IST Review Newsletter masthead

University of Central Florida                                                            Winter 02 - 03

UCF and Navy sign co-op research agreement

NAVAIR Orlando TSD and the University of Central Florida, Office of Research, have announced the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, which is expected to enhance mutual understanding of operator performance under stress.


Shown at CRADA signing ceremony are (front) TSD Commanding Officer Capt. Andy Mohler (left) and UCF Vice President for Research Dr. M.J. Soileau; (back row, left to right) Dr. Jim Szalma, IST research associate; Ron Wolff, TSD; Dr. Peter Hancock, UCF/IST principal investigator and director, MURI/OPUS laboratory; Paul Ward, IST research associate, and Director, IST Dr. Randall Shumaker.
(U.S. Navy photo by Don Smith, DFC)


The new UCF Multiple Universities Research Initiative/Operator Performance Under Stress, or MURI/OPUS, Laboratory — in close concert with IST — will host this new collaborative effort.

   The official signing ceremony took place in the MURI/OPUS Laboratory on Nov. 1, attended by TSD and UCF leaders and other CRADA principals.

   TSD Technology Transfer Manager Patricia Nimmo says the initiative is expected to develop possible applications of human factors research for homeland defense, simulation-based military training, and related technologies. “It also is great to see an added benefit of such an effort; not only is an outstanding university continuing to work cooperatively with our organization, but respected researchers and scientists are excited about the prospects,” she says.

   UCF’s new laboratory has been established for human research related to operator performance under stress, and now will be able to benefit from Navy-sponsored research in virtual environments for Small Arms Simulation Training that TSD has conducted for 15 years. Software already developed or enhanced for use in TSD’s SAST laboratory will provide a significant part of the virtual environment for research in the MURI/OPUS lab.

   Ron Wolff of TSD’s Research and Engineering is the Navy’s technical point of contact for the CRADA.
   “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Dr. Peter Hancock and the MURI/OPUS Laboratory,” Wolff says. “Dr. Hancock brings to the table a high level of enthusiasm and visionary thoughts.”

   Wolff says that the agreement presents a unique opportunity of mutual benefit for both the MURI/OPUS Laboratory and NAVAIR TSD.

   “We have a unique group of very talented engineers who stand by ready to not only provide rapid response and support to the Small Arms Simulator Testbed — SAST II — but also to support the MURI/OPUS Laboratory in developing new technologies and applications for future endeavors,” says Wolff.

   MURI/ OPUS Laboratory Director Dr. Peter Hancock, has a joint appointment to UCF’s Psychology Department and IST.

   “From a personal perspective,” Hancock says, “it is absolutely fantastic to have these formal interactions with other research scientists in companion locations.

   "We are, literally, right next door, so we hope in the future this CRADA will help us share resources, enabling our graduate and undergraduate students to participate in a unique experience, while the Navy has the ability to look at these future scientific personnel for their own programs.”

   Hancock sees the agreement as a strong “win” for everyone, and hopes it can help pioneer other similar partnerships.

   Research scientist Dan Mullally of the Institute for Simulation and Training was instrumental in generating the UCF-NAVAIR TSD agreement.

   According to Mullally, simulation in small arms marksmanship training will become increasingly more important. “As future weapons system complexity and cost continue to rise,” he says, “this partnership between the university and government lab will allow researchers to contribute to advances in this critical area of simulation."


McClellan,  Reed win Davis Productivity Award

Tammie McClellan and Robert Reed of IST's Department of Information Systems Technology
recently garnered an award in the Notable Individual Awards category of the annual Davis Productivity Awards competition sponsored by Florida Tax Watch.

 Tammie McClellan and Robert Reed

McClellan and Reed developed a web-based timesheet system that replaces error-prone manual data entry and streamlines monitoring and reporting of work hours charged against contracts and grants.

Their system enables managers to more accurately account for state and contract funding for 130 employees. The system saves the university about $70,000 each year.

Go to the Florida Tax Watch website for more information about the awards program and a list of winners.


Simulation entertainment research exhibit draws a crowd!

November 19-21 event drew crowds of all ages, eager to see what's on the
cutting edge of digital entertainment technology research at UCF

A "mixed reality"aquarium puts subjects "right in the tank" with dolphins, sharks and other marine life.

More about the exhibits

See original event fliers

More about the Media Convergence Lab


During the November 19 through 21, 2002, conference of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions—IAAPA—the Media Convergence Lab (in collaboration with UCF's Digital Media Program) hosted a hands-on demonstration of some of the latest boundary-melting simulation for entertainment. 

Media Convergence Lab demonstrations ran each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Institution for Simulation and Training.  Exhibits featured innovations from Canon Inc.’s Mixed Reality Systems Laboratory that erase boundaries between virtual reality and the physical world.

Opportunities to talk with virtual dolphins, fight off monster crabs, converse with cartoon characters, explore new frontiers in virtual forests and battle hostile forces in an urban terrain were only some of the experiences in the Media Conversion Lab’s display of simulation technology for entertainment.  

According to Christopher Stapleton, Director of Entertainment Research at the university’s simulation institute, this was an opportunity for creative designers and entertainment producers to open a window into the future to see what tools will be available to suspend the disbelief of audiences. 

The Media Convergence Laboratory was formed to advance creative research for the next generation of simulation media.  As the world center for experience-based entertainment and the modeling and simulation industry, Central Florida is fast becoming a leader in experience-based entertainment technology.  The Media Convergence Lab is helping diverse industries work together to bring simulation technology (virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality) to a mainstream audience for use in entertainment, education, training and commerce.

The November 19 through 21 event launched the Mixed Reality Innovation Testbed for entertainment, sponsored by Canon Inc.  The exhibit showcased some of the results of a $50 million, 5-year research effort by Canon Inc. and the Japanese Ministry to create technology that bridges the real and virtual worlds.

Vocal commands direct computer generated forces


This IST project allows a human user to give spoken commands to Computer Generated Forces (CGF).  Vocal commands are translated to natural language text and commands recognized using a keyword recognition technique.

The recognized commands are translated again to a format that the Dismounted Infantry Semi-Automated Forces (DISAF) system can accept.  The system demonstrates a basic capability that allowed use with a minimum of train-up required.  The project is sponsored by PEO STRI (formerly STRICOM).

Designated the Voice Federate (VF) system, the application is composed of three major parts, a Voice Recognition Federate, the Voice and Gesture recognition federate to DISAF interface and DISAF.

To direct the computer forces, the user employs a microphone and headset. Speech-to-text translation is performed by an off-the-shelf software program.

IST Researchers Don Washburn, Keith Garfield and Matthew Gerber are tackling the problem of getting computer forces to respond to more natural human speech. Currently available speech recognition programs frequently corrupt the speaker's intent, combining words and substituting "sounds-like" alternatives.

Mapping these bogus words and phrases to vocabulary acceptable to the Voice Federate system is a challenge.

Researchers have beefed up command parsing used to improve performance. Parsing software, which analyses words and word combinations and attempts to derive meaning, supports multiple command formats, relieving the human participant of the burden of memorizing exact speech patterns.

Natural Language Research is continuing at IST. The goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of allowing live participants in a simulation to converse naturally with their CGF counterparts.

Due to the complexity of this task, the scope of the conversations supported by this new research will focus on verbal exchanges typically used to carry out squad-level and fire team-level missions.






Institute for Simulation & Training, 3280 Progress Dr., Orlando, FL 32826

407-882-1300 / Suncom: 363-1300

Home  About  Location  Labs/Services  Newsletter  Medin Seminars  Link Scholarships  Calendars  Research  Links  Jobs