Derek Ham, NC State University College of Design
Derek Ham, Ph.D., is an associate professor and head of the Art + Design department for NC State University’s College of Design. His research expertise includes game-based learning, digital storytelling and immersive media. Ham completed his doctoral work in design computation at MIT, and holds a master’s in architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a bachelor’s in architecture from Hampton University. As the founder of the Mixed Reality Lab at the College of Design, he investigates virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to find ways these tools can expand how we work and play. In 2019, NC State University also invested in the lab’s spin off company, Logic Grip Inc., a startup that produces VR content and develops new VR hardware and peripheral devices. In 2017, Ham received funding from Oculus by Facebook through its Launchpad Program to complete a VR project called “I Am A Man.” This project centers on civil rights, the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike and last days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The VR experience has been broadly celebrated for its achievement in the use of this new technology to communicate history in a meaningful way. The project has been shown at film festivals nationally and internationally, including the SIGGRAPH 2018 Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Program. “I Am A Man” won the Perspectives Award for Immersive Storytelling at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival, won VR Best of Show at the 2018 Nashville Film Festival, and was the winner of the 2018 FoST Prize for the category “Bridging the Divide.” Ham’s next VR project, “Barnstormers,” is a VR telling of the Negro Baseball League. It’s currently in pre-production and is being funded by the Epic Game’s Mega Grant program.
Sessions:Deep Dive into Mixed Reality for Social Impact Wednesday Mainstage