AWE Nite SF: XR & Accessibility



AWE Nite SF has gone virtual for our July event!

This month, we are having an important discussion on XR and Accessibility.

From avatar design and hardware costs to machine learning algorithms and the teams behind them, this month's event aims to outline the actions we as the AR and VR community need to take so that this next wave of computing is truly accessible and inclusive to everyone.


1:00pm PST: AltspaceVR room opens

1:05-1:10pm PST: Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Patrick Johnson, Co-organizer, CEO & Founder, Rock Paper Reality
  • Mike Boland, Co-organizer, Chief Analyst, ARtillery Intelligence & Editor, AR Insider

1:10-1:20pm PST: Presentation on AltspaceVR's new Avatar Designs

  • Kevin Appel - Senior Technical Artist AR/VR, Microsoft

1:20-1:50pm PST: Panel Discussion - XR and Accessibility

  • April Boyd-Noronha - Global Diversity & Inclusion Advisor, XR Safety Initiative
  • Christopher Lafayette - Founder of HoloPractice & Founder of The Black Technology Mentorship Program
  • Bill Curtis-Davidson - Senior Consultant - Emerging Technology Accessibility at Wheelhouse Group & XR Access Working Group Leader
  • Kai Frazier - CEO & Founder, Kai XR

1:50-2:00pm PST: Virtual Networking


April Boyd-Noronha, serves as the Chief Engagement Strategist at The STEM Broker, LLC. and consults on equity and inclusion in the global STEM ecosystem. As a Professor, she teaches courses in Health Information Management (HIM), Cybersecurity, and Computer Information Systems (CIS). April is the parent of three future STEM technologists - a Cybersecurity Analyst, Behavior Analyst, and Drone Pilot. She’s uniquely positioned to engage educators, parents, and industry leaders with NextGen talent and provides the ultimate blueprint in her third book “The Top 5 Rules of Engagement for Parents Raising a Girl in STEM”. April actively serves her community as an advocate for girls and underrepresented youth via virtual reality hackathons, drone racing, and events promoting diversity and emerging technologies.

Bill Curtis-Davidson is a Senior Consultant – Emerging Tech Accessibility at Wheelhouse Group, supporting PEAT’s Future of Work Initiative. In this role, he works to advance accessible emerging technologies to increase the employment of underrepresented populations, including people with disabilities. Bill works to forge partnerships with the disability community and public/private sector organizations to help ensure that emerging workplace tech - #XR (X-Reality), Artificial Intelligence #AI), and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) - are designed to be inclusive and accessible to all people. Formerly, Bill served as the Sr. Manager of Accessibility at Magic Leap, where he helped plan and implement the company’s first accessibility program. He has over 20 years’ experience working in accessibility research/policy/standards development, strategic accessibility program consulting, and inclusive product design. Bill has served in roles as diverse as assistive technology researcher (at Georgia Tech), UX / accessibility consultant/executive architect (at IBM Accessibility), and strategic accessibility consultant (at Level Access). Bill serves on the External Advisory Board of the Georgia Tech Human-Computer Interaction (GT-HCI) Degree Program.

Christopher Lafayette is an Emergent Technologist in medtech, virtual & augmented reality, ai, climate and applied sciences. He is a Silicon Valley national and international speaker. Thought Leader. Culture & Inclusion Advocate.

Kai Frazier is an educator turned EdTech entrepreneur passionate about using tech to provide inclusive and accessible opportunities for underestimated communities. She is the founder & CEO of Kai XR, a Techstars backed company that creates inclusive virtual reality spaces allowing kids to explore, dream, & create. Before creating Kai XR, she worked with several museums such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, specializing in digital strategy and content creation. Kai served as an entrepreneur in residence at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Her work has been featured in Forbes, NBC, the Steve Harvey

Kevin Appel is the Senior Technical Artist at Microsoft, AR/VR. 3D Art Lead for 4 years doing pre-production for TV commercials, with a focus on character art and digital wardrobe. Tech Artist/Designer on HoloLens 1 & 2 and Windows Mixed Reality, at Microsoft since 2014. Joined Altspace VR a year ago to revamp the avatar system.

Recording Disclaimer: By entering this event, you hereby irrevocably grant AltspaceVR and Microsoft and its affiliates, agents, and licensees, the right, but not the obligation, to photograph and record your avatar, likeness, voice, and/or username and to own, license, assign, and use the same (or any portion) in the production, exhibition, and promotion of the event, AltspaceVR or other Microsoft products and services without compensation, in any media and on any platform now known or hereafter devised (including the Internet) throughout the universe in perpetuity.  You waive the right to bring action of any kind in law or equity against Microsoft.
If you wish to not be recorded, simply leave the event. (But we hope you’ll stay!)