Oculus Research Q&A: Yusufu Sulai

Oculus Research Q&A: Yusufu Sulai

Last week, we shared a behind-the-scenes look at a new perceptual testbed built by Oculus Research that opens up exciting avenues for future research. Today, we’re kicking off a week of Q&As with the team behind the testbed. Five researchers, five questions. Let’s dive in!

First up, Optical Scientist Yusufu Sulai.

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Tell us a little about your background.

Yusufu Sulai: I pursued a PhD in Optics at the University of Rochester under Alfredo Dubraand David Williams. My thesis centered on the development and advancement of adaptive optics retinal imaging systems where we recorded success in implementing novel ways to non-invasively view certain classes of retinal cells—foveal cone photoreceptors, rod photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelium, as well as cone inner segments. After graduating in September 2014, I spent one year at the Medical College of Wisconsin where I was a post-doc in Alfredo Dubra’s lab. Subsequently, I joined Oculus Research in August 2015.

What brought you to Oculus?

YS: I joined Oculus Research because I was motivated to do research that would end up in a consumer product. The fact that we were going to end up inventing the future with a great group of intelligent and scientifically diverse people was a huge bonus.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Oculus Research?

YS: My favorite thing about Oculus Research is how much capability we have. As researchers, it’s amazing that we can go from idea to concept to prototype in a very short amount of time. As Engineering Manager Scott McEldowney eloquently put it: “Our capabilities allow us to get smarter faster.”

What was your very first VR experience? How about your most memorable one?

YS: My first VR experience was during my interview at Oculus Research. Scott McEldowney gave me a demo, and I thought it was incredible. In fact, I thought it was so incredible that I found it hard to notice any of the limitations—that was something that came up in subsequent interviews with other members of the team.

My most memorable VR experience was as a third-person viewer. My 67-year-old mother was visiting from Nigeria and wanted first-hand experience of what I was working on. I placed the headset on her head and two minutes later, she screamed and tried to run away from the virtual dinosaur. It was an incredible sight to see.

How do you think VR and AR will impact our daily lives in the years to come?

YS: Being Nigerian with a large family that’s spread across the globe, I look forward to using AR and VR to connect us all.

Thanks to Yusufu for taking the time to chat with us. Stay tuned to the blog all week for more Q&As!

— The Oculus Team