MFA Graduate Student Spotlight: Juan Torres Brenes LaRoche
Welcome to the Department of Design’s weekly graduate student feature highlighting the work and accomplishments of our MFA students!
This week features Juan Torres Brenes LaRoche, a second year MFA candidate in the Digital Animation and Interactive Media track. His areas of expertise include 3D Asset Development, AR/VR Development, and game design. Juan’s current research project is an interdisciplinary endeavor involving Arduino controls and a virtual reality submarine navigation game.
Juan’s design philosophy focuses heavily on creating new and intuitive systems for interaction and enjoyment within immersive experiences. Juan uses the term "abandoning the controller" because he believes there are more unique and immersive ways to interact with experiences around us. His goal is to blur the line between what is real and what is virtual. By attaching buttons, switches, levers, etc., to the space around the individual and connecting them to the experience, they may seamlessly interact with the virtual world while still feeling the physical world. Juan also incorporates hand tracking and evaluates how the system inherently improves accessibility since there is no need for excessive onboarding or hand-eye coordination.
Juan loved theme parks as a child, and to this day they continue to be an inspiration for his work. He is constantly pursuing the same innovative attitude that groups like Walt Disney Imagineering have perfected over the years. Recently, Juan has accepted a 6-month Show Programming internship at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California. He will work with animatronic figures, light programming, projections, and other show elements. This internship fulfills a longstanding childhood dream to work as a theme park designer.
Juan is a proud member of the graduate cohort at Ohio State and enjoys being surrounded by likeminded designers and artists. He appreciates the opportunity to collaborate on several projects, and has joined multiple extracurricular groups at Ohio State, and even advocates for his fellow graduate students in The Council of Graduate Students.