Visualization Road Map

Visualization Road Map

Collaborative Visualization

The Department of Visualization holds a recognized position of leadership in realm of bringing art and science together for the benefit of visual communication. In contexts as different as scientific visualization and digitally mediated performance art practitioners from the Department have demonstrated the communicative power of imagery in the service of ideas and knowledge.

Visualization presents an open door for collaboration. It is also a practice that can be extended, or exploited, across a wide range of disciplines. Philosophically, collaborative visualization requires recognition of the blend of artistic and scientific goals- rather than one in the service of the other. Specific sub-topics that the Department explores that contribute to collaborative visualization include:

  • Alternative UI - using input devices from Wii controllers to remote sensing tools to drive interactive experiences.

  • Advancing learning in STEM subjects - pursuing projects that improve the comprehension and retention of subjects that lead to scientific and technological innovation.

  • Industry alignment -maintaining a research/creative agenda that enables a healthy combination of practical and theoretical experience. This mirrors the business imperatives that drive our industry partners to foster both technology and creative innovation.

  • Design of virtual spaces - this is among the unrealized strengths of having the Department of Visualization within a College of Architecture that is focused on sustainability. Limited energy resources will force next generation workforce to maintain collaborative productivity while working from wide-ranging locations. Their work environment will be largely virtual. Designing spaces in which people come together for collective experiences is as important in the virtual world as it is in the physical world.

The National Science Foundation recently created the Human-Centered Computing Cluster (HCC) program with topics that address the ways in which computing is utilized to unite participants in creative and knowledge generating endeavors.

Evidence-Based Serious Game Design

Serious games involve the use of electronic interactive computer graphics for learning and training. The scope of use of serious games ranges from K-16 learning to life-and-death scenarios such as military, first-responder, and medical training. While the use of serious games is growing rapidly, the assessment and evaluation of serious game development methodologies to achieve a specific measure of learning outcomes is not well established. The Visualization Department is in the process of exploiting the following relationships in the service of evidence-based serious game design:

  • The College of Architecture's grounded methodology for evidence-based healthcare design;

  • On-going serious game development research collaboration with the Department of Teaching Learning and Culture;

  • University proximity to the TAMU College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Science.

  • Design of virtual spaces - this is among the unrealized strengths of having the Department of Visualization within a College of Architecture that is focused on sustainability. Limited energy resources will force next generation workforce to maintain collaborative productivity while working from wide-ranging locations. Their work environment will be largely virtual. Designing spaces in which people come together for collective experiences is as important in the virtual world as it is in the physical world.

The National Science Foundation recently created the Human-Centered Computing Cluster (HCC) program with topics that address the ways in which computing is utilized to unite participants in creative and knowledge generating endeavors.

Ubiquitous Physical Computing

Physical computing refers to the use of digital technologies applied to physical spaces, objects, and structures. The environment as well as its inhabitants and their activities are sensed and responded to in physical space rather than (or along with) a parallel virtual world. Physical computing brings computation out to the natural world where we live, work, and play rather than requiring us to enter the computer's simulated reality. Fully realized, physical computing is radically interdisciplinary.

It can be viewed as an expressive arts medium, an area for scientific basic research, an engineering endeavor, a product marketing opportunity, a stage for psychological enquiry, a frontier for humanities scholarship, a new form of mass communication, a breakthrough in architecture and design, and more. Just this month (November) the National Science Foundation announced a new program for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Areas in which the Department's interest in physical computing overlap with the College's are:

  • Smart buildings for automated lighting, HVAC, security, and other behavior driven environmental adaptation;

  • Dynamic polymorphic decorative facades and energy saving exteriors;

  • Automation and robotics for landscaping;

  • Automation and robotics for construction;

  • Self-assembling and (re-)configuring structures;

  • Next generation public information display in urban areas;

  • Sensor-based traffic control for urban planning;

  • Smart adaptive furniture and interior design.

Computer Aided Individualized Shape Design & Construction

Unlike buildings and sculptures, most consumer products -such as furniture, cloths and shoes, are designed for individual use, but are mass-produced. Mass-production reduces the cost of design and construction but necessarily limits the product's capacity to suit the needs of individual consumers. We believe that one of the grand challenges of mass market design and manufacturing is the ability to create individualized and affordable consumer products. The Department of Visualization has an established history of development of a variety of concepts and systems to make shape design and construction affordable. We also have an established record of scholarly publications in this subject. It is notable that most of these concepts were born from problems that are unique to individualized design requirements of sculpture and architecture. Our research has produced a widely used shape modelling program, called TopMod, that we are currently in the process of commercializing.

4D Photography

Captured imagery, both still and sequential, has the potential to be both highly informative and tractable. The Department of Visualization has a long history of practical expertise in this area that can provide leverage to attack 4D photography problems. Some examples of usage of 4D photography are provided below:

  • Motion Studies: This area encompasses using imagery to capture, analyze, and synthesize how people, animals, and objects move both as individuals and in groups. It is concerned with describing the physics of motion, patterns of motion, and perception of motion. Motion research is applicable to the fields of medicine, urban planning, athletics, entertainment, and psychology.

  • Dimensional Graphics This area includes stereographics, desktop virtual reality displays, and real-time holographics. Each of these areas relies on a combination of computing, video capture, and projection technology. Applications are found in medicine, entertainment, training, and experiential scenarios such as virtual environments.