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Guest Editors' Introduction: Special Section on ACM VRST

Rynson W.H. Lau
George Baciu, IEEE
Hans-Peter Seidel

Pages: pp. 129-130

ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) is an annual conference devoted to the technical aspects of virtual reality. It was first started in 1994 and VRST 2004 was the 11th conference. This special section contains extended versions of five of the best papers from VRST 2004. The selection of these five papers for this special section was done by the guest editors after considering the quality of the papers, reviews of the papers from the conference as well as from the additional review process, and their suitability to this journal.

The five papers cover three areas of virtual reality. The first two papers deal with real-time 3D graphics problems, one on animation of complex hairstyles and the other on collision detection. The third paper deals with network-based walkthrough using scanning scene tunnel. The final two papers deal with hardware devices. One proposes a new tactile device and the other proposes a new 3D display system.

The first paper is by Pascal Volino and Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann with a title of "Real-Time Animation of Complex Hairstyles." The goal of this work is to achieve true real-time animation of complex hairstyles on animated characters. Rather than building a complex mechanical model directly related to the structure of the hair strands, it takes advantage of a volume free-form deformation scheme. The paper discusses the construction of an efficient lattice mechanical deformation model which represents the volume behavior of the hair strands. The lattice is deformed as a particle system using state-of-the-art numerical methods and animates the hairs using quadratic B-Spline interpolation. The hairstyle reacts to the body skin through collisions with a metaball-based approximation. The model is highly scalable and allows hairstyles of any complexity to be simulated in any rendering context with the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and computation speed, fitting the need of level-of-detail optimization schemes.

The second paper is by Naga Govindaraju, Ming Lin, and Dinesh Manocha with a title of "Fast and Reliable Collision Culling Using Graphics Hardware." This paper presents a reliable algorithm for collision detection using graphics processors (GPUs). The underlying approach accounts for image-precision errors by fattening the primitives and performs interference checks at IEEE 64-bit floating-point accuracy. The overall algorithm makes no assumptions about the motion and is applicable to deformable and breakable objects. In practice, it can check for collisions in complex simulations at interactive rates.

The third paper is by Jiang Zheng, Yu Zhou, and Panayiotis Mili with a title of "Scanning Scene Tunnel for City Traversing." This work scans cityscapes along a street and obtains a scene tunnel that is a compact and complete scene archive beneficial to texture mapping of urban models, scene transmission and visualization, and Internet-based VR. It analyzes the shape characteristics in the scene tunnels for designing visualization algorithms. After combining this with a global panorama and forward image caps, the capped scene tunnels can provide continuous views directly for virtual or real navigation in a city. The scene tunnels can be rendered dynamically by view warping, fast transmission, and flexible interaction. The compact and continuous scene tunnel facilitates the model construction, data streaming, and seamless route traversing on the Internet and mobile devices.

The fourth paper is by Akio Yamamoto, Shuichi Nagasawa, Hiroaki Yamamoto, and Toshiro Higuchi with a title of "Electrostatic Tactile Display with Thin Film Slider and Its Application to Tactile Tele-Presentation Systems." This paper proposes a compact electrostatic tactile display that can be incorporated with virtual reality systems. The new tactile display consists of a thin conductive film slider with stator electrodes that excite electrostatic forces. Users of the device experience tactile texture sensations by moving the slider with their fingers. The display is incorporated into a tactile tele-presentation system to realize explorations of remote surface textures with real-time tactile feedback. A sensor, in synchronization with finger motion on the tactile display, scans a texture sample and outputs information about the sample surface. The information is processed by a DSP and fed back to the tactile display in real time. A transparent electrostatic tactile display is also reported in which the tactile display is combined with an LCD to realize a visual-tactile integrated display system.

The fifth paper is by Rieko Otsuka, Takeshi Hoshino, and Youichi Horry with a title of "Transpost: A Novel Approach to the Display and Transmission of 360 Degrees-Viewable 3D Solid Images." The paper proposes a novel method for an all-around display system that shows three-dimensional stereo images without the need for special goggles. The display system can present images of computer-graphics pictures, live pictures, and movies. Furthermore, the reverse optical process of that in the display system can be used to record images of the subject from multiple directions; the images can then be transmitted to the display in real-time. Prototypes of a 3D display and a 3D human-image transmission system have been developed.

Finally, we would like to thank the people who helped make this special section possible. Most important of all, we would like to thank David Ebert, the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE TVCG, for his support for this special section. We would also like to thank the authors for contributing their work and for their efforts in revising their papers and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions.

Rynson W.H. Lau

George Baciu

Hans-Peter Seidel

Guest Editors

About the Authors

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Rynson W.H. Lau received a (top) first class honors degree in 1988 from the University of Kent, England, and the PhD degree in 1992 from the University of Cambridge, England. He is currently an associate professor at the City University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the university in 1998, he taught at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include computer graphics, virtual reality and multimedia systems. He serves on the editorial board of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds. He was the guest editor of a number of special issues, including IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications on Web graphics, Presence on advances in collaborative virtual environments, and IEEE Transactions on Multimedia on distributed media technologies and applications. He has also served in a number of conferences, including program cochair of ACM VRST 2004 and conference cochair of ACM VRST 2005 and CASA 2005.
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George Baciu received degrees in computer science, applied mathematics, and the PhD degree in systems design engineering from the University of Waterloo. He is a professor in the Department of Computing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has been a member of the Waterloo Computer Graphics Lab and the Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence group. Dr. Baciu is the founding director of the Graphics and Multimedia Applications (GAMA) Laboratory at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His group performs research in 3D motion capture analysis, animation, collision detection, deformable objects, and geometric modeling. He has published extensively and has served as chair of international conference committees such as the Game Technology Conference (GTEC), Pacific Graphics, Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST), Eurographics, Computer Graphics International, CAD/Graphics, and Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA). His research interests include high-performance collision detection, motion synthesis, dynamics of large scale deformable surfaces for virtual clothing, geometric modeling, and scalable microsurface reconstruction. He is a member of the IEEE and ACM.
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Hans-Peter Seidel is the scientific director and chair of the Computer Graphics Group at the Max-Planck-Institut (MPI) Informatik and a professor of computer science at the University of Saarbrucken, Germany. The Saarbrucken computer graphics group was established in 1999 and currently consists of about 35 researchers. He has published approximately 200 technical papers in the field and has lectured widely on these topics. He has received grants from a wide range of organizations, including the German National Science Foundation (DFG), the European Community (EU), NATO, and the German-Israel Foundation (GIF). In 2003, he was awarded the "Leibniz Preis," the most prestigious German research award, from the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is the first computer graphics researcher to receive this award. In 2004, he was selected as the founding chair of the Eurographics Awards Programme.
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