Meeting Professor Carol O’Sullivan

Filed under:Visualisation — posted by Hugh Denard on December 21, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

I met Carol O’Sullivan, Professor of Visual Computing at Trinity and Head of GV2: Graphics, Vision and Visualisation Group in the Science Gallery Cafe at 11 this morning. She brought me over to the GV2 lab and showed me Metropolis: Supercrowds for Multisensory Urban Simulations. This is a research project designed to discover what is required in order to make users perceive a virtual, real-time world as credible; or, to put it in their own words: “to apply principles of human multisensory perception to create a lifelike depiction of a virtual urban environment with street scenes, crowds and traffic noise”.

There’s a rather wonderful model of parts of Dublin city, including the Trinity College campus on College Green, created by Dublin company NOHO. The model runs on an Ogre-based real-time engine, and is populated by “characters” who move through the space and interact with each other in highly lifelike ways. The lab also contains a Vicon optical motion-capture suite, which is used to model the movement and gestures of the in-world characters.

Carol suggested that, if I were to give her the project’s 3d model of the 1904 Abbey Theatre, she would in principle be willing to assign one of her funded summer interns to populate the model with virtual characters. We might, for example, explore how closely we could recreate, from contemporaneous accounts, the Playboy of the Western World riots of 1907. That is a pretty exciting prospect!

Carol advised that, in that context, I might consider approaching NOHO to discuss the modelling of the Old Abbey Theatre. Not only is their work first rate but, there are obvious benefits to working with a company that has previously developed content for Carol’s work with the Ogre real-time engine.

An inspiring look at the work of an inspirational team; I hope we can manage to put all the pieces together for a collaboration this summer!

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace