Jacob D. Pennock

Creative Developer and Game Designer

Interests include emerging human computer interaction techniques, close range hand tracking, computer graphics, gesture and computer vision based interaction systems, gestural gaming systems.


Studio Head

Livid Interactive, San Francisco CA

June 2014 - Present

Livid was formed as a joint venture between myself and Helios interactive partially funded by Intel. It’s goal was to produce consumer games for PC and consoles. Our first tile Head of the Order saw an arcade release in 60 locations across the US.

Our partnership with Helios ended in febuary of 2017, becuase of which our second title Shattered Might was recently canceled.

Senior Creative Developer

Helios Interactive Technologies, San Francisco CA

Jan 2013 - Feb 2017

Helios Interactive is an experience design studio located in the heart of San Francisco. It specializes in creating interactive art installations and interactive marketing experiences for major brands.

At Helios I've produced everything from large scale semi-permanent installations to short term event based attractions. I've created content for a large array of technologies including; close and long range gesture systems, large touch walls to small mobile games, facetracking and augmented reality, giant 4k video walls and crazy multi-projector setups.

Chief Game Designer / Lead Developer

Unicorn Forest Games, Oakland CA

Aug 2011 - Jan 2013

Unicorn Forest is a passionate side project game studio that I founded with my wife Melissa. Its where we work on all the independent and experimental game design ideas we have.

We also provide a wide range of freelance game development services to other development houses and have helped other game studios realize their vision. Particularly in the area of visual fx design, but also, art, animation, UI and character design, as well as general game play programming and development.


Unity Game development and design

I'm a unity expert. It has been my main professional development and content creation platform for almost 7 years now. I know many of it's subsystems and api calls like the back of my hand. I'm very active in its developer community and on its private beta developer list.

Gesture, Touch, and Motion experience

I have worked extensively with many of the newly emerging human computer interaction devices and their SDKs

In the long range gesture space I have experience with the Kinect, both the microsoft SDK and primesense openNI. I've also worked with less common sensors like the Panasonic D-IMager and custom tracking SDKs

In the close range gesture space I have worked with the DS-325 and the softkinetic iisu platform for a number of applications. I've also worked with the Creative Senz3d camera and the Intel perceptual computing platform, as well as the leap motion device and it's SDK.

In the touch space I have built a number of large scale touch apps that receive TUIO, as well as have worked on custom trackers that output TUIO. I've also worked with iOS and android mobile and their respective touch apis.

I've also worked with the Sony Move and Nintendo wii game controllers.

Research programming expertise

Using C/C++/C# for the research and development of advanced real-time computer vision applications associated with, image and video processing, object tracking, gesture recognition, and real time patten matching.

Mathematical expertise

Algorithm development, automata, formal language theory, abstract machines.

Specific skills

Primarily develop in C# and C/C++, but have also built applications in Javascript, Actionscript, Haskell, Prolog, and Java. My expertise in language theory allows me to pick up and build in new languages, of any paradigm, very quickly. I tend to prefer working with an object-oriented approach in a strongly typed language.

Strong object-oriented design and programming skills.

Strong entity component system design and programming skills.

Experience with SDL/OpenGLES game engine design for Nokia arm devices.

Strong understanding of HCI and usability issues in software experience design.

Comfortable using Photoshop and other graphic design software, with very capable UI design skills.

Awards and Publicity

Best game, Intel Perceptual Computing challenge

$75K cash prize and $150K investment


International Game Developers Association

2011 GDC scholar and 2011 E3 scholar.

First individual to receive both of these very selective awards.


Engadget, PCMAG, and Playstation Lifestyle.


Some of my gesture recognition work with the Playstation Move controller has been featured on a number of major tech blogs, including: engadget and PCMAG. Playstation LifeStyle was kind enough publish a full interview with me on the topic.

School related


Winner of the 2010 ECU Annual Research & Creative Achievement Week.
Dean’s List 2008
IHFA Scholarship 2004


BS computer science

East Carolina University

2004 - 2008

BS mathematics

East Carolina University

2004 - 2008

MS computer science (Unfinished)

East Carolina University

2010 - 2011

I completed all required coursework for this masters degree,
but left the university to pursue entrepreneurship before completing other requirements.
GPA at time of leaving 3.55


Multitouch gesturing systems &
Multitouch system development

East Carolina University, Greenville NC

2006 - 2010

Developed a new unistroke gesture recognition algorithm which has improved accuracy over many well established recognition algorithms.

Developed an extension of formal language theory which focuses on describing languages whose input come in the form of several concurrent streams of information. This allowed many well studied text pattern matching techniques to be applied to multi-touch gestural input.

Designed and built a FTIR and projector based multi-touch surface. Helped develop some of the open source libraries used in building multi-touch screens. Including touchlib and Community Core Vision.

Efficient routing protocols for
geographic mesh networks

Auburn University, Auburn AL


Developed a new geographical routing protocol that averaged roughly twice the efficiency of the leading protocol at that time, but required no additional computational or memory costs.

Feature abstraction and curve fitting
for offline handwriting recognition

East Carolina University, Greenville NC


Designed several image processing algorithms, and assisted a team of graduate students in implementing them.

Divergences in Quark and Neutron Matter
in extremely hot and dense environments

East Carolina University, Greenville NC


Assisted in studying gravitational wave models to make predictions about differences between quark and neutron stars


Myers-Briggs personality type



My favorite hobby is to engross myself in some fantasy content and then try to see if I can invent the technology it would require to make the magic the fantasy portrays into something real.

I am a self motivated learner, and have a great love for learning.

I spend my spare time contributing to the open source community, building small avr based electronic projects, keeping up with tech trends, and gaming.


English (native)
French (pretty rusty at the moment)


A Survey of Input Sensing and Processing
Techniques for Multi-Touch Systems

J.D.Pennock and M.H.N.Tabrizi
In Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Computer Design
WORLDCOMP’08 ISBN:1-60132-056-6