University of Toronto

My day at U of T started relatively late, which is nice because I could sleep a nice eight hours.

Jonathan Deber, a Master student at DGP organized the visit. The visit included a well attended talk, and demonstrations/chats with a number of students from both the Dynamic Graphics Project where they do a variety of computer graphics and HCI research, and to the Knowledge Media Design Institute, well, to a very small part of it, because if you check their website you will learn that KDMI is actually a huge organization.

After lunch with Ravin Balakrishnan and some students it was time to see the research. Going back and forward between the two floors where DGP and KMDI are located in the Bahen centre, I learnt about what some of their students (and research assistants) are cooking up. I got to meet Kent Fenwick, who is working on assisting  people with and without mild cognitive imparements to remember the names of people you meet and live around (something that would be particularly useful for me now that I’m meeting so many people). In a related project, Masashi Crete-Nishihata is improving the lives of people with memory-related cognitive impairments, their families, and their care-takers by moving memories and identities into media. I had the luck also to finally shake hands with Ron Baeker, largely responsible for all this NECTAR thing, and of too many research projects to mention here. It was also great to see Annette, who keeps NECTAR running smoothly until the end. Then I got Delia to show me the latest develoments of ePresence, KDMI’s brain child platform that allows people to hold seminars, conferences and classes across the university or across continents. Actually ePresence has been used since the beginning by NECTAR to broadcast the voice, text and slides of talks and classes to all the Canadian universities involved.

Back at the DGP I had a very insightful talk with Seok-Hyung Bae about his work on 3D sketching interfaces and other interesting issues in 3D representation, and with Xiao Jun Bi on large displays (which is a topic very dear to me). To finish the day I got to see the prototype for mobile haptic interaction of Koji Yatani, who will make your hands trill with information. Finally, I got to talk to Jonathan about his projects for his masters, which I’m sure he would prefer me not to disclose publicly (yet).

Thanks to all the Toronto people for showing me your research and to Jonathan (and Mike Wu) for taking care of my visit. I’m sure I’ll read about all this research soon in the top conferences.


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