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  University of Central Florida Fall 2005

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement signed

RDECOM Simulation & Training Technology Center Executive Director Russel Lenz (l.) L3 Communications Corp. Link Simulation & Training Division VP of Engineering Frank Delisle, and UCF Associate VP, Office of Research and Commercialization Thomas O'Neal put pens to the recent cooperative agreement among the three.

A CRADA among three simulation & training agencies in Orlando's Central Florida Research Park promises to help move the technology forward through teamwork among defense, industry and academia. 

L-3 Communications' Link Simulation and Training division, the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command’s Simulation and Training Technology Center (RDECOM – STTC) and UCF's Office of Research and Commercialization signed it.

The agreement creates the "Government-Industry-Academia Simulation Laboratory"—GIA Sim Lab for short—through which  IST will develop live, virtual and constructive simulation capabilities and a test bed environment to advance modeling, simulation and training.

UCF keynotes at IEEE Vienna conference

Scientists, philosophers and patrons of the arts look down from the massive ceiling fresco created by the Italian painter Gregorio Guglielmi to ISMAR conference attendees.Christopher Stapleton, School of Film Digital Media faculty member and director of the IST/Digital Media Media Convergence Lab gave a keynote presentation at the recent IEEE International Symposium for Mixed and Augmented Reality at the Vienna Academy of Sciences in Austria (photo at left).

Stapleton talked about the future of mixed and augmented reality and the importance of transdisciplinary research. He illustrated his talk with samples of the Media Convergence Lab's diverse work in entertainment, education, training and cognitive rehabilitation.

Unlike virtual reality, which substitutes computer-generated content for the real thing, mixed reality simulation technology allows participants to experience a blend of real-time, real-word sensations and computer-generated content. MCL has researched this technology with the help of UCF's Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Business Administration, Education and Health and Public Affairs and the Institute for Simulation & Training.

The lab has developed relationships with research labs in the European Union and the Far East, notably Canon, Inc. (Japan), Samsung (Korea) and HIT Lab (New Zealand).

IST's I/ITSEC exhibit focuses on Human-machine interface research

Technology demonstrations such as the display on intuitive control of unmanned aerial vehicles (right) were the theme for IST's presence in in the Florida High Tech Corridor exhibit at I/ITSEC this December. IST's demonstrations provided a glance at several ongoing projects at the institute that researchers hope will lead to more efficient ways for humans to interact with today's high tech hardware.

I/ITSEC is the Interservice/-Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference held annually in Orlando. The event this year, according to conference organizers' preliminary figures, drew more than 4,000 conference delegates, 500+ exhibitors in more than 400 booths and more than 16,000 total badged visitors to the exhibits.

IST's exhibit presence is the result of a partnership among the university, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and Daytona Beach Community College.

ISTs current research on efficient agent control (a robot vehicle is considered an "agent")  grew out of a need for simulation training for operators of increasingly complex systems. Adopters of these systems  concerned about the validity of simulation training products can turn to the institute's advanced training technology unit for specifically tailored validation solutions.

mLearning lays foundation for learning

In his new book, mLearning: Mobile Learning and Performance in the Palm of Your Hand, IST’s David S. Metcalf II lays a foundation for learning on the go by cell phone or personal data assistant (PDA) device.

“Rather than allowing your time to be completely wasted by circumstances beyond your control,” Metcalf tells commuters and business travelers enduring the endless down-time of mass transportation travel, “[w]hat if, in the not-to-distant future, you could gain back hours of such useful time each day?”

mLearning provides a thorough overview of existing mobile technology and case studies of how mobile learning can work in sales, services and business processes and performance environments.

An emerging model for this kind of learning is provision of just-in-time information in small doses. A sales representative between planes, for example, would not dive into lengthy MBA coursework, but could gain a “time rebate” by using the down-time to brush up on details of his products. Likewise, a service agent in the field could interact with a repair manual to gain assistance with a repair. mLearning details how companies using existing mobile technologies are already providing these services for their employees.

Metcalf calls for a “fundamental shift in learning model, style, and application...” if mobile learning is to be effective in a time-constrained, on-the-go environment. He shows how learning content must change to accommodate the capabilities (screen size, wireless capabilities, processing power) of mobile devices.

