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  University of Central Florida Fall/Winter 2007

AT&T announces $50K gift for grad study

AT&T has announced its latest contribution of $50,000 to UCF to help fund continued graduate work in the simulation-technologies field. This is the fourth year in a row that AT&T has made a donation to UCF and brings the total donation to $150,000.

The company presented a $50,000 check to UCF representatives at a December 17 ceremony held at IST headquarters. As in past years IST will coordinate graduate student participation in simulation research.

Congressman Tom Feeney (at right in picture), a strong supporter of UCF and its programs, attended the ceremony “Every year, I am honored to participate in the generous donation from AT&T to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training,” said Congressman Feeney. “This grant helps support a public-private partnership that is developing advanced technology to better train our military members before they are deployed to the battlefield. AT&T’s financial support to UCF’s modeling and simulation research program provides the engineering and scientific foundation for next-generation training systems.”

The live-simulation-technologies research will take place at UCF in coordination with the Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center, located in the Central Florida Research Park. This UCF partnership facility also houses the U.S. Army's Research Development and Engineering Command simulation and training research activity, in collaboration with UCF's Institute for Simulation and Training.

More than 140 graduates with a Ph.D. or master’s degree from UCF have made significant contributions to modeling and simulation research.

For the past four years, the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation has turned to AT&T for its expertise in communications and network technologies. These technologies will enable training that better simulates actual battlefield scenarios and provides better feedback to the soldier. As a result, soldiers will be better-prepared before they are placed in harm’s way.

“Next-generation technology will help the Army provide its troops with better simulation for battlefield training,” said Don Herring, senior vice president, AT&T Government Solutions. “This is a great example of how industry, academia and government can work together to support the troops. AT&T is honored once again to commit our support to the program and is very proud of the significant achievements that this partnership has accomplished."


UCF, U.S. Army Research Lab Expands for Simulation Work


Dec. 13, 2007

By UCF Staff

A new research agreement between the University of Central Florida and the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, Simulation and Training Technology Center (RDECOM STTC) means more space for innovative modeling and simulation research.

UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training and RDECOM STTC plan to expand their existing facilities to include a cultural awareness lab, virtual world research center, medical modeling and simulation research lab and a super-computer research lab.

The November agreement updates both parties’ initial October 2005 accord that established the Simulation and Training Center in the Central Florida Research Park. The center supports innovative modeling, simulation and training research and technology to benefit U.S. troops and the simulation community.

The new laboratories will share UCF space and STTC and UCF equipment and human research resources.

"Modeling and Simulation is a major research focus at UCF, and partnerships such as this one illustrate the importance of that research for the region," said M.J. Soileau, vice president for Research and Commercialization at UCF. "The additional laboratories provided by this agreement will result not only in potentially life-saving research, but also in technology that will feed into our local economy."

The Simulation Research laboratory will establish and implement strategies for dual-use technology in modeling, simulation and training that focus on simulation architectures, learning technologies, artificial intelligence and sensor representation in simulations and behavior representation.

"This collaboration provides a unique opportunity to partner with academia for the benefit of our warfighters and the simulation community, said Lt. Col. Ray Compton, RDECOM STTC acting director.

UCF Simulation Research Aids Military Medics, Drivers (With Video)

Nov. 30, 2007
By Chad Binette
Blood loss is one of the leading causes of death on the battlefield, but war-zone medics often find it difficult to receive the training to prevent those deaths.

Story and video footage from UCF Office of News and Information.

Today they can “save” a life-sized arm developed by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training that simulates “bleeding.”
Researchers there have developed the arm in conjunction with the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and Chi Systems. On Tuesday, they demonstrated how it works during the nation’s largest exhibition of modeling, simulation and related technologies at Orange County Convention Center.

After this week’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, the Army’s RDECOM plans to demonstrate the arm to special operations medics in early December, and the technology could reach the battlefield in the next year or two, said Sandy Fowler, a science and technology manager for RDECOM who is based in the Central Florida Research Park next to UCF.

“You’re learning a life-saving skill, and you’re almost playing a game at the same time to keep you interested,” said Todd Lazarus, a researcher at IST.

UCF researchers developed the hardware for the “bleeding” arm. It can be used in conjunction with a PDA device or a laptop computer. Medics first choose a small, medium or large wound and then decide whether they want to simulate a small, medium or large-sized arm. A spot on the arm then lights up as “red,” indicating that it is bleeding. The medic must place and tighten the tourniquet properly to turn the light green, indicating that the bleeding has stopped. A clock on the arm times how long that takes.

While the arm can help medics in the field, another UCF research project stands to make getting to patients safer for rescue workers.

Research scientist Ron Tarr and driving sim subjectA driving simulator developed at IST allows ambulance drivers, truck drivers and others to practice in all types of hazardous conditions, including rain, snow and children suddenly running in front of their vehicles.

