Highest Resolution Hybrid Reality Environment in the World unveiled!

Destiny Andrew

Nov 27, 2016

The Destiny-class Cyber-enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment (CyberCANOE) is the highest resolution hybrid reality system in the world thanks to the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications, and the Academy for Creative Media System– which co-funded it with the National Science Foundation (awards 1530873 and 1456638).

“Destiny” provides a cylindrical viewing environment similar to the CAVE2 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which previously held the record in 2012. “However Destiny provides 3.5X the resolution of the CAVE2 with 256 million pixels of resolution in 2D and 128 million pixels in stereoscopic 3D.” says Jason Leigh- creator of Destiny who was also the inventor of the CAVE2 system while he was in Chicago.

A Hybrid Reality environment is a combination of a virtual reality environment and an ultra high resolution display room intended for group collaboration. Destiny is driven by 8 computers each with GeForce 1080 graphics cards connected to 32 OLED 4K stereoscopic displays. An optical tracking system and a surround sound system provides 6-degree of freedom motion tracking and spatialized sound.

“It’s a perfect example of the great things that can be accomplished in Hawai’i when students from different disciplines collaborate and have enough resources to do so.”- says Chris Lee, director of the Academy for Creative Media System.

Destiny took a year to build and was designed and constructed by 10 University of Hawai’i undergraduate and graduate students in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Creative Media. To prototype Destiny, the students used Microsoft HoloLens to virtually position the system within the space it would ultimately be placed in order to evaluate proper fit before construction began. During construction the HoloLens was used to train some of the students in constructing the physical structures that held the 32 displays together.

Destiny will be used by faculty, researchers and students to visualize data that is too large and complex to be viewed on traditional computer screens while providing a resolution that matches human visual acuity. It will also be used by Academy of Creative Media students to experiment with as a new form of digital media.

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Director of Grease delivers lecture on 360 film making

October 5, 2016

Known for directing films such as Grease, The Blue Lagoon, Flight of the Navigator, and Honey I Blew Up the Kids, Randal Kleiser visits the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications to deliver an Academy for Creative Media Master Series lecture on 360 film production. The lecture was delivered as part of Professor Jason Leigh’s Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality class.

Kleiser spoke of his experiences in directing the 360 short film: Defrost, based on a script he had written before producing Grease in 1987. In addition the students treated him to demonstrations of their latest VR and AR creations.

Defrost is a sci-fi screen play about cryogenic life extension where a woman gets woken up from decades of sub-zero temperature suspension, to find herself confronted with a much older family, and a nagging suspicion that some things just don’t feel right.

In the film, the viewer plays as the protagonist and experiences it using a virtual reality headset such as the HTC Vive or Oculus.

Randal Kleiser

LAVA demonstrates satellite visualization at AMOS 16

The 17th Annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference was held on Sept. 20-23, 2016 at the Wailea Marriott Resort and Spa with a record-breaking attendance of over 680 participants.

Representing the  Laboratory for Advanced Visualization & Applications, two undergraduate students Ryan Theriot, who is studying Computer Science, and Andrew Guagliardo who is studying Animation with the Academy for Creative Media exhibited a program developed by Theriot called SatWatch at the conference.

SatWatch is a virtual reality exploration of satellite orbits around Earth. By pulling publicly available TLE (Two-Line element) data from the Celestrak website, SatWatch is able to create a predictive model of orbits for a wide variety of satellites. The TLE dataset is converted using the OrbitTools library. The entire program is built in the Unity game engine, a popular tool for developing interactive applications. For hardware, SatWatch utilizes the HTC Vive, which allows a user to interact with the virtual, 3d environment using motion tracking. This combination creates a natural way for users to explore the data in an immersive experience. SatWatch is an example of a complex dataset represented in an intuitive way, allowing users to easily understand satellite orbits in an interactive visualization environment.

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Robertson Highlighted in APS Observer

ICS Professor Scott Robertson has been highlighted in an article about unconventional careers for behavioral scientists. The article — Here, There, Everywhere —  appears in the September issue of the APS Observer. The Association for Psychological Science (APS) is a professional organization founded  “to promote, protect, and advance the interests of scientifically oriented psychology in research, application, teaching, and the improvement of human welfare.” Professor Robertson is a Fellow of the Society.

