There are so many people in the emerging tech industry who inspire us and help us reach new heights. Whether it’s through lending a hand, organising events, developing resources for the community or an building an inspiring project — there’s so much worthy of thanks. We got you all to nominate people deserving of thanks and recognition in 2017, here are those people you felt deserved a special thanks!

Display pictures for all of the nominees

All our fantastic emerging tech inspirations for 2017!

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is one busy guy! He organises workshops, helps out people in the Aussie Maker community constantly and overall is a really friendly dude. He was nominated for:

“Organising numerous fun and low-barrier to entry workshops around robotics using Python and JavaScript. Generally contributing to the Hacker / Maker community and willingly sharing knowledge and expertise.”

Thank you Andrew! For all of your help and for being “100% what the Maker community is all about”. I’ve seen you do your thing first-hand and had the pleasure of co-hosting an event with you (yay Nodebots Day!) and I know the effort you put in. Thank you!

Andrew’s Twitter: @ajfisher

Annie Harper

Annie is another great member of our emerging tech community, we even interviewed her on our piece on using virtual reality to help reduce unconscious bias where she spoke about Equal Reality, a company she co-founded, and the great work they’re doing to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace. As one nomination called it — it is “one of the most inspirational applications for virtual reality – inclusivity”.

“Annie is smart, inspiring and is using emerging technology to change the world for the better, tackling a problem that’s surrounded by a lot of taboo.”

For all your hard work in this space, using emerging tech to help the world become a better place, thank you Annie.

Annie’s Twitter: @anniecatdev

Bastiaan Olij

Bastiaan is one of those “unsung heroes of the industry” — working away on some massive stuff without drawing attention to himself. He did a massive amount of work contributing to adding VR support and functionality into the open source Godot Engine:

“He has contributed greatly to adding in VR support & functionality into the Godot Engine. Although the upcoming Godot Engine v3 is still an impressive open source engine regardless, Bastiaan’s hard work has ensured that Godot may become a viable engine for VR developers, and can keep up with the likes of Unity and Unreal Engine 4.”

That’s a huge achievement right there and one which is deserving of thanks (and congratulations!). Fantastic work Bastiaan!

Bastiaan’s Twitter: @mux213

Ben Dechrai

Ben is one of the organisers for BuzzConf and works incredibly hard bringing very high quality tech events to Australia (I’ve been to a few and they were some of the smoothest run events I’ve been to!). He’s also a great guy who deserves some recognition for the work he has put in.

“He started the whole BarCamp movement in Australia, which lead to the creation of BuzzConf. Not to mention the other tech events he runs. He’s been an awesome supporter of Australian technologists and new tech!”

Ben, thank you for all that you’ve done! Running events isn’t an easy task (especially a whole technology festival!), so thank you!

Ben’s Twitter: @bendechrai

Brennan Hatton

Brennan was another of the co-founders of Equal Reality with Annie — that fantastic endeavour to bring about change in unconscious bias using emerging tech. Brennan’s nomination was surprisingly not for Equal Reality, but instead for all of the “sharing of his knowledge in the community” which he does. He speaks at events, “shares what he knows and is always keen to give a hand”. We need as many developers doing that as possible in this ever-changing industry!

“I’ve lost count of the inspiring things that man has shown over the years. He is an unbelievably talented guy.”

Brennan, thank you for all of your contributions to the industry, it hasn’t gone unnoticed!

Brennan’s Twitter: @BrennanHatton

Charlie Gerard

Charlie is quite active in the Aussie JavaScript tinkerer scene! In fact, she most recently featured in the Dev Diner newsletter for her demo controlling a 3D cube using her mind and JavaScript! Her actual thoughts! Charlie is super creative and her demos inspired many others in 2017, she is definitely deserving of this nomination!

“Charlie is a JavaScript and hardware guru — she is always entertaining when she presents and really raises the bar for fellow JavaScript devs to follow! So inspiring!!!”

For all the developers out there that you’ve inspired in 2017, thank you Charlie! You’re definitely a valuable member of the developer community here in Sydney.

Charlie’s Twitter: @devdevcharlie

Diego Marcos

Diego is an unbelievably active member of the WebVR community and his contributions are undeniably crucial to a lot of people’s WebVR projects! One nominator points out that “he was the original starter of A-Frame and one of the authors of VREffect and VRControls which was widely used on most WebVR projects.” Those three contributions alone can be found in a huge amount of WebVR projects out there. We wouldn’t have WebVR as it is today without Diego’s work.

“Diego has continued to do important work for A-Frame such as facilitating merging of Windows Mixed Reality support in A-Frame, keeping it up to date with three.js, and answering everyone’s questions on Slack and Stack Overflow.”

The fact he’s been eagerly answering questions on Slack and Stack Overflow for the community too just shows how much Diego is contributing — thank you Diego for all that you do!

Diego’s Twitter: @dmarcos

Don McCurdy

Don is another member of the community who is incredibly active in his contributions to a whole range of projects out there around 3D and VR on the web. He’s another member of the community who gladly helps out developers, shares his knowledge and helps bring emerging tech on the web to new levels.

