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Queens University of Belfast (QUB), UK

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Two research centres at Queen’s University of Belfast are involved in the ENABLED project: the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC). Experts in these two research centres will contribute to the different areas of research and development in this project.

The Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC)

Is an initiative by the Faculty of Engineering that brings together expertise on Virtual Reality, Engineering Computation, Physical Modelling and CAD technologies. It specialises in the validated simulation of complex engineering systems, supported by state of the art computational and experimental laboratories.

Current Virtual Reality related research being conducted in the centre include:

  • Telecommunications for Distributed Virtual Reality and Virtual Engineering Applications,

  • Ergonomics & Virtual Reality for Laparoscopic Surgery,

  • Design and Visualisation of Footwear in a Virtual Environment, etc.

Experiences and knowledge gained from the above research can deepen the understanding in applying telecommunication technologies and haptic interaction for the work packages in the ENABLED project. A world-class virtual reality theatre which is equipped with a state-of-the-art stereoscopic digital project, a 3D surround sound system, and high-end force feedback devices, is available for development and evaluation purpose. The VR theatre is also linked with other research laboratories on campus via high speed networks, such as ATM and Gigabit Ethernet. The academic personnel in the VEC have experiences in running and managing previous Framework programmes such as: WINE, IST-1999-10028 (FP5), FashionNet (TEN-IBC), CABSINET (ACTS).

The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC)

Is a newly established centre of excellence, dedicated to the research of music technology. This unique interdisciplinary project has united internationally recognised experts in the areas of musical composition, signal processing, internet technology and digital hardware from departments at the University and recruiting new researchers in the fields of music, electronic engineering and computer science to create a research team of around twenty people. The Centre is established in a purpose-built structure located near the Schools of Music, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. This houses the Sonic Laboratory, recording studios, research laboratories and office space. The centrepiece of the research facility will be the Sonic Laboratory. This facility will enable research teams to develop and implement cutting edge initiatives in the creation and delivery of music and audio. Moreover, it provides an ideal place for demonstrating the technologies developed in the ENABLED project.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Wai (Ray) Yu has obtained his PhD at the University of Surrey by research in man-machine interface for teleoperation and telerobotics. He has studied the control strategies used in teleoperation to coordinate the input from human operators and the computer intelligent control. He proposed and demonstrated human computer cooperative control on an experimental testbed developed in his PhD. Afterwards; he joined the Department of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow in 1999. He worked on a Multivis project which is about developing multimodal visualisation tools for visually impaired people. Ever since, he has been working on the multimodal interfaces to present graphical information for visually impaired people. He and his colleagues published over 15 papers in various international conferences and journals during the three-year period. He is currently working as a research engineer at the Virtual Engineering Centre and contributing to the centre’s research in distributed haptic virtual environments and assistive technology based on his experiences. He was actively involved in the preparation of a STREP - SCAN submitted to the first call of IST. He has close contact with the Blind Centre for Northern Ireland (BCNI), the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB N.I.) which will collaborate with the ENABLED project by organising user focus group and training and evaluation sessions.

  • Professor Alan Marshall is a Full Professor in Telecommunications Networks in the Queen’s University of Belfast, and a senior member of IEEE. He is director of the Advanced Telecommunications Laboratory within the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He received the B.Sc. degree from the University of Ulster in 1985, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Aberdeen in 1992. He has spent over 20 years working in tele- and computer communications. From 1988 to 1990 he was employed by the Admiralty Research Establishment (UK) working on real-time computer networks for surface platforms, and between 1990 and 1993 he was employed as a senior systems engineer with Nortel Networks (UK), were he worked on 2nd generation cellular (GSM), and high-speed transmission (SDH) products. He has undertaken the role of expert witness in a major international telecommunications lawsuit with regard to his expertise in this area. He is widely recognized in the area of network modelling and performance analysis, and has organized and chaired technical sessions for numerous international Telecommunications conferences.

    He has been a permanent member of the organizing committee for the IEE/IEEE International Conferenceon Telecommunications (ICT) since 1995, and IEEE/IFIP Management of Multimedia Networks and Services (MMNS) since 1999, and was general chair for MMNS2003. He is director of the the [new window] Advanced Networks Laboratory , which serves as a focus for Telecommunications related research in the University.

    Current research involves: Quality of service (QoS) and programmable network architectures, intelligent packet schedulers,programmable routing algorithms for ad-hoc and multi-hop networks, sensor networks, and agent enhanced network management. He has published over 90 scientific papers and holds joint patent applications in the areas of spread spectrum communications, packet scheduling and wireless network architectures. He has been active in a number of major European collaborative projects including: (i) technical prime in the TEN-IBC project FASHIONET (B3004); (ii) ACTS project CABSINET (AC236), and WINE (IST--1999-10028). He also has had directly funded research with a number of major companies including: Nortel Networks, Fujitsu, and Xilinx corp. He is one of the main participants in a £4M funded, Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) a newly established centre of excellence, with particular emphasis on the transmission of distributed Virtual and Augmented reality systems, and Force reflective (haptic) information in real-time.

  • Dr. Gordon Dodds (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) is a Senior Lecturer in EEE. He has attracted funding of over 1.5 M€ to the School from EU, Industry and UK National resources. In his work on Virtual Reality he was a core part of the team that has created the 7.5 M€ Virtual Engineering Centre, and he continues to dynamically manage the work. He has had EU research fellows under the Marie Curie Program. His work has included funded working abroad (for almost two years) and co-operative research with the Bundeswehr University Munich and Deutsche Bahn AG. He is an editor on IFAC Control Engineering Practice, has been on the IEEE IROS Program Committee since 1997 and is a technical committee member of other international conferences. He is vice-Chair of the UK IEEE Section (with >10,000 members). He has spent almost a year in Japan funded in robotic research by the Japanese government and British Council and introduced parallel processing into advanced robot control. He is competent in both German and Japanese and is aware of the difficulties of and the solutions for problems of trans-national working.

  • Dr. Graham McAllister is a lecturer at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) which specializes in the interdisciplinary research of computing science, electronic engineering and music. From 1999 to 2002 he was a senior software engineer at Nortel Networks where he worked on next-generation software for Network Management Systems. He has interests in wireless networking, audio security, music informatics and image compression technologies.

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