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Meet Vincent. Vincent Loi is a Senior Researcher at Huawei Technologies and Lead Design Architect for Mantis XR. When he’s not discovering new ways to create realistic virtual worlds, you’ll find Vincent cooking, baking or looking for his new favourite running trail.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Malaysia but I came to Kelowna in 2016 to do my Ph.D. at UBCO. However, I recently moved down to Surrey because I was nearing the end of my studies and I was recruited for a new job in the city. I worked remotely from the Okanagan for a while but they wanted everyone in the office once restrictions were lifted so I had to make the move.
Where are you working now?
I’m a Senior Researcher for Huawei Technologies. I’m also a Lead Design Architect for Mantis XR, an evolution of the startup I co-founded. We create photorealistic virtual spaces with Zoom video conferencing. We’ve built spaces like wine tasting rooms, galleries and showrooms for boats. Because I still have some ownership of the company, I couldn’t just leave it. So, to avoid a conflict of interest, I’ve stepped into an advisory position to assist with the design aspects of Mantis.
What work are you doing at Huawei?
In my department, it’s all about cloud rendering to alleviate stress from normal PC computing. Computer Graphics, CPU and ray-tracing are very computational, expensive and use a lot of processing power on normal devices. We want to leverage the unlimited power of the cloud to make advances in those graphics scaleable. The cloud has the potential to leverage tens of thousands of devices at the same time to create next-level graphics.
How did you get into this kind of work?
I was in school to be an electrical engineer—nothing to do with computer graphics. That changed after my Ph.D. advisory committee asked me to make my proposal more interesting. They wanted me to think 10 years in the future. I started to play around with the structure of colours and how to create them without using the pigment itself; that’s what got me started in computer graphics. My professor, Kenneth Chau, encouraged me to leverage my research into starting a company. That grew into banditVR and when we joined up with some developers and a design team, that business became Mantis XR. Based on the success we saw, Huawei reached out to me.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
Don’t be scared, don’t give up and keep moving forward. It’s not easy for us to have come as far as we have, so don’t stop now. If you don’t know what to do, start with small things and eventually they will become big things. My knowledge of computer graphics and rendering started from nothing and now I get to build my career on it.
How were you first introduced to the OKGNtech community?
My first introduction to the tech community was through e@UBCO. My professor Ken was very vocal encouraging students to get out of the research lab and experience the startup world. I really liked how the community could provide a lot of the support opportunities we needed. The people we met weren’t competitive or trying to keep others down. Everyone was willing to help or put me in touch with someone who could.
Who inspires you?
My parents. They were very supportive of my move to Canada. My mom wasn’t happy about her child being so far away from home but they knew that it’s what I wanted to do to achieve my full potential. The other person would be my professor and mentor, Kenneth Chau. He helped guide me through some difficult times and coached me through my career. The reason I originally chose to go to school in the Okanagan was because of him.
Is there something you want to be remembered for?
I’m a pretty low-key person, so I just want to have a positive impact on the communities I’m in. Whether it’s small or big, I want to do what I can to help people and society.
Don’t be scared, don’t give up and keep moving forward.