Facebook, Oculus executive, Mary Lou Jepsen to leave to follow pet projects

Mary Lou Jepsen is leaving Facebook, Oculus to pursue wearable MRI pet project and developing technologies that allows dolphins to collaborate with humans.


Mary Lou Jepsen is currently the director of engineering at Facebook and Oculus. She talked about her plans to leave the position in August, at an awards ceremony in California, US.  Jepsen has an impressive track record. She previously worked for Google's secretive moonshot division, which works on fast tracking technologies so experimental and cutting edge that they seem to be nearly impossible to engineer. She was also one of the co-founders of the one-laptop-per-child program. Jepsen has previously been associated with MIT and Intel.

Jepsen revealed some of her plans to Xconomy. She wants to use her expertise to bring together advances in photonics, consumer electronics and artificial intelligence and to develop a smaller, more energy-efficient, less noisy and more portable MRI machine. MRI machines are currently big, bulky, noisy structures. The objective is to miniaturise MRI technology, but not lose any functionality or resolution in the process. Jepsen wants to shrink it enough to make it a wearable. The devices will be created under the banner of a company named ClearWater.

She plans to repurpose the existing smartphone manufacturing infrastructure around the world, as the global market for smartphones is getting increasingly saturated. Jepsen was working on these concepts from before she joined Google's Moonshot division. The advancement of technologies since then have made the timing ripe for her to jump into working on a miniaturised MRI machine.

Her other plans are even more futuristic, and from the realm of science fiction. Jepsen wants to work on communicating thoughts, or telepathy. This could be used to interface with machines, but also to mentally converse with other humans, or even animals. Jepsen wants to use these technologies to understand animals and have richer interactions with them. Jepsen wants to enable human-dolphin collaboration.

Plans like these might certainly sound silly coming from anyone else, but coming from someone of Jepsen's calibre, one might expect to see her vision come to life.


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