“One of the most fundamental shifts in thinking,” according to Metcalf, “is a way from the idea that wireless delivery system[s] will be good for all types of learning, in all situations.” mLearning details the instructional design alternatives required for the most effective uses of the technology.

You cannot download mLearning to your cell phone or PDA—yet—but you can digest the book, either in small doses or large, to gain a thorough, up-to-date overview on the current capabilities, instructional methods and future possibilities for mobile learning.  

AT&T grant will fund graduate research

For the second year in a row AT&T Foundation has boosted the M&S Graduate program with a $25,000 grant. The gift will fund a graduate research position and is matched by another $25,000 from the US Army's RDECOM.

Live simulation increasingly is used by the U.S. Army and other military branches to simulate battlefield conditions so soldiers can experience real-world conditions before being deployed to a war zone. It is also used to evaluate new or modernized weapons systems in a near real-world setting and holds promise in other areas, such as homeland security-related training.

Photo: (l. to r.) Dir. Orlando Operations Div. AT&T Government Solutions Jim Skurka and AT&T Regional VP Rick Hubbard pass the check to IST Director Randy Shumaker (r.) as Congressman Tom Feeney looks on.

The AT&T Foundation said the grant will support graduate work in live simulation under the guidance of UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training. The research will be performed at the Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center located in the Central Florida Research Park, a UCF partnership facility that also houses the U.S. Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command simulation research activity.

AT&T Government Solutions’ Orlando operations in April 2004 won two major Army contracts involving the development of live simulation technology, which will modernize the “laser-tag” battlefield simulation that has been in use over the past decade.

The newer technology will include embedded sensors and will accommodate non-line-of-sight simulation, giving troops more realistic “force on force” simulated battles so they are better prepared for real battle. Responding to the growing need for highly skilled professionals in the field, UCF several years ago developed multidisciplinary master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in modeling and simulation.

More than 125 graduate students from the U.S. and abroad currently add to the discipline’s body of knowledge while they work toward an advanced degree.

Pilot study to investigate simulator for anesthesiologist training
A simulator to train anesthesiologists to apply local anesthetics is one of the latest virtual reality challenges for researchers at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training.

IST’s cutting edge research on medical and surgical simulation technology already has resulted in innovative tools for medical training. The Combat Trauma Surgical Simulation (CTSS) was developed to simulate combat wounds realistically and train medics in a controlled environment. This new technology was successfully developed at IST with a grant from the Department of Defense.

CTSS simulates serious combat wounds realistically on digitally enhanced mannequins—also known as “human patient simulators.” It also supports realistic wound management and surgical suturing.

Using a human patient simulator, a medic or resident can be trained realistically in a safe environment without causing harm to a real patient. A hands-on simulator for local anesthesia administration will add a new element of realism to training medics and residents in this complex procedure.

Through a grant from the university, IST research scientist, Bala Jaganathan, MD, and a team of researchers are conducting a pilot study to develop such a tool. Dr. Jaganathan’s team will also explore the possibility of building a complete simulation suite for this complex procedure that incorporates real-time physiological changes in the simulated patient. Modeling and simulation doctoral students will conduct the basic research.

Dr. Jaganathan serves as the study’s advisor and medical expert. He will explore the feasibility of developing this technology further.

When developed, this technology will directly address the need for improving healthcare training using latest technological advances, according to Dr. Peter Kincaid, graduate research professor of the modeling and simulation graduate program.

Programming team does it again!

The cream of UCF's computer programmers once again rose toward the top of a field of 6,000 teams and will travel to the International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals to compete against 79 other teams for best-on-the-planet honors. Site for the April 9-13, 2006, contest is San Antonio. IST researchers Glenn Martin and Jason Daly coach the team of students. Dr. Ali Orooji, Computer Science, is advisor.

Links to other stories

Simulation tool provides trauma training for medics in the field

More accolades for Robotics Team in aerial and underwater competitions

Peter Hancock made American Psychological Society Fellow...
receives Human Factors and Ergonomics Society award

UCF Robotics Team brings home high marks from IGCV

Researcher Glenn Martin awarded for interactive virtual reality work

Virtual Truck Driver Training


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