Varshney and Graduate Student Du Win Best Paper Award at 2016 Web3D Conference

Fri Aug 05, 2016

Amitabh Varshney (left in photo), professor of computer science and director of UMIACS, and Ruofei Du, a 3rd-year computer science doctoral student, received a “Best Paper” award at the 2016 ACM SIGGRAPH Web3D conference held in Anaheim, California, from July 22 to 24.

Their paper, “Social Street View: Blending Immersive Street Views with Geo-tagged Social Media,” presents an immersive geospatial social media system for virtual and augmented reality environments.

The authors note that while social media is widely used, it’s mostly presented as a linear narrative so as to be easily viewed on a mobile device or desktop computer.

But with the advent of new virtual and augmented reality headsets flooding the commercial market, immersive mixed reality settings—where one can walk down the street and see their friends’ geo-tagged images and comments overlaid on real-world locations—could soon become commonplace.

Du, who is advised by Varshney, was lead author on the paper.

Now in its 21st year, the annual ACM SIGGRAPH Web3D Conference brings together researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, experimenters, artists and content creators in a dynamic learning environment.

The theme of this year’s conference was “3D for All”—emphasizing the importance 3D graphics including virtual and augmented reality in research, development and engineering in medicine, industry, entertainment and education.

In addition to their work on Social Street View, Varshney and Du are active in other projects in virtual and augmented reality.

Varshney is director of the university’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory, known as the Augmentarium, where multiple projects are under way involving applications in virtual and augmented reality for health care, public safety, the visual and performing arts, athletics, and more.

Du, currently completing an internship at Microsoft Research, is also an active participant in ongoing research in the Augmentarium.

To see a video overview of Social Street View, go here.