The Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) applies research on interactive technology in support of BC’s economic development in collaboration with private sector, government, and non-profit organizations, and also trains highly qualified personnel. MAGIC’s core competencies extend across design, entrepreneurship, industrial support, and education, and its interdisciplinary, problemcentred approach allows rapid response to new opportunities. MAGIC researchers received substantial research funding in the previous year, resulting in several projects started over the past year.
Drs.Sid Fels, Bob Pritchard (Music) and Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson (Ling) and their team received an NSERC/Canada Council for the Arts New Media Initiative grant of $670K over three years to create DIgital Ventriloquized Actors (DIVAs). DIVAs use hand gestures to synthesize audiovisual speech and song, and have been showcased in two performances of “What Does a Body Know?” at the Open Ears Festival, Waterloo, ON, and the International Symposium on Human Body Motion Analysis with Motion Capture. Four peer reviewed publications were begun in 2008/9. Drs. Sid Fels, Rafeef Abugharbieh (ECE), Robert Bridson (CS), John Lloyd (ECE), Dinesh Pai (CS), Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson (Ling), three year project on the Oral, Pharyngeal and Laryngeal Complex (OPAL) has completed its first year, resulting in a workshop on OPAL modeling (June 26-27) and five peer reviewed papers published. Dr. Brian Fisher and the visual analytics researchers are in the second year of the five- year combined UBC/SFU project for Boeing that explores the design and utilization of technologies developing visual analytics methods to support the safety, reliability and maintainability of aircraft. Boeing funding ($250K/yr) is matched with MITACS funding to place graduate and postdoctoral interns at Aeroinfo Information Systems (Boeing Canada). Three postdocs and two graduate students are currently at Aeroinfo. This team was successful in their bid for membership in the US Department of Homeland Security’s $30million/6yr USD Center of Excellence for Command, Control, and Interoperability.
Associate Director Fisher is Director for Cognitive and Perceptual Sciences for the visual analytics effort, with a $75K/yr USD budget for UBC and SFU research on cognitive and perceptual underpinnings of human decision-making and communication. A companion $300K USD DHS International Grant with U North Carolina is held by Dr. Fisher at SFU to fund the development of models of cognitive processing. A companion DHS International Grant proposal for mobile analytics is under discussion with Purdue University. Dr. Alexsandra Dulic, MAGIC artist-in-residence, produced works based on her intelligent instrument project that received a two year research funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, SSHRC (2007/2009). In the fall of 2009 she starts her new faculty position at UBCO.
Drs. Rodger Lea (MAGIC), Buck Krasic (CS), and Sid Fels’ (MAGIC) two year project studying public interaction with large screens using personal devices such as cell phones or hand held devices has completed its first year and is entering an evaluation stage. Dr. Sid Fels’ two year project to evaluate a hand-held version of Cubee, an interactive 3D multi-screen display, has competed its first year, resulting in a complete hand-held, three- dimensional display that has been shown to multiple industry and academic visitors, with user studies progressing during the second year. Drs. Keith Hamel and Bob Pritchard received a SSHRC grant for $180K to study sensor systems and music. MAGIC continues to support visiting researchers including a visiting faculty member and student from Ritsumeikan University along with additional visiting students from other universities in Europe and Asia. MAGIC hired Dr. Hua Wang to direct a project using advanced web based services for improved health care in collaboration with Dr. Kendall Ho and Ph.D. student Noreen Kamal.
MAGIC continues fostering industrial partnerships on many of its projects and looks forward to building new linkages in the coming year. New performances with DIVA will be created over the year, and as the performers become more practiced, the experiments planned with Linguistics will also proceed.