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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 27, 2004

UI Virtual Soldier Program 'Goes Hollywood'

The University of Iowa College of Engineering's Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) program today announced a strategic collaboration with VICON, a leading developer of 3D motion capture systems used in medicine, sport, engineering, game development and the film industry.

The agreement means that the VSR program, which creates simulated humans for computer-simulated tests of various technologies, will be able to offer more realistic human models to its clients. An independent research group within the UI Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), the eight-month-old VSR program is funded primarily by a $2.5 million contract with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command Center (TACOM).

Karim Abdel-Malek, associate professor of biomedical engineering and VSR director, said that the addition of the VICON system will help TACOM and the industrial design industry move toward the goal of eliminating the need to construct extremely expensive, real-world prototypes.

"The use of VICON's motion capture system will allow us to drive, in real time, the motion of Santos, our intelligent virtual human. VICON's accurate cameras and advanced software will enable us to resolve long-standing issues in the field of digital human modeling and simulation," Abdel-Malek said.

The collaboration also calls for the VSR program to serve as a beta testing site for VICON's most recent research in cameras, optical technology and tracking suits.

Jon Damush, VICON business development manager, said: "We are very excited to participate in this project. VSR represents a leading-edge use of animation, game and motion capture technology applied into the world of human factors engineering. By using animation techniques traditionally applied in entertainment, VSR is producing results that are not only quantitative -- the data that is usually generated in engineering applications -- but also qualitative in the form of high-quality rendered output to truly visualize the way that real soldiers might react on the field."

In less than one year, the UI's VSR program has become very highly regarded, having recently exhibited in Los Angeles at SIGGRAPH 2004, the most significant computer graphics conference of its kind. Also, The UI VSR team is scheduled to host the 2005 SAE Digital Human Modeling Conference, the most prestigious international conference of its kind, June 14-16, 2005, in Iowa City. VSR researchers include faculty, staff, scientists, engineers, clinical researchers and graduate students from fields including engineering, gaming, psychology, biomechanics, human factors, computers, optimization and industrial design. Additional information can be found at: http://www.engineering.uiowa.edu/~amalek/VSR/main.htm.

VICON Motion Systems is a subsidiary of OMG plc, with global headquarters in Oxford, U.K., and U.S. headquarters in Lake Forest, Calif. OMG subsidiary 2d3 Ltd. produces innovative visual geometry software deriving 3D data from moving images. Since 1984, VICON has been providing professionals with the latest tools to accurately capture the subtleties of three-dimensional human motion for research, medicine, sport, engineering, game development, broadcast and film. Further information about VICON can be found at: www.vicon.com.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu.