GMU Research Interdisiplinarity

George Mason University
Research Interdisiplinarity

The objective is to create an interdisciplinary research program called the Historical Movement Archive to be established at the Institute for Digital InnovAtion.

In collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library, historical movement works are selected for research and digitized for research purposes.

Digital Research Applications are created at the Historical Movement Archive in collaboration with the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Virginia Serious Game Institute, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and the Department of History and Art History.

The research applications are used by the international movement community to communicate, collaborate in their research, translate, and physically train, in the arduous task to recreate and master the historical and cultural movement that will be motion captured, processed, analyzed, and archived. This is where the painstaking physical research and training takes place on a daily basis. The research applications contain image, text, vocal, video, and 3D files.

The digitized historical works are integrated into the research applications using Adobe InDesign, online publishing applications, and Unity, a real-time cross-platform 2D, 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality game development engine.

The Historical Movement Archive has developed its own 3D viewer, a web application that allows a user to view models and movement sequences in 3D. The HMA 3D viewer is based on WebGL, VR, & AR technologies that allow the HMA to display historical and cultural movement in 3D on the web, to be viewed on any mobile browser, desktop browser, and, in the future, on VR, & AR headsets.

The downloadable digital research applications assist in the studio movement research using: a studio space; a computer, monitor, web camera, and teleconferencing technologies. We are now in our fifth year of international online collaborative research efforts.

We have put into place an International Research and Training Program for the Historical Movement Archive, which includes weekly and bi-weekly international on-line broadcast research work sessions and biannual in-house research get-togethers, workshops, lectures, symposiums, and roundtables hosted in different countries. Many of these live events will be hosted at Mason, adding to the intellectual and international experience of the university family.

When the historical movement is mastered by the international researchers and artists, it is then ready to be motion captured. The digitized 3D historical and cultural movement motion capture data is then processed and re-worked as 3D materials back into the research application.

Depending on the complexity of the movement system, this research process may take years. The historical and cultural movement is preserved in raw digital form. The digitized movement is then analyzed using the highest standards of research in collaboration with the College of Health and Human Services and the Laboratory for the Study and Simulation of Human Movement. This is the jewel of this research endeavor.

The Historical Movement Archive’s research information and data are continually updated on our research applications using secure Amazon Cloud and Web Services that work in conjunction with our server and prototype archive computer named (DATA). We have also purchased and put together (DAISY & HAL) our workhorse and full-time rendering computers. The preparation of 3D materials for presentation movies can take weeks to render out and implement.

The Historical Movement Archive Digital Library will be established in collaboration with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Roy Rosenzwieg Center for History and New Media. I believe this work will result in the development of a digital 3D on-line library where the body of digitized historical and cultural movement knowledge would be preserved. The George Mason University Library System and the Special Collections Research Center offer many opportunities for research and collaboration.

My Visiting Scholar in Residence has allowed me to begin the research and development of the Historical Movement Archive’s prototype 3D Digital Research, Performance, and Archive Platform. (DRPAP)

The Historical Movement Archive’s Research and Development will be in collaboration with the Volgenau School of Engineering and the School of Computing. The Historical Movement Archive’s research and development of the Digital Research, Performance, and Archive, Platform (DRPAP) will be established in collaboration with the Institute for Digital InnovAtion.

The research and development of the 3D digital research, performance, and archive platform, will focus on five main areas: 

  • Motion capture technologies needed to accurately record the intricate details of historical and cultural movement. 
  • Research tools for historical and cultural movement that can be easily downloaded and incorporated into research applications.
  • Analytical tools to assist in movement research, exploring Kinesthetic Anthropology and the study of Kinesthetic Relativity.
  • Advanced digital presentation and archiving technologies to preserve 3D historical and cultural movement knowledge.
  • Live broadcast and emerging augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to teach, research, and perform on-line in 3D.

There is more than enough information in the form of movies and 3D applications to demonstrate proof of concept, as well as proof of process and methodology, in support of this new field of research and this research program. This was the purpose of my Visiting Scholar in Residence: to providing the proof that we can create a process and methodology for this research, and to demonstrate how we can build digital tools that utilize these emerging technologies.

We have imagined how we can use these emerging augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to teach, research, and perform online in 3D. These emerging technologies will soon give us the ability to take any class, research project, or performance into anyone’s computer, smart phone and tablet, or augmented reality and virtual reality device, to be viewed in three dimensions as if we were right there in the classroom or sitting there witnessing a live performance.

It is only a matter of time before these ideas will come into fruition, somewhere. A character in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” describes the Semmering Railway that was built over a steep section of the Alps to connect Vienna and Venice:

 “They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it — because they knew some day the train would come.”

We can begin to develop, build, and implement these emerging augmented reality and virtual reality technologies even before the train that drives these technologies is in existence, knowing that someday the ability to use these emerging technologies will come.

Apple is coming out with manageable and affordable, high-fidelity, 3D augmented reality glasses, that will easily connect wirelessly with smart phones and tablets by the end of this next year, or sometime in 2022.

This year, Australian researchers have developed the technical ability to have Internet speeds one million times faster than current systems. Australian researchers have developed a new internet connection from a single optical chip that is 44.2 Tbps. This is around 1 million times faster than the average American internet speed, which is around 50Mbps.

In the next few years, these breakthrough technologies will make it possible to broadcast live in 3D. Here at George Mason University, we have the capability to create 3D teaching and performance platforms that would allow us to implement these emerging technologies as they arrive at our doorstep. These technologies will emerge as vibrant teaching, meeting, research, and performance tools over the next decade.
 
The need for the development of this technology for research, teaching, communication, and performance is so apparent in the current situation we find ourselves in. What better time would there be, to implement these ideas and develop the use of these technologies, so that we might emerge from our current situation and offer innovative solutions to some of the most incredible technical challenges that we face right now.
 

VSE + Dean Kenneth S. Ball

School of Computing

Institute for Digital Innovation

 

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CVPA + Dean Rick Davis

Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI)

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CHHS + Dean Germaine M. Buck Louis & Andrew Guccione

Laboratory for the Study and Simulation of Human Movement (LSSHM) + Lynn Gerber, M.D

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CHSS + Dean Ann L. Ardis

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RRCHNM + Mills Kelly

Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Department of History and Art History

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  • Cultural Mandates
  • Research Mandates
  • Educational Mandates
  • Letter of Support

GMUL

Special Collections Research Center SCRC

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  • Cultural Mandates
  • Research Mandates
  • Educational Mandates
  • Letter of Support