 

President Obama Tweets about Mars Simulation

President Obama posted a tweet congratulating the Mars simulation team and suggesting they get a shave ice. The fourth HI-SEAS mission has just been completed after a one-year stay in a habitat on the Big Island. ICS Professor Kim Binsted is the project’s principal investigator.

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HI-SEAS IV Mars Simulation Mission Completed

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“We’re proud to be helping NASA reduce or remove the barriers to long-duration space exploration.” ICS Professor Kim Binsted, HI-SEAS Principal Investigator (Photo: UH-News)

Six crew members exited from the Mars simulation habitat on the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island after a one year mission.

The Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project is an international collaborative research program run by he University of Hawaiʻi. ICS Professor Kim Binsted is the project’s Principal Investigator.  Studies such as this help NASA understand more about long-duration missions and will inform their astronaut selection process and support strategy.

“It’s really exciting to be able to welcome the crew back to Earth and back to Hawaiʻi after a year on Mars,” Binsted said.

The HI-SEAS project is currently recruiting for the next mission!

Related postGlobal media document historic University of Hawaiʻi Mars simulation

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HI-SEAS Mission IV crew (front row), researchers and support team. (Photo: UH-News)

 

 

 

CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Awards

UHM has received funding from the National Science Foundation for three CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS) awards. These awards will help us promote cyber security education at UHM and prepare students for the workforce in this area.

The NSF CyberCorps SFS awards provide full scholarships for two graduate students and one undergraduate student to study cyber security. Initially the awards are for one year, but subsequent years are anticipated.

After graduation, students receiving this award are required to perform one year of service in a cybersecurity related U.S. government position for each scholarship year received. Also, a student on scholarship is expected to serve in a paid internship in a government cybersecurity related position during the first summer semester. A student is required to participate in a government “job fair” in early January in Washington D.C.

To be eligible for an SFS scholarship, the applicant must be a full time student with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA as an undergraduate or 3.3 GPA as a graduate student, and be in a bachelor’s (junior or above) or graduate degree program in the disciplines of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or a related major. The applicant must be a U.S. Citizen, be able to obtain a U.S. security clearance, and meet all requirements for employment in Federal Service.

  • The application deadline is August 15, 2016.
  • An application seminar will be held at 4pm on August 8th in Holmes Hall.
  • Further information, updates, and application details are at the UH SFS Home Page (login required).

Gerald Lau is Advisor of the Year!

Gerald Lau was recently awarded the Pakela Award for Outstanding Advisor at the University of Hawaii Manoa. From the award page: “Gerald Lau serves as a stellar model for integrating academic advising into the University’s educational mission. He is a Faculty Specialist for the rapidly growing Department of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS). He provides major academic and career counseling for over 400 students, participates in curriculum and department policy meetings that help integrate instruction with advising, and plans and develops the department’s outreach and student engagement programs. He serves as a Faculty Ambassador – recruiting students into the ICS program and into STEM fields, and serves as the department’s liaison to the Graduate Division. He is also deeply involved in a variety of cyber security activities to engage students, including being the advisor to the Grey Hats club, whose members analyze cyber defenses.”

All of us who work with Gerald know that this is a well deserved honor!

Data Visualization class taught between Hilo and Manoa via CyberCANOE

In the Spring 2016 semester, a new system –CyberCANOE– was installed at Imiloa Astronomy Center, the first of its kind in the Big Island. A brainchild of University of Hawai’i-Mānoa Faculty in Computer Science, Jason Leigh, the acronym CyberCANOE stands for Cyber Enabled Collaboration Analysis Navigation and Observation Environment, a display technology that enables users from science to education to the arts, local or distributed, to work together using cool software tools. The CyberCANOE at Imiloa is co-funded by Chris Lee from the Academy for Creative Media System and the National Science Foundation. Imiloa is using this opportunity to teach a class on data visualization between faculty from University of Hawai’i-Mānoa and University of Hawai’i-Hilo, John Burns and Misaki Takabayashi from Marine Science, Jie Cheng and Jason Leigh from Computer Science, and Jon Goebel and Julieta Aguilera from Art and Creative Media.

