What We Do

 

FUN!

In 2013, Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson left Valve Software, where they both worked on augmented and virtual reality, to found Technical Illusions and develop the castAR system in Woodinville Washington.  After months of development and a successful Kickstarter they built a team to complete development of the product.

Since then we have raised some seed money and started to ship to our early backers.  It is exciting to have reached the point where independent developers can start developing for the new platform.

Our goal is to build the ubiquitous, shared interfaces that are the future of how people will work and play together.   The castAR glasses are just the first of our products.   We don’t want to be a “technology demonstration” company; we start our engineering by considering how real people work and play together.  We strive to make products that are natural, responsive, and embedded in the physical world.   Instead of isolating, they should be open, social, magical and engaging.

We strive to be honest on all fronts, including all our marketing. Our Kickstarter video was filmed through real castAR glasses and did not utilize any CG. As we’ve matured, we’ve held ourselves to the highest standard of showing what’s possible now, not where we want to be in ten years. “Concept video” is not in our vocabulary.

All in all, we just want you and your friends to have fun.  In fact in our conference room we always have to work around this important “do not erase” message.

 


 

People

 

DVHWDavid Henkel-Wallace 
CEO
David is an experienced executive and software developer.  From an early career in Artifical Intelligence research at labs such as the MIT AI lab, Xerox PARC and MCC, he went on to start and run several groundbreaking companies in diverse fields including, among others, the first Open Source company Cygnus Solutions, one of the first retail ISPs TLGnet, distributed database Zembu and the novel pharmaceutical company Talima Therapeutics.  His technical experience spans hardware from multi-ton power generation equipment to devices in the micrograms; computers from mainframes to deeply embedded processors; and products from mass consumer items like the Playstation to highly specialized devices.  An advisor to several technology startup companies, he is committed to work that has a significant and positive effect on society.

Jeri Ellsworth
Inventor. Co-Founder. Chief Hardware Engineer
Jeri is an inventor, product designer, and engineer of both chip and system-level designs. Her broad skillset enables her to design reliable, low cost, and highly integrated systems. She is well-known in the industry for creating cutting-edge consumer products which sell in the millions. She is intimately familiar with the day-to-day operations of large and small companies, as well as how to build efficient engineering teams in new company environments. Jeri has become an icon in the maker / educational community for pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible for an individual. She is a frequent lecturer at universities and speaks at many annual events about creativity and engineering. In 2012, she was presented the Maker Hero of the Year award by MAKE Magazine.

Rick Johnson
Co-Founder. Chief Software Engineer
Rick started working on his first professional video game, Black Crypt, half way through college with 3 other people. Raven Software was formed during the game’s development. After graduating college, Rick went to Raven full time, working on over 13 titles including Heretic 2 and Star Wars Jedi Academy. He was the lead programmer on Hexen 2, Soldier of Fortune, Soldier of Fortune 2, and Quake 4. After 17 years at Raven, Rick joined Gearbox Software to work on an unannounced prototype project and to assist with Brothers in Arms. He then moved on to Valve Software where he improved editor tools, created the majority of the graphics technology in Dota 2, and was one of the primary founders of the Linux team. His contributions helped make Left 4 Dead 2 run on OpenGL in Linux just as fast as its Windows counterpart, helping bring Linux gaming into the modern age.

 

PaulPaul Denton 
CFO
Paul has more than 20 years of strategic-leadership experience as an executive at numerous emerging-growth companies.  Most recently, he was CFO at OpenDNS and COO/CFO at ScaleXtreme that was sold to Citrix.  Prior to ScaleXtreme, he was part of the management team that grew and then sold Zvents to eBay-owned StubHub.  He has held other executive roles at FusionOne, Determina, Andale, Talima Therapeutics and Zembu. Earlier in his career he worked as a management consultant for Booz & Company and an Operations Manager for Exxon/Esso Petroleum. Paul has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS with honors in chemical engineering from University of Birmingham, UK.

 


 
JasonCerundoloJason Cerundolo 
Hardware Engineer
Jason is a hardware engineer with degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech and Northwestern. Prior to joining the Technical Illusions team he worked on firmware testing and characterization at Synaptics. Jason is also the co-founder of the Student Defense Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit alumni group, and the founder of Reclaimer Labs, an open-source hardware company. Jason is an avid gamer during his free time.



Ken Clements
Director of Intellectual Property
Ken began developing new hardware and software technology products in 1971.  His experience and expertise has been proven through several tech startups and as an Industry Expert/Expert Witness in U.S. patent litigation cases involving computer, and wireless networking technology. Ken was one of the early developers of what we know today as WiFi and an author of the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard.



Christina Engel
Communications. Media Relations
Christina met co-founders, Jeri and Rick during her time in PR and Event Management at Valve Corporation. Christina’s expertise is all things PR, including; event production, presentation content and delivery, press coordination, media relations and publications. Prior to earning  a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Washington, Engel trained, performed, and taught as a professional ballerina throughout the US.



Phil Gossett

Phil Gossett
Algorithms. Engineering 
Phil has been a technology innovator for nearly 40 years. Early in his career he invented the co-planarization algorithm which was used in such films as Tron and The Last Star Fighter, and was the designer and architect of the Foonly F-5 (a PDP-10 clone). He co-invented the “Flexible Sampling Rate Conversion Method” while at Stanford University, and was SGI’s Principal Engineer responsible for the architecture and design of the Nintendo-64 and V-Pro graphics chips. Phil not only brings technical expertise, but extensive management experience as well. He was the CEO of a Google acquired startup, and the Technical Lead of a major wireless project while at Google.


Josie Nutter
Software Engineer. UX Specialist
Josie is a software engineer and UX specialist with almost two decades of experience in the video games industry. She has a B.S. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington, where she received the Undergraduate Award of Excellence for demonstrating special strength in innovation. Coming from a background in gameplay and tools programming at studios such as Crystal Dynamics, Snowblind Studios, and PopCap Games, she is now working on the software side of castAR for Technical Illusions after helping launch a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $1M.


Allen Richter
Software Engineer
Allen is an expert gamer who brings a Bachelor’s of Science from the Digipen Institute of Technology in Real Time Interactive Simulation. He began his career as a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft and Gas Powered Games. Allen joined the Technical Illusions team after proving himself to be a talented, passionate and quick adapting engineer at the early castAR game jams.




OwenWebReadyOwen Rubin
Customer Experience 
Owen has over 35 years in technology development and management. He started as one of the first five game designers for Atari, and designed coin-operated games for over 13 years for Atari and Bally Sente. He also designed both Mac hardware and software at Apple. He was Director of Technology for Pacific Bell, where he helped design and build one of the first digital broadband systems. Owen was hired by Paul Allen to lead Paul’s broadband and digital TV research for Interval Research. After Interval, Owen began a run as a technical executive for a number of different start-up companies in application security, semiconductors, digital TV devices, and advertising related technology.


toby
Toby
Co-Founder. Sr. Cat
Toby is a tabby cat. He enjoys eating, sleeping and purring. He is often found on Christina’s lap or eating food off Allen’s desk.

 

 

 
FranklinFranklin
Chief Dog Officer
Franklin is an Irish Wolf Hound. In his younger years he enjoyed backpacking through the snowpacks of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Nowadays he can be seen taking up the whole of David’s Mini Cooper and waiting patiently outside the conference room. He has barked one time in his whole life and intends to keep it that way.