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New Program Will Provide Virtual Recreations of Events

August 21, 2008

Computer Science & Engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington will recreate virtual scenes of events from the immediate past, thanks to a program they are developing that gathers information from various sensors and devices and combines them to create a virtual observation. The research will lead to new insights in the areas of manufacturing, education, defense, entertainment and the security of public places.

Professor Mohan Kumar and Assistant Professor Yonghe Liu have secured a three-year, $336,817 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering for this collaborative project with the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia. In this project, titled “Collaborative Virtual Observation in Dynamic Environments,” the researchers plan to develop a framework for a collaborative, anytime/anywhere virtual observation of events occurring in changing environments.

They will enhance recently-developed virtual observation concepts by adapting seamless software service composition mechanisms developed for pervasive systems. Pervasive computing involves automatic, real-time communications and collaborations among devices such as cameras, sensors, mainframe and personal computers, PDAs and cell phones. The observations made by these at different points in time and space will be stitched together to create virtual scenes.

For example, investigators might use such a program to recreate the suspicious origins of a fire by gathering information from security and cell phone cameras, GPS-tracking information from nearby vehicles and cell phones, and temperature, motion and vapor sensors in the building to piece together a chain of events.

Public buses in Perth are currently equipped with video and other monitoring systems and will be used as one source for this research. This international collaboration will enable UT Arlington graduate students to interact with students and researchers in Australia to broaden each others’ knowledge and skills.