Company Description

jeri-rickTechnical Illusions was founded in March of 2013 by industry veterans Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson.  Our first product, castAR, is a mixed reality mode glasses, allowing for social Projected Reality and fully immersive Virtual Reality. We also believe in bridging the physical world with the virtual world and are excited to be developing the foundation for next generation board and table top gaming.

We’re committed to the development of vision space technologies that are user friendly, price conscious and magical in nature. All in all, we just want you and your friends to have fun.

People

 

Jeri Ellsworth
Inventor. Co-Founder. Chief Hardware Engineer
Jeri Ellsworth 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, and has made her well-known in the industry for cutting-edge consumer products which sell in the millions. She often holds the lead designer position on consumer products and has driven many projects from concept to mass production, including electrical and mechanical prototypes, cost reductions, certifications, tooling, tests, and overseas mass production. Outside of engineering, Jeri has been a key member in several startups and has built businesses from the ground up. She is intimately familiar with day-to-day operations 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 offers her time as a mentor and has produced hundreds of instructional videos demonstrating complex science subjects in an approachable way free of charge. 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 Johnson 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. The game was published by Electronic Arts on the Commodore Amiga. 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. There, he improved editor tools, created the majority of the graphics technology in Dota 2, and was one of three primary founders of the Linux cabal. 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. During his last 5 months at Valve, he spent most of his spare time outside of work helping create a prototyping environment for the AR project that Jeri Ellsworth was involved in. Together, they formed Technical Illusions and continued to iterate on and improve the hardware and software associated with castAR.

 

DVHWDavid Henkel-Wallace 
CEO
David Henkel-Wallace 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 the structure of society.

 

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.

 


 

Pravin Bhat
Sr. R&D Engineer
In addition to graduating his undergraduate class at Georgia Institute of Technology with a 4.0 GPA, Pravin holds a M.S. and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Washington. His research has been published in numerous academic conferences and journals. Pravin met Technical Illusions co-founders Jeri and Rick at Valve Corporation where he was an R&D Engineer, designing and developing a new tracking system for real-time desktop VR experiences. His tracking system is currently in use at Valve for developing next-gen VR games and applications. Pravin also brings experience as an R&D Engineer at Weta Digital (New Zealand) where he received movie credits for Avatar, Tintin, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Hobbit.

 

Derek Bonner
Electrical Engineer
Derek received his BS in Electrical Engineering from CSU in Fort Collins, CO where he participated in the DemoSat program through Colorado Space Grant Consortium. At Technical Illusions, Derek returns to his engineering roots after recent stints as a Web Developer and System Administrator at various companies in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Ken Clements
Director of Intellectual Property
Ken Clements 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.

 

 

Josie Nutter
Software Engineer. UX Specialist
Josie Nutter 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
An expert gamer, Richter brings a Bachelor’s of Science from the Digipen Institute of Technology in Real Time Interactive Simulation, as well as experience as a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft and as an Engineer at Gas Powered Games.

 

 

 

Ryan Smith
3D Artist
Ryan Smith found his way to Technical Illusions by proving himself to be a formidable artist and game designer at their monthly Game Jams. A multi-talented Indie developer, Ryan studied Fine Art and Film at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before moving to Seattle in 2013. Acting as 3D modeler, animator, product designer, world builder and game designer,  Ryan wears a lot of hats, both figuratively and literally. He is a huge fan of tabletop gaming and collectible card games, and is thrilled at the potential to bring these genres to castAR.

 

 

Dan Tebbs
Sr. Electrical Engineer
Dan brings two degrees (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Utah State University, 1994) and decades of experience to his current post as Senior Electrical Engineer at Technical Illusions. Immersed in electronics since the age of 9, Tebbs wrote his first program at age the tender age of 13. In addition to his involvement in the Maker Movement and mentoring students in Exothermic Robotics, Dan’s professional experience includes engineering stints at QSI, Microsoft, Mackie Designs, Universal Avionics and Auric Consulting.

 

 

tobyToby
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.