“Don is a friendly and helpful presence spanning multiple projects: three.js, glTF, A-Frame, and VR-related tools”

Thank you Don — your work is amazing and the passion you have for web technologies really does help encourage others into this space. You rock!

Don’s Twitter: @donrmccurdy

Elise Hollowed

Some people just make you proud to be in this industry. Elise is one of those people. She has spent time helping the next generation get their headstart into technology — something that will make a world of difference as they become the generation to shape the next stage in all of this! Her presence in the Seattle VR community is one that definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed:

“Elise has dedicated so much time and energy into inspiring future generations of women in technology. She coaches a team of girls competing in the FIRST Lego League competition, volunteered with Girls Make Games this past summer, and is active in the Seattle VR community.”

While she’s not off inspiring the future technologists of this world, she’s working on bringing AR to the Industrial Internet of Things. Elise, thank you for all of your contributions! You’re an inspiration!

Elise’s Twitter: @EliseHollowed

Etienne Pinchon

Etienne is without a doubt a creative mind — he has an eye for detail and brings that to the WebVR community in everything he does. It is rare to find people who have a keen eye for both code and design:

“Etienne hustled and created beautiful and polished projects for the WebVR community including A-Frame widgets and fonts, audio projects, and, a wonderful 2D editor allowing people to drag and drop to create WebVR scenes. Code and design, he’s amazing at both!” is a hugely impressive tool that helps web creators get into webVR and create prototypes for it quickly and easily — what an amazing thing to build and contribute to the community! Etienne — thank you for the high quality contributions you’ve made!

Etienne’s Twitter: @etiennepinchon

Eugene Capon/Topher Welsh

Inspiring others is no mean feat, yet Eugene and Topher have done just that. This nomination explains it all:

“These guys created and hosted a talk show in VR show called Glitched. I saw them first on periscope then I used my friends HTC Vive to watch the show in High Fidelity a week later. The show inspired me start learning WebVR and Unity3D. It was really funny and I loved that they made the set the show took place in. It looks like an incredible amount of work went into the show. I hope they do more!”

Thank you guys for spreading the joys of emerging tech so well that others are inspired to enter it and contribute too. Keep up the great work with your show!

Their Twitters: @CaponDesign/@toe_fur

Joanna Popper

Joanna is a Hollywood and Silicon Valley executive with experience in TV, Digital, Film and VR/AR. That’s a whole lot of experience! She was nominated for being “an amazing inspirational advocate for emerging tech, the importance of VR/AR for all, VR/AR evangelism and for women in tech and media”. What a fantastic nomination to have! She travels the world speaking at conferences about the power of VR and has helped many companies get into all sorts of emerging tech from VR to holograms and haptic touch.

Joanna developed a TV show partnership with NBC and Singularity University for “The Awesome Show”, a new series that her nominee says “will help bring tech to screens and living rooms around the world”.

“She has been a huge advocate for startups and particularly women. She recently wrote about women and representation. She is on the Coalition of the WXR Fund and was named [one of] ’50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment'”

That’s one unbelievably worthy nomination right there. Joanna, you are undoubtedly an inspiration to many of us in this industry, thank you for all that you do!

Joanna’s Twitter: @Joannapopper

Dr. John Flackett

John got a whole lot of nominations this year — a great sign that he definitely inspired a lot of people in 2017! He shares his knowledge around AI eagerly with many — we know this first hand when he spoke with Caitlin Gardner, a South Australian student, about AI and then helped get her research posted up here at Dev Diner!

“John dedicates his time to helping individuals, industry, government and community with Artificial Intelligence and Technology. He has been sharing his love, knowledge and expertise in these topics via teaching, industry work, mentoring and talks/presentations for many years across the globe.”

This year, he ran an incredible event in South Australia around AI:

“Organised and ran a large (sold out) event for the Open State Festival in South Australia, where he and his panel of interstate speakers spoke to the community on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and Future Jobs.”

His love for this industry and sharing knowledge has clearly made him stand out in 2017!

“He speaks with a real excitement and passion for the future of AI and his craft, which is always inspiring, engaging and thought provoking. He loves what he does and is dedicated in sharing knowledge, education and helping as many people as he can.”

John, thank you for all of your work sharing your knowledge and inspiration with so many in 2017. Here’s to another year of spreading that enthusiasm further!

John’s Twitter: @drpuffa

Kris Howard

Kris is a fantastic human being — I’ve met her and can attest to this! Her work around diversity and helping organise events made an incredible difference in 2017. Developer relations is an incredibly important thing for the technology industry and be the difference between a developer feeling overwhelmed/out of place and at home and inspired in the community. Kris, you’ve helped more people than you know and I hope this nomination helps you see just how much of an impact you’ve had! Your nomination was for:

“Blogging and sharing their learning and constant drive to improve diversity in the tech community especially women and creative arts.”

Thank you Kris, you absolutely rock.

