Carolina Cruz-Neira, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-4192
Jill Shannan, ICEMT, (515) 294-3093
Mitch Mihalovich, Engineering Communications, (515) 294- 4344
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917
CONFERENCE BRINGS TOGETHER LEADERS IN VIRTUAL REALITY
AMES, Iowa -- New methods and technologies for immersing people in life-like virtual reality (VR) environments will be explored at Iowa State University, May 11 and 12, at the Second International Immersive Projection Technology Workshop (IPT98). IPT98 will be held at the Scheman Building and VR demonstrations will be held at Iowa State's C2 virtual reality room during the conference.
Virtual reality researchers from around the world will meet to discuss the latest in VR rooms, VR desks and VR walls. They also will provide updates on applications ranging from scientific research to entertainment. While the topics will be technical in nature, they also will be quite visual.
"Virtual reality is very visual, so many presenters will include videos of their work," says Carolina Cruz-Neira, ISU's Litton assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State and conference chair. "This workshop brings together some of the brightest, most innovative people in virtual reality from throughout the world."
Virtual reality is a fledgling technology that allows people to explore new worlds. It does this through the use of high- speed computers coupled with high-resolution graphics. Through virtual reality, researchers can explore the interior lighting characteristics of buildings before the first brick is laid, they can determine specific docking maneuvers for space craft that have not yet flown, and they can better understand how a drug will lock onto a virus long before the drug is produced or tested. The technology also is being widely used in the entertainment industry and in education.
Virtual reality and projection-based VR systems are the focus of IPT98. The program will cover a range of topics, including screen configurations, projection algorithms, software architectures, applications and networking.
VR researchers from Germany, Japan and major practitioners in the U.S. will be making presentations on topics ranging from large-scale immersive displays in entertainment and education to the limits of human vision.
Many of today's leading VR researchers will be at the conference. For example, conference chair Cruz-Neira developed the Caveď, the first virtual reality room, when she was at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Since coming to Iowa State she has worked with engineers to develop the C2, one of the world's most advanced virtual reality rooms. Other speakers include:
"We are very fortunate to have so many of the leading VR researchers coming here to update each other on the latest technologies," Cruz-Neira said.
- Vali Lalioti, GMD German National Research Center, Sankt Augustin, Germany, will talk about "cyber stages," which are designed to allow people in different locations to share a common virtual space and in television to replace physical stage sets for show tapings.
- Linda Jacobson, a "VR evangelist" with Silicon Graphics Inc., Mountain View, Calif., is a well-known author on VR and computer technology.
- Michael Deering, Sun Microsystems, Mountain View, Calif., is the developer of the "virtual portal," a small VR room designed for an individual user.
- Ed Lantz of Spitz Inc., Chadds Ford, Pa., will talk about large-audience VR systems. Spitz recently installed the Atlantis game attraction at Caesar's Palace Hotel in Las Vegas.
- Kevin Arthur and colleagues from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will discuss the virtual office of the future and describe their "Protein Interactive Theater," a dual-screen stereo display system and workspace designed for two-person local collaboration via VR.
- Oliver Riedel, Fraunhofer Institute IAO, Stuttgart, Germany, is the director of the virtual reality competence center, which is dedicated to the industrial applications of VR.
In addition, Sun Microsystems will set up its "virtual portal," the one-person virtual reality room in the Scheman building. Demonstrations of Iowa State software and computer visualizations in C2 will be held throughout the entire IPT98 meeting, Cruz-Neira said. C2 is located in room 1117 Black Engineering on the ISU campus.
The IPT98 keynote address will be given by Jerry Duncan, a human factors engineer at the John Deere Technical Center, Moline, Ill. Duncan will talk about current research being conducted at Deere to investigate the applicability of projection technology VR in Deere product designs.
IPT98 is hosted by Iowa State's Iowa Center for Emerging Manufacturing Technology and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. Other contributing sponsors include Silicon Graphics Inc. and Engineering Animation Inc., Ames.
To register for the conference or for more information, contact the ICEMT office at (515) 294-3092, or check the web site at http://www.icemt.iastate.edu/ipt98.
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Reporters are welcome attend the presentations during IPT98. The presentations may be technical in nature but they are expected to be quite visual. If you are interested in attending IPT98 please contact Skip Derra, ISU News Service, (515) 294-4917, Mitch Mihalovich, Engineering Communications, (515) 294-4344, or Jill Shannan, ICEMT, (515) 294-3093
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