Michael Becker

I’m a creative technologist & interdisciplinary artist based in the Pacific Northwest.

My current role is Creative Engineer and Technical Product Manager at Pluto. I design, prototype and collaborate on work that anticipates the future of spatial computing multi apps, cloud-based XR streaming, and XR interaction design. Prior to that I’ve spent several years at Magic Leap as a creative 3D engineer, as well as other companies. My technical expertise lies primarily within Unity and Unreal Engine as well as web-based spatial computing (WebXR), and additional art-focused software & creative coding frameworks.

My professional training and early career has been in the music industry, and my approach to creating stems from the principles of interdisciplinary thinking, artful design, and the Vitruvian threefold law of Beauty, Robust design and Usefulness, which inform everything I work on.

Twitter | GitHub | Resume

Portfolio


Synesthesia

Platform: Magic Leap One

Tool: Unity3D

Made in collaboration with Tricia Becker, Synesthesia is an immersive augmented reality experience / instrument for the Magic Leap One, which explores the intersection of sound, color, emotion and human-computer feedback loops. Utilizing gorgeous particle VFX, the Magic Leap One’s hand tracking capabilities and audio-reactive, real-time pitch detection algorithms, Synesthesia responds to the user’s voice and touch in real time; users/players are encouraged to sing, play an instrument or produce sound by any other means. The pitch and amplitude of every heard note is turned into a choreographed expression of shape, color and movement, complementing the music and responding to it in an unpredictable, organic manner. Synesthesia is an invitation to dive deep into an inner world of sound and music, and explore its never ending colorful depth.


Tableau Vivant

Platform: PC / Windows

Tools: OpenFrameworks & Blender

Tableau Vivant: The Living Room is a living digital painting. It is rendered in real time: sixty frames per second, twenty four hours a day, its lighting and inner life reflect the current time at every given moment. Inside a sparsely lit room, a rolling ocean moves agonizingly and hauntingly slow, as the painting’s world slowly darkens with nightfall, mirroring our own world.

Made with Blender and OpenFrameworks, this piece utilizes advanced fluid simulation and advanced lighting techniques to question and play with the passage of time, natural movement against stillness, and eternity itself. Premiered at the CICA Experimental Film and Video 2020 exhibition in South Korea.

The source code is available at https://michaelybecker.github.io/thelivingroom.


Neon Wild Interactive Comic Book

Platform: iOS

Tools: Unity3D & Wwise

Neon Wild is an innovative company working on a personalized child development and entertainment platform, built on a universe of imagination.

I created a Unity prototype for Issue 1: Into the Wild that implemented art, script and audio from award-winning artists in a one-of-a-kind interactive digital comic book. The prototype featured interactive audio, an innovative swipe-based comic book UI, and dynamic configuration / user-specific adaptation (via switching character models, animations, text & voice over) which alters the interactive book at runtime to fit its young reader.


Persona: An Oracular Toy

Platform: Magic Leap One

Tools: Unreal Engine 4, Ableton Live

Persona is an impossible, musical physics toy. It’s inspired by Greek oracles, Magic 8-Balls and musical playthings. It leverages light-field displays, hand interaction, hand gestures and spatial audio to facilitate a dreamlike, iridescent, nonlinear experience.

This Oracle doesn’t answer – it asks: What mask are you wearing right now?


Pluto Multi App Explainer Video

Platform: YouTube

Tools: Adobe Premiere Pro

An explainer video I wrote and produced to demonstrate, contextualize and explain Pluto’s Multi App capabilities. The XR Multi App stack spans many ecosystems (WebXR, C++, Unity/Unreal) and suggests a paradigm shift in spatial computing design. The explainer video comprises ample footage from XR multi apps (as well as Pluto’s telecommunications app), complemented with a friendly voice over track that presents a complex subject in a simplified, user-friendly manner.


Sandcastle: A WebXR framework for spatial-first, multi-user apps

Platform: WebXR / WebGL-compatible browsers (Windows / OSX)

Tools: VS Code

Sandcastle aims to serve spatial web application developers, with an emphasis on XR multi app creators. It’s built on three.js and features abstracted WebXR input handling, built-in physics & collision detection, and tiny project build sizes. It is built in Javascript, and is accompanied by a Wiki, as well as a Learning Resource Portal.


Songscape: Qualia – The Feel of Not To Feel It

Platform: Oculus Rift

Tools: Unity3D

An interactive Songscape I created for the song “The Feel Of Not To Feel It” which I released under the moniker QVALIA in 2014. Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest / A3E’s “Innovators in Music” award for 2014. Made with Unity3D, with a special version made for the Oculus Rift DK2.

VICE / The Creators Project interview


Shaders & Raymarching

Platform: Online (WebGL-compatible browser)

Tools: Code

I love shader programming – particularly Raymarching, which tends to feel like wielding time & space to create impossible realities. I’m Desertsky On Shadertoy, where I’ve published a few shaders which I’m particularly proud of.

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