Undergraduate Research Opportunities (VIST491) in VIZ, 2020-2021

Hello VIZ Undergraduate students!

Are you interested in participating in research activities as a student?

Soft Interaction lab works with both undergraduate and graduate students to create research projects meant to teach special interest topics using Virtual and Augmented reality. We frequently collaborate with other departments such as Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, and the Dance Program to identify unique challenges in education. Our applications look at how we might use immersive virtual environments to engage students in learning a difficult or complex subject.

We would like to share with you some of our current projects for the 2020-2021 academic year.  

If you are interested in joining the research team, please read through this email carefully and then submit an application using this link (https://forms.gle/ECEYLy4EcHdigtF56).

Here are the projects that we are currently recruiting undergraduate research students for: 

Nursing Education VR

This Virtual Reality application will help rural physician’s offices and clinics train their nurses for potential mental health related scenarios they might encounter with patients on the job. Using digital avatars and an interactive virtual environment, users will be able to engage in a variety of situations that they normally would not be able to experience in-person.

  • Team Leads: TBA
  • Work on this project includes: 
    • Environment and Prop Modeling
    • Character Animation
    • Texturing in a package such as Photoshop or Substance
    • Visual direction, design work
    • UI/UX Design
    • Development in Unity for Virtual Reality
    • Converting assets to be used in Virtual Reality
    • Working on the asset pipeline between Unity and 3D packages

Dance VR

Dance VR assists students with learning specific dance poses, movements, and anatomical details of their body using Virtual Reality. The end product will give students visual feedback in real-time based on their performance as they attempt to replicate various poses. The user will watch a virtual instructor perform the moves in VR, and can see their own avatar as they attempt to mimic the lesson. 

  • Team Leads: Julie Choi & Kamryn Massey
  • Work on this project includes: 
    • Character and Environment Modeling
    • Rigging
    • Animation 
    • Visual direction, design work
    • UI/UX Design
    • Development in Unity for Virtual Reality

Collaborative VR Research: 

Collaborative VR became an effective tool for remote education. We are studying how avatar design, environment design would affect the quality of student’s learning in VR. Students will work on designing 2D, 3D assets including avatars, environmental assets. They will also be involved with testing the designs with users.    

  • Team Lead: Brittany Garcia (PhD student) 
  • Work on this project includes: 
    • Modeling, Rigging, and Animating in Maya or Blender
    • UI/UX Design
    • AR development: Unity, Vuforia/Google Core
    • User study

This is how the VIZ Undergraduate Research Program works once you are accepted. 

  1. We will define your role. 
  • Undergraduate Research Scholar: for experienced seniors, 1-year thesis-based program
  • Research Student: semi-experienced undergraduate students (junior or senior)
  • Research Intern: freshmen or sophomore who never participated in research
  1. You will register for VIST 491 with 0-4 credit hours. These are our expectations for your contribution depending on the number of credits. 
    1. 0 credit: This option is not encouraged but if you cannot take any credit hours, we can discuss this option. We still expect you to work for at least 5 hours/week towards research.  
    2. 1 credit: We expect you to commit 5 -7 hours/week towards research. 
    3. 2 credits: We expect you to commit 10 hours/week towards research. 
    4. 3 credits: We expect you to commit 13-15 hours/week towards research.
    5. 4 credits: We expect you to commit 15+ hours/week towards research.
  2. You will be assigned to a research team. This will be decided based on your interests and skills that you specify through your application. 
  3. You will share your progress at weekly meetings with the team and faculty mentors, get help and advice, and collaborate with your teammates to tackle various technical and design challenges. 
  4. Once the semester comes to a close, you will then submit a short research report about your contributions to the project. 

If you are interested in participating in any of these opportunities or want to know more about undergraduate research, please submit your application using the submission link (https://forms.gle/ECEYLy4EcHdigtF56) as soon as possible.

You do not need to be experienced in a specific field to work with any of the projects. You can use this as an opportunity to learn a new skill or program!

If you have questions, please reach out to us through email. 

We look forward to working with you this coming semester!


Caleb & Hwaryoung 


VR performance at TEI 2019 in Tempe, Arizona

We performed our VR performance project, Upwell at the Tempe Art Center in Arizona this week, as part of the arts track program at TEI2019 (ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction).
We appreciate all the positive feedback!
We feel extremely supported by the TEI community.

Congratulations to the team and contributors!
Austin Payne, Michael Bruner, Nathan Ayres from the VIZ department and Ashlyn Thompson, Kelsey Clark, Kali Taft, Hannah Juenke, Sarah Behseresht, Christine Simone Bergeron, and Alexandra PooWiler.
Ashlyn and Kelsey’s performance was exceptional at TEI.

I would like to thank the arts track and the local committees.
Without their endless care and support, this project wouldn’t be performed successfully.

Another note, this TEI was very special to me because we have a great SFU reunion with Huaxin, Josh and Karen.

It would have been perfect if I didn’t miss the connecting flight in Dallas. I am stuck in a hotel room tonight without my suitcase.

Great Success at ISEA 2019 in Gwangju, Korea

We had three papers presented and one artwork was exhibited.
Congratulations the team!
Upwell: Performative Immersion by Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Michael Bruner, Austin Payne and Nathan Ayres

The Transmediated Self: A visual metaphor to human cognition by Anatol Bologan (Mad Arts), Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, Joseph Orr and Vidya Sridhar

One Step: The Impact of Interactive Public Installations on Promoting Public Awareness of Poverty Issues by Eman Al-Zubeidi, Courtney Michalsky, Stephanie Sykora and Lauren Toler

Colors for All: Immersive Narrative 360 Video for Color Blind Awareness by Eunsun EunSun Chu, Jacqueline Gonzalez, Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo and Caleb Kicklighter

From VIZ, Professor Krista Steinke also premiered her video on the media wall at the ASIA Plaza.

Also I appreciate the great support from the VIZ department, college of Architecture, AVPA at Texas A&M.