According to Leigh, this class is changing things around in a way that takes advantage of how Arts are traditionally taught, encouraging students to put their projects out for open criticism to work and problem solve. Cheng adds that Computer Science students have a great opportunity to work on real world data (with Marine Science students) and with Art students that can enable all to discover patterns and tell interesting stories, bridging the gap between scientific research and the public. For Goebel, class projects allow each discipline to contribute their expertise in solving a visualization problem. Being able to see things one does not normally see, is one of the things that Imiloa really does effectively, visuaizing outer space inside the planetarium dome. Scientists are dealing with information, and sometimes they need creative means, and that is where the artists come in. “That’s what we do, we think visually.”

Leigh notes that most problems we have to solve in the world today are not just about the one diagram that gives you the Nobel Prize but a number of different factors, different pictures that have to come together like a jigsaw puzzle. You can think of the CyberCANOE as this giant canvas where you put up pieces of information, and by moving them around next to each other you form the secret hidden inside the data. The CyberCANOEs being built in Hawai’i all have varying capabilities, some of them have stereoscopic 3D or tracking. The sky is the limit as to what you can put in these devices… scans of historical sites become historical preservation, so that centuries from now we can still visit those places even though they might be long gone. And if you are wheelchair bound, you can still go there with technologies like Virtual Reality (VR). Some may consider VR an isolating experience but if done right, it can actually be very rewarding. Imagine putting a 3D camera on the International Space Station, or the Moon, or on Mars. Very few of us will ever have the opportunity to go there, but with VR technology, you can. Burns and the department of Marine Science at UH-Hilo do a lot of 3D modeling and 360 video for reef sites from Hawai’i, for this exact reason, that people can get immersed in a location without having to be there, specially in restricted sites like the Papahānaumokuākea National Monument, where you can can look at data, but also at the physical environment, and bridge that connection, perhaps doing a tour, from the scale of reefs throughout the globe, all the way down to a molecular level, transcending spatial scales and giving people a huge amount of information in a concise product.

Marine Scientists may spend years working on a study that gets brought to the public through a scientific journal, reaching a small community of scientists. For Burns, outreach is a chance to connect with communities, to answer the simple questions: why does it matter if we have healthy coral reefs or not? what does it mean to people? It is an opportunity for students to continue their passion and spread the message on the importance of their work. This class is making presentations that will be exhibited at Imiloa, and if successful, students will get to see how people respond, perhaps help produce better exhibits, and something that was cultivated here between two UH campuses, can reach broader attention. To give the students the opportunity to try and address that with their projects is great, because this kind of environmental issue matters to everyone.

In the past, Aguilera points out, exhibits were developed so there were many people in between scientists and the public, who would summarize messages that people from all disciplines and ages would understand, and when you do that, a lot is lost and what is left may not be a very passionate subject. Research makes content accessible in more exploratory ways. Today it is nearly impossible to create an exhibit at a Museum that will withstand even months without something changing about it, because of new research and data. This class is adding up to that phenomena, as museums are becoming a lot more fluid, where scientists are showing their research as it happens. In the future, Cheng can see the big picture where the CyberCANOE system expands in Hawai’i including disciplines and collaboration between different campuses, introducing data that is unique to Hawai’i, that can be visualized for the world to see, starting at Imiloa.

Gazan receives IMLS Grant: Online Q&A in STEM Education: Curating the Wisdom of the Crowd

Associate Professor Rich Gazan was awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for the project “Online Q&A in STEM Education: Curating the Wisdom of the Crowd.” The project received $491,973.00 in funding.

In partnership with Chirag Shah at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, the three-year project will investigate how combining crowdsourced information with the quality assessment standards of librarians and other information professionals can enhance the experience of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

A 2013 analysis of 28 million course papers revealed that social networking and other user-generated content sites were cited in 23% of the papers written by college students. This is especially concerning for STEM learners, where the need to scaffold understanding with factual, trustworthy information is paramount. However, meaningful STEM education is not simply discovering and applying facts: it also requires an understanding of the process of inquiry and the conversations surrounding those facts, which is the essence of online Q&A. While all students must learn to assess the quality of their information sources, those who consult online Q&A sites may be engaging in processes of inquiry and discovering nontraditional yet valuable content appropriate to their learning objectives.

This project will explore how both formal and informal information literacy can be effectively integrated into STEM education. Principal Investigator Shah and the Rutgers team will develop and test an online Q&A content assessment tool, while Co-Principal Investigator Gazan’s team will be involved in formative design and evaluation, and will field test the tool in STEM learning environments in Hawaii.

More information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/lg-61-16-0025-16

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov.