Seungmoon Choi (Computer Science and Engineering)
Steady progress in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies is quickly ushering in a future that is narrowing the gap between a computer-generated world and our real life experience. While audio-visual effects have come a long way to satisfy our experience in sight and sound, there remains much work to be done to meet the same standard in the aspect of physical sensations. To stimulate all five senses while fully delivering comprehensible content, the computers involved in such processes need to tackle a number of challenges.
The Interaction Laboratory directed by professor Seungmoon Choi at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, POSTECH, studies the interactions made between computers and the people who use them to develop methods and technologies that enable computers to function more easily while being faster and more convenient to use. The scope of the Lab’s research extends beyond computers, to any and all devices that contain computers within. The Lab is equipped with a vast assortment of mechanic equipment – from robots and motion chairs to signal sensors and vibration generators. The diversity of equipment most certainly sets the Interaction Laboratory apart from its peers at the department which are usually filled only with computers.
One of its key research areas is ‘haptics’, which refers to any form of tactile interactions. One such example is the motion chairs we can find at 4D cinemas which actually vibrate and sway the audience back and forth. Researchers at the Lab explore ways to reproduce such tactile sensations to mimic real-life, true-to-feeling experiences. ‘Multi-modal haptics’ research is also underway to combine a range of physical stimuli such as vibration, force and heat to make the virtual experience even more realistic.
With the support of the Samsung Future Technology Incubation Program, the Interaction Laboratory is developing algorithms that automate the design of 4D film effects by analyzing movies and other similar content. The vibrations, wind sensations and other 4D cinema effects currently available are all designed and generated by real people, which makes it a time and labor-intensive process. Another primary project the Lab is working on is designing augmented reality exhibits to create a more hands-on approach for the exhibits on display at science museums.
Professor Choi has recently changed the name of his lab from the ‘Haptics and Virtual Reality Laboratory’ to the ‘Interaction Laboratory’. This shift in the title signifies that there is so much more than haptics to the interactions between people and computers, as such interactions also involve many other varying types of sensations. The Interaction Laboratory is fully committed to discovering ways to not only reproduce conventional audio visual sensations, but to more fully deliver an experience that truly feels real in interacting with a myriad of objects.
Head of Lab
Science Building Ⅳ 115, 104-1