Animating UCL: VEIV EngD Centre Celebrates Over 10 Years of Research
19 June 2013
At sunset on Friday 14th June 2013, virtual and real worlds collided inside UCL’s quad as the Engineering Doctorate Centre in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation (VEIV) showcased examples of their research by projecting visualisations onto the entire façades of the Portico and Wilkins Building. A full-scale wind simulation swept across the quad before one of London’s most iconic buildings was cloaked in a psychedelic thermal performance visualisation. This was the opening of a show that included a visualisation of the digital restoration of an ancient manuscript, the projection of various energy consumption visualisation themes and the simulation of smoke.
The event was a celebration of over 10 years of research in the VEIV centre and aimed to engage the general public in some of the research that has been carried out over the past decade. Nevertheless, VEIV academics are already looking into the future.
Professor Jan Kautz, VEIV EngD Centre director explained: “The existing VEIV EngD Centre has successfully dealt with providing visualisation, renderings, and virtual environments that form part of any interaction and interactive experience. This has been accomplished through sponsorship from 65 companies over the lifetime of the centre. After asking advice and feedback from our industrial partners and our industry board, we are incorporating interaction engineering into the remit of the centre. This is natural progression as interaction and visual feedback are intrinsically linked.”
Dr Dejan Mumovic, co-director of the VEIV EngD Centre for the built environment research added: “One of our new themes ‘Interaction Technology and Society’ covers the use of interaction design and technology to encourage behavioural change to the benefit of individual person and the overall society. For example, tonight we have projected visual user interfaces for feedback on environmental building control to reduce energy consumption."
Prior to the building projections, 50 senior academics and industrial sponsors attended a private dinner and book launch in the Jeremy Bentham Room – named after the founder of UCL. The book entitled “VEIV: Celebrating the Engineering Doctorate in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation at University College London” showcases 72 projects jointly funded by industry which fall into one of 5 categories: system interactions, animated bodies, dynamic environments, enhanced vision and intelligent materials. Following the book launch, senior industry representatives and academics joined the spectators UCL’s quad for the building projection party.
Visitors not only witnessed spectacular building size visualisations, but also had the chance to interact with various installations. One live experiment monitored people’s heart-rate to see how they reacted to the changes in tempo of specially prepared building projections. Inside the Chadwick Building, the "Heard Words" installation recorded and printed visitors’ words as they were spoken – creating a spatial and sculptural record of the conversations in the room. Outside in the quad, the “Vox Populi” – a 6m wide, 2m tall light installation that spelt out “VEIV” – altered its colour and intensity as people voted by swiping their Oysters cards across 'like' and 'do not like' pads. The piece changed colour from bright yellow (like) to dark blue (do not like) depending on the crowd’s satisfaction. The installation happily shined bright yellow throughout the evening until midnight when the party was over and it shined a moody blue.
The night was a massive success, with over 1000 participants in attendance over the course of the evening. This is down to the dedicated team of researchers that made it all possible: Greig Paterson (leader), Gwyneth Bradbury (book coordinator), Sam Wilkinson (visualisations), Moritz Behrens (installation), David Di Duca (installation), Aimilia Kritikou (visualisations), Tia Kansara (press), Lia Chatzidiakou (print material), Tiphanie Bardon (book launch) and Joe Williams (logistics).
UCL EngD VEIV Centre
The Engineering Doctorate Centre in Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation (EngD VEIV) was founded in 2001 at University College London in the Department of Computer Science and The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies. Funded by EPSRC and UK industry, the EngD VEIV supports research engineers (REs) studying in areas related to the use of visualisation and imaging in engineering and design.
VEIV EngD Centre in numbers:
- 75 doctoral research engineers
- £7 million grant from EPSRC (UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council)
- £2 million sponsorship from industry since 2008
- 65 industrial sponsors over the life span of VEIV EngD Centre
- 40 current industrial sponsors
Current industrial sponsors (2008-2014): Aedas, Arup Foresight, BBC R&D, Disney Interactive, Procter &Gamble, Microsoft, Foster + Partners, IBM, Intel, Ordnance Survey, CIBSE, Dr Foster Intelligence, Toumaz Technologies, Framestore, VisionRT, Anthropic, Bread, Jason Bruges Studio, Feilden Clegg Bradley, PLP Architecture, London Metropolitan Archives, The Science Museum, Network Rail, Building Research Establishment, The Foundry, Zoological Society of London, Renishaw, Skanska, Hawkins Brown, ITMSoil, Modus, Intel, Maxeler, Laing O'Rourke, Imagination, Royal Free Hospital Trust, Buro Happold, Bart's NHS Trust, Mo-Sys, and Geomerics.