IEEE VR 2015, 23-27 March 2015, Arles, France

Marc at IEEE VR Marc Edwards was at the IEEE VR 2015 Lab/Project Demos with: Towards a High Resolution Grip Measurement Device for Orthopaedics. We are developing a novel device for measuring hand power grip using frustrated total internal reflection of light in acrylic. Our method uses a force sensitive resistor to calibrate the area, light intensity and force of a power grip. This research is work in progress but results so far augur well for its applicability in medical and other application areas. The grip measurement device allows the patient and doctor to see the change in grip over time and projects this information directly onto the back of their hands

Gareth Henshall was also making a poster presentation based on the work that he did as a summer intern for the Advanced Medical Imaging and Visuaization Unit: Towards A High Fidelity Simulation of the Kidney Biopsy Procedure. Our goal is to provide an affordable high fidelity simulation through the integration of some of the latest off-the-shelf technology components. The range of forces that are encountered during this procedure have been recorded using a custom designed force sensitive glove and then applied within the simulation.


High Performance Computing & Big Data 2015, 3rd February, QEII Conference Centre, London

Dr Jonathan C Roberts, Chris Headleand and Joseph Mearman presented the following at the High Performance Computing & Big Data 2015:

Visualization / Visual Analytics and Beyond

In this presentation we will discuss visualization and visual analytics at UK academia and with industry. Our presentation will be in three parts (1) we present the breadth of academic research in visualization and present the knowledge base (including Eurographics and RIVIC), (2) we take a case study approach and discuss several projects in HPC and visualization, looking at oceanography, HPC and big data, and the animation and creative industries at Bangor University; finally (3) we present future challenges and opportunities.

Click here for further details


Virtual Reality Software leads to underwater worlds

Dr Llyr ap Cenydd from the School of Computer Science at Bangor University has worked on a project with Samsung and Oculus to develop an app called 'Ocean Rift' which is a Virtual Reality (VR) experience.

You can read more in the 'Advances Wales' publication - click here: Link to Pages from Advances Wales


Visualization beyond the Desktop - the Next Big Thing
Ever since the dawn of the personal computer, researchers have been developing new and novel ways for humans to interact with them. Especially over the past 10 years these “novel interaction devices” have become cheaper and more available, aided certainly by crowdsourced initiatives (such as Kickstarter). These new interaction devices enable us to interact with data in new ways, and utilise more senses in this ‘human-computer interaction’.  Devices such as LeapMotion enable remote 3D positions to be gathered; haptic devices such as Geomagic Touch (formerly Phantom Omni) provide 3D forces; Scentee adds smell to a smartphone. Not only can we now see and manipulate our data through a mouse, but we can start to touch, hear, taste and even smell it. 
Dr Roberts says: "We need to think differently: we can do more than merely ‘seeing data’ in a visual form”, “There is a huge potential for multi-sensory manipulation, and visualization is only one possible application avenue”.

Dr Jonathan Robert's latest paper "Visualization beyond the Desktop - The Next Big Thing" is higlighted on the journal's web site:

RASimAS team meet in Crete
More than 30 European experts meet in Crete to draw a strategy for the coming years.

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Image of Prof Nigel John receiving the Winston Churchill Fellowship Award

Nigel John awarded a prestigious Churchill Medallion at an award ceremony in London (28 May 2014)

Professor Nigel John was presented with a Churchill medallion at a prestigious biennial award ceremony in London this week (Wednesday, 28th May), after successfully completing his Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship.

Nigel was presented with a Churchill medallion by Guest of Honour, Dame Mary Peters DBE, Olympic gold medal winning pentathlete and a 1972 Churchill Fellow herself. Dame Mary presented 113 Fellows with their medallions at a ceremony in Church House, in Central London.  Church House has significant Churchillian associations as during the Blitz, Winston Churchill requisitioned Church House as a makeshift Houses of Parliament after the originals had been damaged by bombing. It was also from Church House that he made his famous speech announcing the sinking of the Bismarck on 24th May 1941.

As part of his Fellowship, Nigel travelled to Singapore and Australia to investigate a computer simulated virtual patient for training clinicians with a view to establishing new research collaborations in this field.
Speaking about the Fellowship, Nigel said “The Travelling Fellowships provide opportunities for British citizens to go abroad on a worthwhile enterprise of their own choosing, with the aim of enriching their lives through wider experience – and to bring back the benefit to others in their UK profession or community through sharing the results of their new knowledge”.
Dame Mary praised all the Fellows for their outstanding achievements, and said that “the Fellowship represents a wonderful opportunity to give something back to the community and others in the UK. We all have talents. Strive for personal excellence – doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way”. She also urged the Fellows’ to continue to follow their dreams, saying “it is attitude rather than aptitude that matters”.

