CCI Professor Helping to Transform the Way We Collect Data

Date Published: 
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Associate Professor Aidong Lu, Ph.D., with the College of Computing and Informatics’ (CCI) Department Computer Science, is the Principal Investigator on a mixed reality environment for enabling everywhere data-centric research project in collaboration with the University of Tennessee.  Simply put, this infrastructure project will develop an open source software toolkit, called OpenMR, to support building "mixed reality" data analysis systems that project data into the physical world using a new class of display devices such as Microsoft Hololens and Oculus Rift, 3D-goggles.

“This is a very exciting time for us (CCI) to be involved in the project,” said Dr. Lu.  “This is groundbreaking data gathering technology that will allow us to get outside the confines of an office.  All is needed is a mobile computer that will upload the information to the cloud for analysis for eventual analysis.”

Dr. Lu says this project is driven by four real-world applications: environmental studies, medical imaging, biodiversity management, and climate studies.  All these applications revolve around large scale datasets, and rich heterogeneous information.  They are challenging to study due to the combined limits of current technology for display, visualization, interaction, collaboration, and data analysis.  The research will also help to develop this emerging technology.  “Look how far the cell phone has come over the years, the same will be true of this new emerging technology,” said Lu.

According to Dr. Lu, the long-term vision of the project is to develop a mixed reality research infrastructure to support everywhere data-centric innovations, providing immersive, intuitive, location-free, advanced machine learning, data analysis, reduction, summary and storage tools. She says the team will evaluate OpenMR's efficiency, stability, scalability, functionality, flexibility, and ease of adoption through a number of mechanisms, including self-evaluations and documentation of the design process, review from domain experts, and evaluation with both expert and novice users on data analysis tasks that cut across the specific application domains. The $750,000 in funding comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

CCI is currently offering the 3-D goggles for students to experiment in two undergraduate/graduate courses:  Visualization and Visual Communications and Illustrative Visualization.

About the College of Computing and Informatics
The College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) is the largest and most comprehensive technology program in North Carolina, and one of the largest in the nation, offering scale and critical mass in cutting-edge research and innovation. CCI is a national leader in interdisciplinary partnerships, bridging fundamental research with critical scientific, societal, and national defense challenges. It is also the home to leading research centers and institutes, including the Cyber Defense and Network Assurability (CyberDNA) Center, the Bioinformatics Research Center, the Charlotte Visualization Center, the Complex Systems Institute, and the Center for Education Innovation.  Active research awards currently total $28 Million.  @UNCC_CCI

About the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. It is the fourth largest campus among the seventeen institutions of the University of North Carolina system and the largest institution of higher education in the Charlotte region. Current enrollment exceeds 28,000 students, including 5,000 graduate students.


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Media Contact:  Clark G. Curtis, 704-687-7983,