Sunday, July 13, 2008

MIRALab - Prof Magnenat-Thalmann & Virtual Worlds

I chanced upon an article in the NTU '@NTU' magazine that described the works of MIRALab. After I visited their website, I'm impressed. The main reason is the amount of research they have done for CGI and Virtual Worlds. From their website, here's a brief description:
MIRALab was founded in 1989 by Professor Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann. She chairs around 30 researchers coming from as many different fields as Computer Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Telecommunications, Architecture, Fashion Design, Cognitive Science, Haptics, Augmented Reality, etc. This truly interdisciplinary group works in the field of Computer Graphics, Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds. Since 1992, MIRALab has participated in more than 45 European Projects. International conferences such as CASA and CGI are often organized in Switzerland by MIRALab. Actually, Prof. Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann leads 3 ongoing European Research Projects: INTERMEDIA NoE, HAPTEX and 3D ANATOMICAL HUMAN, a Marie Curie Research Training Network. Moreover, MIRALab produces displays for museums, galleries, such as fashion shows or cyberdances with virtual models and clothes.
The list of projects could be found on their website. While they are not in the business of creating virtual worlds per se (not like Linden Labs), their works will feed into the greater community of how virtual worlds are created. I'm impressed mainly because the demo movies and images are of high quality for the technology of that time. For example, here's a YouTube upload of animation done in 2002, 'Virtual Life in Pompeii.

The work is not just in animation; they are now researching on textile and how cloth behaves in virtual world. Well, here's the YouTube about the research in this area. For more info, pop by their website for more videos and descriptions. I like the 'hair dance 2006' too but I guess we have enough videos for now. Enjoy!

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