Gregg Favalora, 25
Virtual reality (VR) is hot these days, because of its potential in entertainment, learning and research. However, the most advanced systems render three-dimensional reality in two dimensions. Gregg Favalora thinks three dimensions are better. He has been working on "three-dimensional" VR since his undergraduate days at Yale, where he developed a prototype exploiting lasers, lenses and mirrors to render images that are truly three-dimensional.
Unlike conventional VR systems, Favalora’s fictions occupy a volume of space: They can be walked around and viewed at almost any angle. He refined his concept as a graduate student at Harvard, then co-founded Actuality Systems and went on to win the 1997 MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition. The company is working on larger versions of its 3-D display, with the goal of producing a display that can be connected to a computer for applications ranging from pharmaceutical research to computer-assisted design. "I think great entrepreneurs must have three values: integrity, intelligence, and initiative," says Rob Ryan, founder of Ascend Communications and a mentor to Favalora. "Gregg possesses all three"