Kris’ Twitter: @web_goddess

Mario Klingemann

Mario has some rather fascinating artworks — all generated using machine learning! He has a great knowledge of the tech and uses that to come up with all sorts of entirely new ideas for artworks. His unique way of seeing art and the potential of machine learning has helped inspire people to get involved and try new things with machine learning too!

” Using next gen tech (machine learning) to create uncanny valley imagery / art.”

Mario gets out there and speaks at events, shares his ideas and really does contribute to the emerging tech community — for all of those things, thank you Mario! You’re definitely an inspiration.

Mario’s Twitter: @quasimondo

Rose Ann Haft

Rose started her company Lumenora while working on something incredibly valuable — studying ways to prevent disease using optics and head worn devices. Her resilience in the face of many challenges has been an inspiration to others and is definitely deserving of her nomination here in this list. Her company is building something rather exciting:

“she’s continued to persevere in building a cutting edge device in the AR and VR world, in AI and in doing something with a large impact in the industry. She’s currently building the first devices that are truly capable of a wide field of view, compact headset able to have both AR and VR in the same device. This is her sixth headset she’s worked on and she’s a total bad ass.”

Congrats Rose, you’re the total bad ass of 2017! Thank you so much for all that you’ve contributed to emerging tech in 2017, we look forward to seeing what 2018 brings!

Rose’s Twitter: @rosehaft

Simon Barratt

Simon founded his very own studio alongside Brian Marshall called Cooperative Innovations and was nominated for some of the inspiring work that he and his team have done around social VR — they’ve done some pretty fantastic things!

“Simon has continued to push the boundaries of Social VR with his and his teams work at Cooperative Innovations, building their own Inverse Kinematic system on top of Unreal Engine 4, developing mouth sync as well as AI’s for eye gaze simulation, elbow and shoulder positioning and leg pose estimation. These technologies lead to some great results in their projects.”

Simon, leading a team to extraordinary achievements is a huge accomplishment and definitely an inspiration. Thank you for all you did to inspire the industry in 2017!

Simon’s Twitter: @barog

The Stone Fox

The Stone Fox is one very awe-inspiring dude. He created the open-source VR toolkit, VRTK, and provides it for free to help people get started building VR projects. Every single person who is starting in VR that I’ve mentioned this to have been incredibly exhilarated by the fact that there’s something that has opened up the possibilities for them before they’ve even started! VRTK has been huge for VR projects around the world and that’s all thanks to The Stone Fox.

“The Stone Fox, Github legend. His open source VR toolkit (VRTK) inspiring many to get into making VR. Unfortunately he called it a day at end of 2017 due to lack of funding. If anything deserves to get funded it is VRTK, and the guy deserves recognition!”

While he does seem to still be doing some work on VRTK, it sounds like he’ll be easing up on it in 2018. The Stone Fox deserves so much thanks for all the work he put in, the sacrifices that inevitably are made when building something open-source at this scale for so many people (a whole VR industry!)… thank you doesn’t even feel like enough! Thank you The Stone Fox, you are an inspiration!

The Stone Fox’s Twitter: @The_StoneFox

Tanay Pant

Tanay got a whole lot of nominations last year and this year went quite well too! People are incredibly grateful for his presentations around WebVR and his work on Melissa, his virtual assistant. I’m hoping to chat with Tanay in an upcoming podcast we’ll be doing here at Dev Diner (stay tuned!).

“He’s guilty of being the most charming and inspiring speaker on WebVR.”

Resources like books, articles and talks really do help people into the industry — Tanay works on all of these and has helped people get their start:

“He helped me get started in WebVR with his book and that was really helpful. It acted as a starting point for my career which later helped me get a job as a DevRel in the same field. Thanks, Tanay!”

Fair to say, Tanay is deserving of this nomination for 2017! Thank you Tanay for helping others in a way which Dev Diner is especially fond of — sharing information that makes it easier for devs to get into emerging tech!

“Tanay should be nominated for this just because of the sheer magnitude of inspiration and reach of his work via so many different medium. Keep on rocking the free web!”

Tanay’s Twitter: @tanay1337

Vi Hart

Vi Hart is a “Mathemusician” and a “Virtual Reality Philosopher” according to her Twitter profile and I think both of those are pretty incredible titles to hold in life! She has a Patreon where people help fund what she does, and it’s great to see she has a strong community of people helping her work on her passion! She was nominated for her team’s work at EleVR, where they are looking at how to extend our to program computers using VR and AR — a really fascinating idea!

“she and the rest of the EleVR team are working on what matters — VR and other emerging computer interfaces to learn and explore, including programming”

Thank you Vi for your really inspiring work — it’s great to see people working on areas of VR/AR that could really make a difference in how we use technology in the future.

Vi’s Twitter: @vihartvihart

What a great list of people! Thank you to everyone who nominated people who inspired them in 2017. If you read this list and thought “why wasn’t X on there?” — be sure to nominate them next year! Or, even better, get in touch with me and I can see if we can highlight their achievements in an article on Dev Diner this year. That’s one of the things Dev Diner is here for — celebrating the achievements of developers in this industry!

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