A $1.2 million Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant from the Department of Defense Office of Naval Research and Army Research Office.
Five UCF professors were awarded grants for equipment out of more than 700 proposals sent in by academic institutions nationwide, two of them immediately relevant to the field of virtual humans: Mingjie Lin, assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, requested $201,500 for high-performance computer and robotic training equipment, and Gregory Welch, research professor in the Institute for Simulation and Training requested $281,400 for a physical-virtual human-robot interaction system;
“We are trying to break free from the monitor and bring some of it out of the screen physically in front of you,” said Welch, who is working on a “Sensorium” for a physical-virtual avatar. “Have human-shaped robots change their appearance, behavior and their shape in a way that allows them to be flexible.”
The research could yield a physical-virtual human, Welch said, that could move its arms and face and even give you a smile.