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David A. Smith Bio

Born Camp Lejeune, NC 1957
BA University of Chicago 1981

David began his programming life as a corporate analyst at Thermo Electron Corporation, where he worked to develop an enterprise-wide multi-user multi-dimensional hierarchical spreadsheet program in APL. This system enabled the CEO to get a real-time view of the entire business through its sophisticated updating and reporting capabilities.

In 1982, David went to work for Richard Greenblatt and Lucia Vaina as a programmer for Softrobotics, an affiliate of Lisp Machines, Inc. where he worked to develop an expert system for the diagnosis of brain damage using an Apple ][ as the front end to a Lisp Machine.

In 1984, David moved back to the Special Projects Laboratory at Thermo Electron to work for Stelianos Pezaris (Sutherland-Pezaris headmount and Pezaris Array Multiplier), where he designed a process control application as well as helped to design a multi-processor distributed controller architecture for a robotic PC plating system. The application was used to design the process that the robotic controller carried out. He also developed a full windows and menus framework for the PC and performed his first experiments in real-time 3D on a PC-XT.

David moved to the Thomas Lord Research Center in 1986 as a Staff Scientist working on intelligent object manipulation using robotic tactile sensors, pneumo-elastic and mechanical hands. He also developed a tele-presence system using stereo-optics and a dataglove controlling a Puma-560 robot equipped with the pneumo-elastic hand. This allowed the user to manipulate small objects from a distance with full eye-hand coordination. It also demonstrated the need for force-feedback to the user for him to accomplish any reasonably complex micro-manipulation task.

David has been focused on interactive 3D and using 3D as a basis for new user environments and entertainment for almost twenty years. He created "The Colony", the very first 3D interactive game and precursor to today's "first person shooters" like Quake... except Colony ran on a Macintosh in 1987. "The Colony" won the "Best Adventure Game of the Year" award from MacWorld Magazine.

In 1989, David used the technologies developed for the game to create a virtual set and virtual camera system that was used by Jim Cameron for the movie "The Abyss". Based upon this experience, David founded Virtus Corporation in 1990 and developed Virtus Walkthrough, the first real-time 3D design application for personal computers. Walkthrough won the very first "Breakthrough Product of the Year" from MacUser Magazine.

The Croquet project is the culmination of David’s work on 3D component based architectures for the development and deployment of complex peer to peer environments including interactive entertainment. His first experiments in multi-user systems and interactive environments laid the groundwork for much of the architecture and user interface of Croquet.

David co-founded Red Storm Entertainment with Tom Clancy, and Timeline Computer Entertainment with Michael Crichton. He also co-founded Neomar, a wireless enterprise infrastructure company.