Logo of RASimAS
Professor Nigel John is elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
Congratulations to Prof Nigel John who has been elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. The Learned Society of Wales was formally launched on 25 May 2010. The Society aims to establish itself both as a recognised representative of the world of Welsh learning internationally and as a source of authoritative, scholarly and critical comment and advice on policy issues affecting Wales. To be elected a Fellow of the Society an individual must have "a demonstrable record of excellence and achievement in one of the academic disciplines or, being members of the professions, the arts, industry, commerce or public service" as well as "having made a distinguished contribution to the world of learning”.
Image of Rob Wanat
Logo image of SIGGRAPH 2014
Paper accepted for SIGGRAPH 2014
Congratulations to Robert Wanat on getting his paper on "Luminance retargeting" accepted for SIGGRAPH 2014 (Vancouver). This is a great achievement as the SIGGRAPH proceedings (published in ACM Transactions on Graphics) contain some of the most cited journal papers in computer science. The SIGGRAPH conference is attended by 20k+ people and it is the major event for the computer graphics community. This is the first SIGGRAPH paper in which all authors are from the Bangor University.
School of Computer Science collaborates with the BBC

Prof Nigel John and final year Computer Science students Joel Howard and John Speakman are currently collaborating with the BBC on their final year projects.

John is creating a virtual environment for building and editing the layout of a TV studio using the Oculus Rift as the user interface. BBC Breakfast studio is being used for testing the software.

Joel is creating a hand gesture interface for Media Browsing software using the Leap Motion. You can select, and scroll through videos using hand gestures only.

Top right: Prof Nigel John, John Speakman and Joel Howard at BBC Media City - Manchester
Bottom right: John Speakman and Chris Hughes

Image of BBC Studios

New European funded project to produce advanced medical training simulator for Regional Anaesthesia
Franck Vidal, Serban Pop and Nigel John have been successful in a European Union Framework 7 project application called: Regional Anaesthesia Simulator and Assistance (RASimAs). Regional anaesthesia (RA) is a medical procedure to provide anaesthesia (absence of feeling, including pain) to allow a surgical operation, or provide post-operative pain relief. The European Union has awarded Euro 3.3 Million to a multidisciplinary consortium of computer scientists and clinicians to increase the application, the effectiveness and the success rates of RA and furthermore the diffusion of the method into a broader clinical use through the development of patient-specific models for. Two independent but complementary systems will be developed, one for training and one for guidance: a patient-specific Regional Anaesthesia Simulator (RASim)enhanced with ultrasound guidance; and a Regional Anaesthesia Assistant (RAAs), which will assist the physicians to localize the nerve during the actual procedure. The RASimAs project will combine both, offering the possibility of training in the RA technique during the training phase of the physician and providing assistance during the clinical application of regional anaesthesia at later stages. The project is coordinated by RWTH Aachen University in Germany, and as well as Bangor University other partners include INRIA (France), FORTH (Greece), Sintef (Norway) and SenseGraphics (Sweden).

Link to the RASimAs Facebook Page
Image of Pontio logo
Bangor’s new arts and innovation centre Pontio will open its doors in 2015. Home to a mid-scale theatre, a studio theatre, a cinema, design and innovation centre, Students Union, spacious lecture theatres, social learning spaces, bar, café and more. Llyr ap Cenydd from the School of Computer Science has created an interactive 3D display of the Pontio building using 'z-space' see image (right).

This device will be available to view at the Pontio Shop on Bangor High Street.

