X-Men Director, Bryan Singer, Visits LAVA

January 2, 2017

Opening 2017 with a bang, Director of the X-Men series of movies, Bryan Singer, visited the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications (LAVA) at the invitation of the Academy for Creative Media System founding director, Chris Lee.

During the visit, Mr. Singer had the opportunity to see LAVA’s  Innovator-class CyberCANOE- a tiled ultra-high resolution 3D visualization wall. Mr. Singer commented that “this is some of the best 3D I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot!” To which director of LAVA- Jason Leigh, commented, as he pointed at the recently completed Destiny-class CyberCANOE, “No it’s not. This is the best 3D you’ve ever seen.”

Mr. Singer spent several hours at LAVA providing feedback on student work as he was intensely interested in Virtual Reality. He was also keenly interested in Black Holes, and spent considerable time observing LAVA’s immersive Black Hole simulation- developed by MS student Noel Kawano’s and ACM undergraduate student Andrew Guagliardo.

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.



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.


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


“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


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!