Lachman - Bio

Dr. Richard Lachman is Director of Zone Learning for Ryerson University, a network of 10 incubators across the university.  He also serves as Director of Research Development for the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD), Director of the Experiential Media Institute, and Associate Professor, Digital Media in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University.  He is a Technology and Creative Consultant for entertainment and software-development projects.  A Gemini award-winning producer, Richard has worked on many highly successful Canadian and US interactive and convergent-media projects over the last 15 years.

Richard completed his doctorate at UNE in Australia studying software recommendation-engines, is a computer-science graduate of MIT, and holds a masters degree from the MIT Media Lab’s “Interactive Cinema” group.  While at the Media Lab, he worked on networked collaborative entertainment environments and ambient/character-based interfaces, and has published and presented his work in Canada, Japan, Australia, Europe, and across the US.  In 1994 he worked on “Lurker”, one of the first multi-user narrative experiences to use email, digital video and the fledgling World Wide Web, which made the cover of American Cinematographer magazine. 

Following his time at MIT, Richard developed highly-interactive and emotionally-evocative Artificial Life characters with San Francisco-based company PF Magic.  After an acquisition by Mattel, Richard served as Lead Designer and Lead Engineer for the Petz line (“Dogz” and “Catz”), with over 3 million units shipped worldwide.  The Petz series of CD-ROM software received awards from ID Magazine, Communications Arts, and Invision Children’s Entertainment, and has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and Time Magazine.  It was also part of an exhibition at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York.

Richard returned to his home in Canada to work as a consultant on interactive entertainment projects, ranging from interactive television to hardware entertainment-devices to video games.  He was Producer, Interactive for Race to Mars with Discovery Channel Canada, Galafilm and QuickPlay Media, and won the 2008 Gemini for “Best Cross-Platform project”.  Race to Mars was a major initiative featuring 10 hours of television, plus gaming, online community-activities, ITV, mobile content, an educational ARG, books, and a curriculum-based in-school program rolling out to school boards in Canada.   One of the games he designed, Rover XPL, is currently used by the Canadian Space Agency as a training and cognitive assessment tool.  Richard is also co-producer of Diamond Road Online, an experimental enhancement to the documentary process; DRO allows users to experience, combine, and rework documentary content to produce their own version of stories about the international diamond trade. Diamond Road Online won the 2008 Canadian New Media Awards for News/Information. 

Other notable projects include: Tech lead and part of the creative team on the Gemini-award winning “Degrassi.tv” project with Snap Media, Epitome Pictures and CTV; academice partner for the TIFF Nexus series at the TIFF.Bell Lightbox; Technical Director for the “Be The Creature” ITV project with Decode Entertainment and Videotron Quebec; Technical Director for the Interactive Genie Awards ITV/Web project with Xenophile Media; Technical Director for “Code Zebra” with Sara Diamond at the Banff Centre for the Arts; and Chief Technology Officer with SnapCaster Networks. 

He has served on multiple Digital Media juries (including the Canada Media Fund, Telus Innovation Fund), as the lead mentor for the DocShift Incubator, and has been a frequent commentator on television, radio, and at conferences around the world.  He currently conducts research in the EdgeLab facility (exploring experiential design and gaming environments) and the Experiential Media Institute (formerly the Transmedia Research Centre, exploring the future of content through industry partnerships and cutting-edge research).  He is past director of  the Transmedia Zone, a cutting-edge ideation-lab and incubator/accelerator for media projects.  His areas of interest include transmedia storytelling, digital documentaries, augmented/locative-media experiences, physical computing, and gaming.