UW Profs, Tech Execs Talk Next-Generation Graphics, Imaging, and Interfaces for Games

Four professors from the University of Washington’s department of computer science and engineering recently presented their cutting-edge research to a private audience of tech executives and investors active in the game industry in downtown Seattle. The Interactive Media Technology Showcase was hosted on Wednesday by UW TechTransfer and enterpriseSeattle, and coincided with the Casual Connect gaming conference nearby. The moderator was gaming veteran Alex St. John, the founder of WildTangent and now entrepreneur-in-residence at UW TechTransfer.

As I understand it, the goal was to forge deeper ties between researchers and the gaming industry—presumably to explore the commercial applications of the professors’ work in areas like 3-D graphics, video processing, scene and motion generation, and human-computer interfaces. According to UW TechTransfer, the discussions led to at least one take-home message: that “control, simulation, and image manipulation technologies are at the point of radically changing the game development model.” Specifically, computers can now generate realistic-looking scenes, characters, and movements—potentially making it cheaper, faster, and easier to produce game-quality action and visuals, and “creating new possibilities for human control of game play.”

Just a brief recap of the talks here (you can also see videos here):

Robotic arm and hand—Yoky Matsuoka, a neuro-robotics expert, gave an overview of her work on robotic hands and limbs, and control of virtual environments. She talked about how “neurobotic input devices” could let you grasp and manipulate virtual 3-D objects. Matsuoka’s work on measuring how challenging or stimulating it is to learn a repetitive action (like a hand motion) could potentially have impact on game design, in terms of being able to measure people’s enjoyment of a particular game or their ability to adopt new devices like the Nintendo Wii.

—Zoran Popovic, a specialist in computer simulations and animation, talked about artificial intelligence techniques for making next-gen Massively Multiplayer Online … Next Page »

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