Tell us a bit about yourself?
Born in San Francisco, in my early career I spent time in the field of arts as a medical illustrator and as an effects animator, but most of my employment was spent as a mechanical engineer working in the pharmaceutical industry.
What brought you to DeepMotion?
I’ve been fascinated by mechanics my entire life and in both my personal and professional capacities have designed and built a fair number of machines. I also have an interest in computer games, and years back had a desire to make my own game, just a simple 2D scrolling game. But while I was researching that, I discovered there were 3D platforms for build-it-yourself games. These platforms offered simulated physics and I quickly became obsessed with the possibilities! I was constantly challenging myself to see how close I could get machinery, which I'd built in a simulated environment, to operate as it would in real life. A few years later my job in pharma was outsourced and soon afterwards I discovered that one of the 3D platforms ‘Roblox’ had its headquarters just 5 minutes from my house! I walked in and the employees there knew who I was based on my activity on their site. I met Kevin He that day who saw a need for me there as a tester for the high-performance joints he was developing. Kevin, similar to myself, is driven by the challenge of reproducing characters as close to real life as possible. Kevin left Roblox and ultimately started DeepMotion and I was thrilled to be included as a core team member.
What excites you most when you come into work? Where do you think the industry is going? How do you want to see DeepMotion’s work impact the world?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey this company has taken since it began and the challenges and adventures of being part of it! I believe the day is coming where movie and video producers will have the luxury of producing their projects with simulated actors driven by AI who will deliver lines and portray action as realistically and effectively as real-life actors—and that DeepMotion will have a leading role in that!
What is your favorite thing to do outside of DeepMotion?
I’m often adding special effects to music videos, or you might find me in the garage experimenting with magnet motors of my own design, or in the yard soaking in a thousand gallon cedar hot tub that I recently built. Unless I’ve run off to catch the latest sci-fi flick at the cinema.
Read about Tom's experiments in 2D animation and building virtual robots for mechanical simulation!