Image VIS 2013
Jonathan Roberts, Pangiotis Ritsos and Francis Williams from the School of Computer Science, recently visited Altlanta in the USA to take part in the 2013 IEEE VIS conference (13-18 October). This is the premier visualization conference and takes place every year, and includes three main conferences: Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST), Scientific Visualization (SciVis) and Information Visualization (InfoVis). There were about 900 attendees at the conference, and it was located at the fantastic (awe-inspiring)Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel. Dr Roberts said "It was excellent to meet up with old friends, and make new ones. Overall a fantastic event". This year, the visualization group from Bangor presented two posters in the Information Visualization poster session. Francis also was a volunteer at VIS this year, and Jonathan received a certificate of appreciation for being chair of VAST in 2012. There were many highlights at the conference, from the oral presentations of the papers, panels discussing evaluation and big data issues (for instance) to the keynote (Erez Lieberman Aiden) and the capstone Jarke van Wijk. In particular, in his capstone Jarke talked about "Information Visualization: Challenges and Opportunities" and made some memorable quotes, for example, he said "there is no excuse for not learning something about perception", and when discussing evaluation he said "Think a user, act a user, be a user", and finally  that we, as visualization engineers should "Think as a designer. Act as a designer. Be a designer". Next year's conference will be held in Paris. It will be the first time that VIS will be located outside of the USA. 
Image of Helen Miles at Cyberworlds 2013
PhD student Helen Miles recently presented a full paper at the 2013 International Conference on Cyberworlds. The conference was held at the Hiyoshi Campus of Keio University in the city of Yokohama, Japan from the 21–23rd of October.

Keynote talks were delivered by Professor Susumu Tachi of Keio University, who discussed the history of virtual reality and telexistence and the work done at the university; Ed Chi of Google Research, who talked about his work on the analysis of social networks; and Professor Daniel Cohen-Or of Tel Aviv University who talked about inspiring modelling, and whether a computer can be creative. There were 49 papers presented in the main track, and an additional 12 papers presented in the special session on Art, Design and Virtual Worlds.

Helen successfully presented her paper titled "Investigation of a Virtual Environment for Rugby Skills Training" in the main track e-life session of the conference, describing a distance perception experiment recently carried out at Aix-Marseille University. The experiment aimed to evaluate a virtual environment that has been developed to training the throwing skills of rugby players by presenting them with a series of virtual targets in a CAVE which they must throw a real ball at. The ball is tethered and tracked to allow evaluation of the trajectory and calculation of the flight path of the ball to determine whether the ball would have hit the target. An important first step was to determine whether users would perceive the virtual targets at the intended distance, and the results of throws by experienced rugby players were compared under different conditions in the CAVE: with or without stereoscopic presentation, with or without the floor screen of the CAVE and how they were positioned relative to the screen. The paper discussed how the experiment was performed and presented the results, along with a brief discussion of a second experiment performed more recently at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury.
Image of Royal Society Research logo
Dr Rafal Mantiuk has been awarded a Royal Society Research Grant to build a novel electronic display enabling images to be viewed with a much higher quality than it is currently possible. The aim is to make images appear almost indistinguishable from real-world scenes.

In the long term, the project will lead to algorithms for tone-mapping, disparity mapping, and resampling that account for the limitations of human vision and displays. These have applications in:

1. Virtual product prototyping – computer graphics methods will render physically accurate images, which will be mapped using the developed algorithms to high-fidelity displays.

2. Adaptive image/video reproduction on mobile devices – the developed algorithms will provide the best image reproduction under the given viewing conditions (screen reflections, backlight dimming).
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
June 2013
Professor Nigel John was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Each fellow receives a grant to enable travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest, to gain knowledge and bring back best practice for the benefit of others, their profession and community, in the UK. Nigel used the grant for a four week visit to Singapore and Australia where he met with other research groups involved in medical visualization and simulation. The trip took place June this year and begun at the Laboratory of Immersive Mathematics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Their work includes virtual arthroscopy and interactive MRI brain data segmentation. The itinerary then moved on to the Biomedical Imaging Group at the Australian e-Health Research Centre in Brisbane. The Surgical Simulation team there are building simulators for training colonoscopy and bronchoscopy, as well as preoperative planning applications.

Nigel learnt best practices from these groups which he intends to bring back to our Unit in Wales. Joint projects and papers were discussed and planned during the visit. In 2013 the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust received 1,161 applications and awarded 125 fellowships. “I was delighted and honoured to receive this award”, said Nigel, “and I would encourage others too apply for a fellowship in the future for the fantastic opportunity that it offers.”
Image of Chris Hughes
Best Poster Prize
During the NextMed/Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) conference held during the week of February 22nd 2013 in San Diego, CA, our researchers gave an oral presentation and two poster presentations on Unit projects. The poster on the "Femoral Head 3D Measuring Tool" project by Chris Hughes won a best research poster presentation award. Llyr ap Cenydd also presented the VCath App, and Serban Pop gave an oral presentation on blood flow modelling research. NextMed/MMVR is as an annual international forum for researchers harnessing IT advances for the benefit of patient diagnosis and care, medical education, and procedural training.