Steve LaValle is a highly successful engineering professor and entrepreneur. He has over 20 years of research and development experience in a broad set of areas, including virtual reality, robotics, computer vision, filtering, sensor fusion, artificial intelligence, control systems, and perceptual psychology. He has published three books on virtual reality and robotics, over 150 scientific articles, and introduced Rapidly exploring Random Trees, which form the leading approach to robot planning. He has taught at Stanford University and Iowa State, and since 2001 has been a professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to his academic accomplishments, he was the chief scientist at Oculus VR up until the $2 billion Facebook acquisition in 2014. He started working with Oculus VR a few days after their 2012 Kickstarter campaign; he developed head tracking methods based on IMUs and computer vision, and led a team of perceptual psychologists to solve human factors issues in virtual reality. He is currently an investor and adviser to startups in addition to continuing his university role.
Steve holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois.