This year ACM IMX will host amazing and inspiring keynote speakers, from academic and industry thought-leaders from across the globe.

Keynote: Empathic Computing: Delivering the Entire Metaverse

Mark Billinghurst

University of South Australia (Australia)
University of Auckland
(New Zealand)

In this talk I will talk about the emerging research field of Empathic Computing and how this can be used to create systems that develop deeper understanding between people. Using AR and VR technology, combined with physiological sensing, people can understand what other people are seeing, hearing and feeling, creating a strong sense of empathy. Using this technology, the Metaverse will go beyond being a place where we see one another, to a place where we can be one another and create a deep emotional connection. In this way Empathic Computing helps develop the entire Metaverse.

Mark Billinghurst is Director of the Empathic Computing Laboratory, and Professor at the University of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia, and also at the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand. He earned a PhD in 2002 from the University of Washington and conducts research on how virtual and real worlds can be merged, publishing over 650 papers on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, remote collaboration, Empathic Computing, and related topics. In 2013 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and in 2019 was given the ISMAR Career Impact Award in recognition for lifetime contribution to AR research and commercialization.

Keynote: Designing and Scaling IMX Programs for Community-Level Interventions

Emerging IMX technologies, such as virtual and mixed reality, have become dramatically more affordable and accessible in recent years.  Consumers can purchase a VR headset for a reasonable price at local retail stores and experience virtual worlds in a matter of minutes. Yet, integrating IMX technologies into everyday use at a community level remains a challenge, with many users questioning the utility of IMX technologies.  In this keynote, I will present recent projects that delivered IMX technologies into the hands of hundreds of families and organizations in local communities to help them make healthier and better informed choices; how these projects were designed to embed IMX into their daily routines; and how we overcame the constraints of places and spaces.  Critical next steps toward the ubiquitous use of emerging technologies will be discussed.

Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (Ph.D., Stanford University) is an Associate Professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Georgia. She is the founding director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab (, and the Deputy Director of the Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation, and Combating Environmental Racism (CHARTER). Her main program of research investigates how interactive and immersive digital media such as virtual and augmented reality transform traditional rules of communication and social interactions, looking at how virtual experiences shape the way that people think, feel, and behave in the physical world. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States and is published in numerous top-tier outlets in the fields of communication, health, and engineering. 

Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn

University of Georgia, USA

Keynote: Teleporting remote experts with Distributed Reality

Álvaro Villegas

NOKIA, Spain

Virtual and mixed reality applications are popping up everywhere. Most of them focus on bringing people to a virtual space to communicate, collaborate or just have fun, what eliminates from the experience the real environment surrounding the participants. We present here our Distributed Reality technology, which also belongs to the category of immersive media (XR), and it is also used for communication and collaboration. In our case, however, there is a strong focus on the real environment around the peers, which is captured in real time and blended into a “Real Reality” experience for all of them. We will present a particular use case of this concept in the industrial area, in which a remote expert is first trained in a realistic (not virtual) immersive scenario and then he/she is virtually “teleported” to the real scenario where the assistance is required.

Álvaro Villegas leads the Extended Reality Lab in Nokia, a research center focused in the application of immersive media (VR, AR, XR) to human communications. He received a six-year telecommunications engineering degree at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) and he completed an MBA Core Program at ESCP Europe Business School. Alvaro received the Distinguished Member of Technical Staff title from Bell Labs. He has dedicated his nearly 30 years of professional life to innovate in digital video in different companies: Telefónica, ONO, Motorola, Nagravision, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, where he has filed more than 40 patents. In his former role as Head of Bell Labs in Nokia Spain and now as lead of XR Lab he applies XR, AI/ML and 5G/6G technologies to improve human communications.