Watch the ‘Godfather of VR’ Ivan Sutherland Speak at the 2015 Proto Awards


The 2015 Proto Awards are over for another year, and as attendees awake from their after-party hangovers, footage from the event is emerging. One of the biggest highlight this year was the surprise appearance of Ivan Sutherland who accepted a ‘Special Founders Award’. Sutherland is regarded as a virtual reality legend primarily for his work as inventor of one of the first ever VR headsets, the Sword of Damocles.

Way back in 1968, Ivan Sutherland – then an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, along with his student colleague Bob Sproull, engineered a new type of display, the VR and AR head mounted unit known as The Sword of Damocles. The unit was ungainly and extremely heavy, but it included a binocular display and head tracking, making it one of the earliest and oldest descendants of modern HMDs.

The Sword of Damocles AR/VR Headset
The Sword of Damocles AR/VR Headset

In 2015, virtual reality is on the brink of a huge revival, and at this pivotal moment in the technology’s history it was perhaps the perfect time to honour Sutherland as a true visionary.

At last night’s Proto Awards, that’s exactly what happened. Honoured with a ‘Special Founders Award’, the audience were delighted to see that Sutherland was there in person to accept the award and to give a short acceptance speech detailing a brief history of his life in technology and how virtual reality came to be. Sutherland received a standing ovation.

Leading Effort to Hack PSVR 2 into Playing PC VR Games Unlocks 6DOF Cameras, Begins Work on Controllers

Thanks to the guys at Convrge for capturing this moment on video and sharing it.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.