Designer of scrolling mouse and Oculus Rift funds design innovation

Jack McCauley (EECS ’86) says that the time he spent at Berkeley as an undergraduate helped ignite his career. The designer of Guitar Hero, Oculus Rift, and other wildly popular entertainment products went on to launch several successful companies and holds more than a dozen patents.

Now McCauley and his family have made a $2.5-million cornerstone gift to establish the McCauley Family Fund in Design Innovation, which will support programs within the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.

In recognition of the McCauley family's leadership support, the university will name the east foyer of Jacobs Hall the “Jack J. McCauley Foyer.” The foyer will house exhibit space where visitors will be able to interact with the latest projects demonstrating the Jacobs Institute's "design, build, launch" approach to undergraduate education.

McCauley’s inventions, intellectual property and patents bridge diverse technologies. He was one of the inventors of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) specification. He created the original scrolling feature for a computer mouse. As director of research for the electronic entertainment company, RedOctane, he was the chief engineer behind the Guitar Hero game series, as well as at least eight other highly successful digital games. And he co-founded Oculus VR and manufactured Oculus Rift, the head-mounted virtual-reality display.

Most recently McCauley gave the inaugural lecture of the Berkeley Innovators Lecture Series in December 2014. “I’m excited to be involved with the institute from the ground up and to see first-hand the emergence of Berkeley Engineering's approach to design thinking and learning,” he says.

Topics: Design, Alumni