Lisa Hernandez, a lab manager at IST, demonstrated the driving simulator with a 42-inch plasma screen at the I/ITSEC conference. After a crash, the simulator tells the driver what violations occurred and whether it might have been severe enough to cause a fatality.

The simulation, and the detailed feedback that it provides users, allows people to learn important skills that should make them handle dangerous scenarios better if they ever encounter them.

“Our measure of success is the human performance changes, not how well the technology changes,” said Ron Tarr, a researcher at IST.

UCF’s presence at the I/ITSEC conference extended beyond the exhibit halls.

Eduardo Salas, a trustee chair and professor of Psychology who also is an IST researcher, participated in a discussion on how advances in medical simulation have benefited the military. Salas discussed the importance of using science to develop an effective team training system that includes observation and feedback.

During another panel discussion, Professor Jan Cannon-Bowers of UCF's School of Film and Digital Media spoke about how innovations in simulation can help military personnel and their families, including children, better understand military medicine, including diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.



Cell Phones, Athletes Help Students Learn About Science and Math (With Video)
By Chad Binette, UCF News and Information
Most kids love watching sports and using their cell phones. Now they can do both while learning about science, math and nutrition in a new program developed by the University of Central Florida and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Sprint Nextel and Växjö University (Sweden) also sponsor the project.

About 60 seventh-graders at Glenridge and Lockhart middle schools in Orange County have been answering questions sent via text messages as part of the My Sports Pulse program. They receive and respond to some of the problems during their math classes and others at home.

The questions connect sports-themed scenarios, such as scoring a soccer goal or throwing a curveball, to principles of math, science, fitness and nutrition. In addition to text messages, voice mails and video clips with questions also are sent to participants. Professional athletes posed some of those scenarios.

My Sports Pulse, which will complete its pilot phase this month, is designed to promote student achievement and interests in math and science using mobile devices and sports-themed scenarios. The goal is to expand the program for use in conjunction with Olympic competitions and other major sporting events across the globe.

Schools  in Kansas City, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Uganda are among the other participants in the pilot program. With 39 percent of youths owning cell phones, the trend around the world is to use mobile devices for gaming programs specifically focused on learning. Research also indicates that 95 percent of young people use gaming technology for entertainment and often learn from this technology.

“If you look at the numbers, there are hundreds of millions of computers across the globe, but there are over 3 billion cell phones right now,” said David Metcalf, the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training researcher who designed the program. “We can reach a significantly larger number of students through the mobile technology.”

The Kauffman Foundation also sees cell phones as the newest frontier for learning. According to Kauffman’s vice president for education, Dennis Cheek, cell phones’ popularity with young people and the devices’ ever-increasing capability to handle multi-media make them ideal as learning tools.

The Kauffman Foundation provided a grant to IST as part of the foundation’s 10-year commitment to math and science education. My Sports Pulse is one of a series of programs that the Kauffman Foundation is developing to help optimize learning in the digital age.
Sprint Nextel provided cell phones and wireless services to the My Sports Pulse participants. High-scoring students in Orange County have received prizes such as Orlando Magic tickets provided by the Orlando Hoops organization.

IST provides a wide range of research and information services for modeling, simulation and training communities. IST developed the game and is running the program. Växjö University in Sweden and Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates are working with IST.

How the My Sports Pulse Program Works
Students receive the questions by pre-recorded audio and text messages. Major League Baseball and National Football League players have been invited to record opening and closing video segments and audio clips to introduce students to the sports concept used in each question.

“My Sports Pulse sends sports scenarios over mobile phones to help kids with math and science,” said Metcalf. “With the Olympics around the corner, sports will be a unifying element across the world. We want to tap into this excitement.”

The interaction begins when a student receives a question via the phone. If a student is unable to answer the phone, experiences a dropped call or needs a few minutes to research a solution, the student has the option to call back into the system. If students have trouble solving a problem, they can go to www.MySportsPulse.com to get helpful links to appropriate Internet resources.

Points are awarded to students in five categories: Science of Sport, Engineering of Equipment, Nutrition, Fitness and Will to Succeed. The first four categories have associated scenarios and questions. Students have several opportunities to answer each question. Their points received are based upon how many attempts are required to answer successfully. They also receive points in the Will to Succeed category for every question they try to answer.
“Students can earn partial points even when they answer incorrectly,” said Metcalf. “We want to encourage students to strive to improve their performances even when they have trouble answering certain questions.”

The scoring system was implemented to create competition, add motivation and reward students for doing well. As students gain points, they reach new levels of achievement. Over the course of the program, they can become an Amateur, Rookie, Professional, Champion and, at the top, an Olympian. Students earn points or rewards, such as games and ring tones, sports gear and tickets to athletic events throughout the program. IST tracks the scores online.
About the Kauffman Foundation: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information about the Kauffman Foundation is available at www.kauffman.org.

About Sprint Nextel: Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving 54 million customers at the end of the third quarter 2007; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.



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