dartmouth alumni or by alumni from nearby schools. One of the companies we visited was IrisVR, and when I first stepped into the office it already felt like home in a way. It was a VR paradise - there were Oculus Rifts on every desk, HTC Vive setups throughout the room in open spaces, and rows of powerful workstations. After all the time I had spent reading about, experiencing, and developing for VR, potentially being able to work at a place like IrisVR felt like a dream.

What does a typical day look like?

I get into the office between 9:30 and 9:45 after a 25 minute walk from upper Chelsea and say a quick good morning to the other members of the team. On Mondays there’s a full-team recap at 9:30 that usually lasts a half hour, where everyone has a chance to check in about what they hope to accomplish the coming week + any announcements that concern the whole team.

After that, work begins - I've been spending my time, among other projects, researching and investigating the HoloLens. My desk setup is designed to maximize efficiency, with two huge monitors that give me plenty of screen space for essentials like Unity for rapid prototyping and multiple windows of Visual Studio. 

Time flies, and when I get off work, I generally just pick a direction and walk. I listen to music, mentally wrestle with unsolved bugs in my code, and experience the city.

My time here has taught me a lot about the nature of a dev cycle - there are days when everything clicks and I fly through code. But there are also days where more time than I would like is spent Googling and hunting obscure StackOverflow answers for the origins of a bug that has brought work screeching to a halt. However, I find that I learn more on those ‘bad days’ - and without them, the good ones wouldn’t feel as great!

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part is how much ownership I feel over my work - it feels like every line of code I write, every feature I test, and every step I make forwards is something that will play a part in the company’s future. Even though I’ve only been here a month, I feel like I’m making a meaningful contribution to the team. I don’t think I would have gotten the same feeling at a large company.

What excites you the most about IrisVR?

What excites me the most is how easy it is to view anything using Prospect. Whether you’re a world-class architect designing a skyscraper or an indie game dev designing a dungeon for an RPG, Prospect gives you a powerful, user-friendly interface for understanding how it feels to be immersed in that environment. It’s a tool for creators to ensure their 3D work reaches its full potential.

What’s your favorite building/space?

The new train station at the One World Trade Center is beautiful. I’ve never seen a building that has such a fundamentally modern interior while retaining the grandeur of old cathedrals, but that one more than succeeds.

What do you want to see invented in your lifetime?

A way for people to experience the memories and lives of others in first-person. While this would revolutionize movies, video games, and all other forms of digital media, it would also make everyone a lot more empathetic. In a world increasingly defined by 1’s and 0’s, it would be nice to step back sometimes and remind ourselves that we’re all human.