James H Oliver

  • University Professor
  • Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Director, Virtual Reality Applications Center
  • Director, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Human Computer Interaction

Main Office

537 Bissell Road, 1620 Howe Hall
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-2649
Fax: 515-294-5530


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1986
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1981
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Union College, 1979

Interest Areas

Design and manufacturing process automation using:
  • Geometric modeling
  • Computer graphics
  • Visualization
  • Simulation
  • Optimization
  • Virtual reality
  • Human computer interaction

Brief Biography

James Oliver holds the title of University Professor at Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) and serves as the Larry and Pam Pithan Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He is Director of ISU’s Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) – an interdisciplinary research center focused on emerging interface technologies serving 40 faculty, 160 graduate and 120 undergraduate student researchers. Professor Oliver also directs ISU’s Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) that complements the VRAC’s research mission by providing PhD, MS, and Professional Certificate degrees in HCI, with more than 200 students currently enrolled. Professor Oliver’s research spans a wide array of emerging interface technologies, encompassing computer graphics, geometric modeling, virtual reality, and collaborative networks for applications in product development, complex system operation and training. Several Federal agencies, including the NSF, NASA, ONR, AFRL, US Army, as well as numerous industry partners have funded his research. Oliver is a Fellow of the ASME, holds three U.S. patents, and is the recipient of numerous professional honors and awards.

Courtesy Appointments

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Selected Publications

  • D.A. Angulo, C. Schneider, J.H. Oliver, N. Charpak and J.T Hernandez, “A Multi-facetted Visual Analytics Tool for Exploratory Analysis of Human Brain and Function Datasets,” Frontiers in Neuroinformatics, No. 23, doi: 10.3389/fninf.2016.00036, available online August 2016
  • T. Garrett, S. Debernardis, R. Radkowski and J.H. Oliver, “Poisson Mesh Reconstruction for Accurate Object Tracking with Low-Fidelity Point Clouds,” ASME Transactions, Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering, doi:10.1115/1.4034324, available online July 2016
  • G.M. Re, J.H. Oliver and M. Bordegoni, “Impact of Monitor-based Augmented Reality for On-site Industrial Manual Operations,” Cognition, Technology & Work, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 379-392, January 2016
  • R. Radkowski, J. Herrema and J.H. Oliver, “Evaluation of Augmented Reality Visual Annotations Based on Task Difficulty,” International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 337-349, May 2015
  • W.E. Marsh, J.W. Kelly, J. Dickerson and J.H. Oliver, “Fuzzy Navigation Engine: Mitigating the Cognitive Demands of Semi-Natural Locomotion,” Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, MIT Press, Vol. 23, No. 3., pp. 300-319, Summer 2014
  • R. Radkowski and J.H. Oliver, “Enhanced Natural Visual Perception for Augmented Reality Workstations by Simulation of Perspective,” IEEE Journal of Display Technology, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 333-344, May 2014
  • J.S. Casallas, J.H. Oliver, J.W. Kelly, F. Merienne and S. Garbaya, “Using Relative Head and Hand-Target Features to Predict Intention in 3D Moving-Target Selection,” Proc. IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, Minneapolis, MN, March 2014
  • R. Radkowski and J.H. Oliver, “Monocular Depth Cues for Augmented Reality Applications to Enhance Spatial Perception Tasks,” to appear, Proc. Tenth International Symposium on Tools and Methods of Competitive Engineering (TMCE 2014), ISBN 978-94-6186-177-1, Budapest, Hungary, May 2014