Jack McCauley

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Jack McCauley
Born (1959-12-03) December 3, 1959 (age 63)
EducationBachelor of Science, University of California, Berkeley
Occupation(s)Inventor, engineer, video game developer
Known forGuitar Hero, Oculus Rift[1]

Jack McCauley is an American engineer, hardware designer, inventor, video game developer and philanthropist. As an engineer at RedOctane, he designed guitars and drums for the Guitar Hero video game series. He later worked at Oculus VR,[2][3] which was eventually acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.

Early life and education

The son of a United States Armed Forces officer, McCauley’s early life began in De Bilt, Netherlands. From an early age, McCauley loved taking things apart, building them into something new, exploring everything from basic spatial relationships to electronics. When he was 9, Tinkertoy named him a "Junior Tinkertoy Engineer".[4]

In 1980, McCauley was accepted into the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School.[5] He later attended University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering, where he specialized in electronics and circuit theory and earned a BSc. in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) in 1986. McCauley credits U.C. Berkeley with moving him into his career as an engineer.[1]


McCauley began his professional career at the U.S. Department of Defense.[5] Upon graduating from Berkeley, he worked at various technology and gaming companies including RedOctane and Microsoft. He helped develop USB drivers, kernel mode drivers, arcade machines and video game related peripherals.[1][2][3]

McCauley designed many of the guitar and drum peripherals for the Guitar Hero video game series.[3]

Guitar Hero

In 2005 McCauley joined RedOctane, where he served as an engineer on the Guitar Hero team. He stayed on after RedOctane became a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision, eventually departing in 2009.[6]

McCauley created the hardware for early Guitar Hero guitars by reverse-engineering the guitars used in the Konami game Guitar Freaks.[7][8] He also designed hardware peripherals for Silent Scope and EA Sports Active 2.[9]

Oculus VR

McCauley joined Oculus VR as vice president of engineering in August of 2012, shortly after the company raised millions of dollars on Kickstarter for their first development kit.[10][11][12] He served as VP Engineering at Oculus until March of 2014 when the company was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.[13] He left Oculus immediately after the acquisition was completed.[14][15] He claims to have donated all the money he received from the Facebook buyout to charity.[16]

While at Oculus, he designed test equipment and managed China-based manufacturing of the Oculus DK1 and DK2, the company's development hardware that was shipped to game developers years before the 2016 release of their consumer product, the Oculus Rift.[17]

Lucid VR

In 2017, McCauley joined Lucid VR as Chief Engineer to lead worldwide manufacturing of their flagship virtual and augmented reality camera, the VR180 LucidCam.[18][19]

Inventions, credits, and accomplishments

McCauley worked on creating audio effects; computer peripherals; game controllers; light gun technology; composite HID USB device for gaming; and guitar and drum controllers for the Guitar Hero franchise.[1][2]

Video Game Role Developer
Guitar Hero II Director of R&D RedOctane
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Director of R&D RedOctane
Guitar Hero World Tour Director of R&D RedOctane
Oculus DK1 Development Kit VP Engineering Oculus VR
Oculus DK2 Development Kit VP Engineering Oculus VR


In 2015 he, Paul Jacobs and others funded the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation at the UC Berkeley College of Engineering;[20] as of October 2015, he is an Innovator in Residence there.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Maker Hero: Alumnus Jack McCauley on Guitar Hero, Oculus and the Future of Making," Berkeley Innovators, retrieved March 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Cacho, Gieson (October 16, 2008). "'Guitar' hero: Danville resident was instrumental in designing controller". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "More Guitar Hero World tidbits," by Gieson Cacho, A+E Interactive, October 16, 2008; retrieved March 22, 2015.
  4. ^ Tekla Perry (November 7, 2015). "Oculus Co-founder Jack McCauley's Next Challenge: The Perfect Head-Tracker for VR". IEEE Spectrum.
  5. ^ a b "Jack McCauley". LinkedIn. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  6. ^ "Jack McCauley". MobyGames. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  7. ^ "Berkeley Innovators". Berkeley Innovators. Retrieved 2023-05-08.
  8. ^ "Modern-day Edison creates design innovation fund". Berkeley Engineering. Retrieved 2023-05-08.
  9. ^ "'Guitar' hero: Danville resident was instrumental in designing controller". East Bay Times. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
  10. ^ Chris Raymond, "Meet the Genius Behind Oculus Rift", Success.com, May 23, 2014; retrieved March 22, 2015.
  11. ^ MCV Editors (2012-08-14). "Oculus hires Scaleform founder as CEO". MCV. ISSN 1469-4832. Retrieved 2023-05-08. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  12. ^ Brightman, James (2012-08-14). "Oculus hires Gaikai chief product officer as its new CEO". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2023-05-08.
  13. ^ Josh Constine (2014). "Facebook's $2 Billion Acquisition Of Oculus Closes, Now Official".
  14. ^ Bailey, Kat (2016-04-12). ""I Consider Myself Crucial to the Success of that Company": Jack McCauley Recalls the Early Days of Oculus and Looks to the Future". VG247. Retrieved 2023-05-08.
  15. ^ The power of "Human" | Jack McCauley, 2023-05-04, retrieved 2023-05-08
  16. ^ Johnson, R. Colin (November 9, 2015). "Oculus Originator Gives Away MEMS Version". EE Times.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Ben Lang (March 8, 2016). "Exclusive: Former Oculus VP of Engineering Demonstrates Long Range VR Tracking System". Roadtovr.com. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  18. ^ MCV Editors (2017-08-02). "Former Oculus co-founder Jack McCauley joins LucidVR". MCV. ISSN 1469-4832. Retrieved 2023-05-08. {{cite news}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  19. ^ "Oculus Co-Founder Jack McCauley Joins Lucid VR". UploadVR. 2017-08-02. Retrieved 2023-05-08.
  20. ^ Kirsten Mickelwait, "Designer of scrolling mouse and Oculus Rift funds design innovation", Berkeley Engineer Magazine, June 16, 2015; retrieved June 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "Oculus VR co-founder Jack McCauley on VR, AR and his creative new project". Silicon Valley Business Journal. October 8, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2016.