Research

Viz Lab | MMAD Lab


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dancers in motion capture suits

Current Research and Creative Activities at the MMAD Lab and Viz Lab

The Labs are used for multi-disciplinary research where faculty, graduate and undergraduate researchers utilize the labs and its technologies to further their research. Current research projects focus on interactive installations and visualization of scientific research, particularly climate change.

Ryuta Nakajima and Darren Houser, Art & Design
artist rendition of a sturgeon

Black Gold, 2017

"Black Gold" interprets the important history and threatened existence of sturgeon through the work of multiple artists.  These iconic freshwater fish have been on Earth for more than 100 million years, but have become endangered due to over-harvesting and diminishing natural habitat.

Associate Professor Ryuta Nakajima and Assistant Professor Darren Houser from UMD's Department of Art and Design organized the exhibit, with programming support from Don Schreiner, Sharon Moen, and Marie Thoms of Minnesota Sea Grant. 

Mobile Language Learning Group
German Language App

Mobile Language Apps, 2016-17

Overview

This group was formed by faculty and students from collegiate units across the campus to work together and create digital tools that enhance language acquisition and cultural learning.

Currently four apps are under development: The Study Abroad App, The French/Spanish Pronunciation App, The Russian Grammar Guide, and The UMD German Grammar Guide.  The first version of the UMD German Grammar Guide is already available for download at Apple's App Store.
Visit their website here.

T. Lipke-Perry, Music and M. Levy, Biomechanics 

Terry-Lipke and Levy's Biomechanics Piano Study

The Effect of Different Instruments and Expertise on Pianists’ Hand Mechanics, 2017

Abstract

Playing the piano requires remarkable coordination and motor control, skill acquired over literally decades of practice.  Over the course of a lifetime, a pianist trains and performs on a wide variety of instruments requiring him/her to adapt to the nuances of each instrument, particularly with regard to resistance and the force necessary to skillfully depress the piano keys.  Due in large part to the relative portability and low cost of the instruments, beginning piano students often practice on some type of electronic keyboard, the keys of which may or may not be touch sensitive and/or weighted/semi-weighted. More...

Robert Feyen, Ph.D. and Alex Stecker, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Student (UROP) 
Section of research poster

Visualizing the Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off, Fall 2016–Spring 2017

Overview

Have you ever noticed that when you are using a mouse and you go to click on something that you have to slow down in order to hit the icon or else you will overshoot it?  How about when you get ready to start your car and you have to slow down in order to insert your key into the ignition accurately?  There are countless examples of this phenomenon known as the speed-accuracy trade-off.  Speed-accuracy trade-off or SAT, describes the inverse relationship speed and accuracy have with one another when it comes to human movement.  In essence, the faster the movement you make is, the lower your accuracy is going to be.

Kristine Snyder, Ph.D., Mathematics and Statistics and Jennifer Schwietz (UROP Student) 
Snyder's Paddleboard Study


Muscle Activation and Movement Patterns in Novice and Experienced Stand Up Paddleboarders 2016-17

Our fundamental research question is: do movement and muscle activation patterns differ between novice and expert stand up paddleboarders? We would hypothesize the more experienced paddleboarders are more likely to use the stronger, proximal muscles to propel them forward and to have greater changes in joint angle for the proximal (torso and shoulder) as opposed to the distal (elbow and wrist) joints. We also hypothesize that overall muscle activation, particularly co-contraction, is decreased in experienced subjects as compared to novice subjects. The results will help us understand whether training is required in order to minimize the chances of injury during paddleboarding, as well as determine what injuries are likely even in experienced paddleboarders. More...

Joellyn Rock and Alison Aune, Art & Design; Pete Willemsen, Computer Science
Screen shot of the art from the project

FISHNETSTOCKINGS, 2015

Artist Statement

FISHNETSTOCKINGS is an interactive installation created by digital artist Joellyn Rock, computer scientist Pete Willemsen, visual artist Alison Aune, and a crew of collaborators. The participatory space allows the audience to dive in and make virtual waves inside this alt version of a very old tale. A layered mix of digital video, text, silhouettes and cutout elements are motion activated with a combo of code, Processing and Kinect. More..

Ryuta Nakajima, Art & Design
MRI scan of the squids head

Project Cuttlefish, 2011

Collaborators:
Dr. Shuichi Shigeno, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Dr. Mitsunaga Narushima, University of Tokyo

Artist Statement 

The quest of modernity has come to its final phase in the form of postmodernism.  Many of the past victorious attempts to define “individualism” and “self” seem to have found the wall of linguistic structure and categorization as governing principals of human consciousness. Postmodernism tends to recycle the façade of preexisting methods and theories, thereby creating fragmentation and dislocation.  Simultaneously, the presence of computer technology is rapidly reshaping our visual culture by offering the potential for more streamlined production and distribution possibilities. More..

Eun-Kyung Suh, Art & Design
Installation of project in the museum

Silent Scream, 2017

Artist Statement 

This exhibition features the art of Eun-Kyung Suh who honors and memorializes the extreme diasporic experiences of Korean “Comfort Women” during World War II. Using silk organza, Suh creates boxes printed with photographic images of the victims and their journal entries. Silk boxes—hold the stories told decades after their enslavement—give agency to “Comfort Women” and represent safe containers for personal memories.

Past Research 

Lisa Fitzpatrick, Eric Stykel, and Michele Olsen
Screen shot of the project with just the invasive species of fish

Repel the Invaders, 2012

Artist Statement 

“Repel the Invaders” is a collaborative project created by Eric Stykel, Michele Olsen and Lisa Fitzpatrick at the UMD Viz Lab in 2012, currently on display at the Great Lakes Aquarium. This interactive, projected application raises awareness of the problems of invasive species within Lake Superior and nearby ecosystems. It is coded with the open-source computer program, Processing. In the display, an animation of the bottom of Lake Superior is projected on the wall. There, native species swim around. When a child casts his or her shadow on the wall (i.e. human intervention), the native species are scared away and invasive species begin to take over. The child can try to trap the invasive species to help the native species come back. “Repel the Invaders” has been registered with the U of M Office for Technology Commercialization. More..

Dustin Thompson (Grad Student), Steve Bardolph, Art & Design; and Lisa Fitzpatrick
Confused Herring

Confused Herring, 2013

Artist Statement

Associate professor Steve Bardolph, graphic design graduate student Dustin Thompson and their design colleagues collaborated with scientists, local fishermen, restaurateurs, chefs, grocers, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab (Viz Lab) to explore Lake Superior herring as a sustainable local food source culminating in two promotional videos. More..

The Viz Lab and MMAD Lab have also experiemented with and/or produced touchscreen wayfinding kiosks, video gmaes, 3D video animations, passive VR walls, heart beat apps, and robotics.