VPL (which is rumored to stand for "Visual Programming Language") was started in 1984 in the corner of Jaron Lanier's cottage in Palo Alto. Lanier's genius as a programmer and inventor, who insists on viewing technology from the strangest of angles, soon brought him notoriety (the cover story of a 1984 Scientific American) and enough royalties from his game and software designs to start VPL. Of course, the things Jaron and VPL are best known for is their virtual reality hard- and software and Jaron's outspoken, often pollyanish remarks about how VR will save the world ("VR is the first medium that doesn't narrow the human spirit," "VR is a new plane of reality that will thrill everybody.")
Although the popular media has portrayed Jaron as some kind of larger-than-life rasta gurumon who singlehandedly invented virtual reality (his media hype is to VR what Gibson's is to cyberpunk), he is a stellar example of a brilliant street techie turned Silicon Valley CEO. Jaron was a high school drop out with nothing to show for himself but a fertile imagination and a "way with machines." The moral: want to see the face of technology change? Don't wait for instructions -- do-it-yourself!
Some of VPL's products include:
Here is the TEXT POPUP for VPL ...
"Idealistically, I might hope that VR will provide an experience of comfort with multiple realities for a lot of people in western civilization, an experience which is otherwise rejected. Most societies on earth have some method by which people experience life through radically different realities at different times, through ritual, through different things. Western civilizations have tended to reject them, but because VR is a gadget, I do not think it will be rejected. It's the ultimate gadget."
- Jaron Lanier, SINGULARITY, #3, Autumn 1990
Other companies that sell commercial VR products and services. Write for more information:
2320 Marinship Way
Sausalito, CA 94965
Fake Space Labs
935 Hamilton Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Leep Systems, Inc
241 Crescent St.
Waltham, MA 02154
PO Box 477
Sausalito, CA 94965