Cloud-Mounted VR Experiments During COVID Times
David Glowacki is originally from Milwaukee. He has appointments as a Royal Society Research Fellow, Philip Leverhulme award holder, and ERC grantee at the University of Bristol where he founded a research group called the ‘Intangible Realities Laboratory’ (IRL) joint between the Centre for Computational Chemistry and the Department of Computer Science. The IRL develops open-source immersive technology software projects at frontiers of scientific, aesthetic, and technological practice.
He has published across several domains, for example non-equilibrium molecular physics, classical & quantum dynamics, computational biochemistry, human-computer interaction, high-performance computing, computer graphics, evolutionary algorithms, machine learning & data science, digital aesthetics, interactive computational art, religion & power, cultural theory, optics, and scientific instrument development.
His computational artworks have experienced by more than 200,000 people across three continents, and featured at a number of well-known cultural and media venues like the Barbican Arts Centre (London), the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Technology (Karlsruhe, Germany), the London 2012 Olympics (London, UK), the Stanford University Art Institute (Palo Alto, California), the Bhutan International Festival (Thimphu, Bhutan), and many others.
In this talk, he will describe his recent research to investigate the use of cloud and VR through two different projects during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Narupa – a flexible, open-source, cloud-mounted, multi-person VR software framework, which enables groups of researchers across the world to simultaneously cohabit real-time simulation environments and interactively build, inspect, visualize, and manipulate the dynamics of complex molecular structures with atomic-level precision. This framework was used recently to investigate the binding dynamics of molecular inhibitors to the Sars-Cov-2 main protease.
- Isness – a cloud-mounted, multi-person VR experience, in which participants have produced effects statistically indistinguishable from moderate to high doses of psilocybin, a serotonergic psychedelic drug used to treat anxiety, depression, and addiction in clinical contexts. The efficacy of Isness illustrates its potential to provide therapeutic and mental health benefits, which are comparable to drug interventions but without the associated risks. The distributed cloud-mounted Isness environment enables individuals to undergo the experience of ‘energetic coalescence,’ a new class of embodied phenomenological experience, which elicits poignant responses from participants.
This series is generously supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship (NRT) program as part of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in the Science, Technology, and Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality at the University of Rochester (#1922591).
When: Wednesday, March 31st from 10:25 to 11:40am
Voices of XR is a Studio X speaker series, presented in collaboration with the Goergen Institute for Data Science. Speakers are scholars, artists, and extended reality professionals who discuss their work with immersive technologies across disciplines and industries. All talks are free and open to the general public. See the full spring 2021 series.