Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virtual Reality For Virtual Eternity

Date:
April 5, 2007
Source:
Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Imagine having a discussion with Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein on the nature of the universe, where their 3-D, life-sized representations looked you in the eye, examined your body language, considered voice nuances and phraseology of your questions, then answered you in a way that is so real you would swear the images were alive.

Imagine having a discussion with Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein on the nature of the universe, where their 3-D, life-sized representations looked you in the eye, examined your body language, considered voice nuances and phraseology of your questions, then answered you in a way that is so real you would swear the images were alive.

This was an opening scene from an episode of the TV show "Star Trek" almost a decade and a half ago. A new research project between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Central Florida in Orlando may soon make such imaginary conversations a reality.

Technology from computer games, animation and artificial intelligence provide the elements to make this happen. The National Science Foundation has awarded a half-million dollar, three-year grant to UIC and UCF researchers to bring those elements together and create the methodology for making such virtual figures commonplace.

UIC will focus on the computer graphics and interaction while UCF will concentrate on artificial intelligence and natural language processing software.

"The goal is to combine artificial intelligence with the latest advanced graphics and video game-type technology to enable us to create historical archives of people beyond what can be achieved using traditional technologies such as text, audio and video footage," said Jason Leigh, associate professor of computer science and director of UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory. Leigh is UIC's lead principal investigator.

EVL will build a state-of-the-art motion-capture studio to digitalize the image and movement of real people who will go on to live a virtual eternity in virtual reality. Knowledge will be archived into databases. Voices will be analyzed to create synthesized but natural-sounding "virtual" voices. Mannerisms will be studied and used in creating the 3-D virtual forms, known technically as avatars.

Leigh said his team hopes to create virtual people who respond with a high degree of recognition to different voices and the various ways questions are phrased.

"Imagine a computer smart enough to have the avatar respond 'Do you understand what I'm saying?' in the natural way humans communicate with each other," said Leigh. "We're trying to tip towards being as naturalistic as possible."

The project's test subject will be a senior NSF program manager known for his wealth of institutional knowledge. A UIC graduate student will shadow this official for several months making video and voice recordings. His presence will be digitally reconstructed and interviews used to glean his institutional insights will be stored in the information database. It will allow NSF personnel to consult his virtual counterpart whenever they want to tap his institutional wisdom.

Leigh sees a commercial market for preserving virtual people whose critical or unique knowledge is vital to operations of corporations and other institutions.

Faster, more powerful computers in the future will likely enhance the realism of these interactive avatars. How they will be used is limited only by one's imagination.

"What's interesting to us is how this works in cycles," said Leigh. "Advanced graphics/simulation research resulted in today's gaming technology. A lot of the virtual reality techniques we now take for granted in game systems like Nintendo Wii or immersive environments like Second Life came out of labs like EVL. Now next generation gaming technology is stimulating new applications for advanced graphics/simulation research that can benefit gaming as well as other fields."

Other principal investigators on the project include UIC computer science professors Andrew Johnson, Luc Renambot and Thomas DeFanti; communication professor Steve Jones; and EVL staffers Maxine Brown and Lance Long. University of Central Florida principal investigators include Avelino Gonzalez, professor and interim head of civil and environmental engineering, and Ronald DeMara, professor of computer science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Illinois at Chicago. "Virtual Reality For Virtual Eternity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070404234746.htm>.
Illinois at Chicago. (2007, April 5). Virtual Reality For Virtual Eternity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070404234746.htm
Illinois at Chicago. "Virtual Reality For Virtual Eternity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070404234746.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) As users rush to download the latest version of Apple's iOS software, they're running into bugs plaguing battery life, WiFi connectivity, and more. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins