UNCC Inks Deal with Haptek for Generation 4 Technology

SANTA CRUZ, California, February 7, 2003 - Haptek today announced a licensing arrangement with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

If a virtual person gave you a compliment, would it brighten your day? In other words, do people act the same way towards a virtual person as they would a real person? The Virtual Environments Group at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is investigating this question. How people interact with virtual characters has significant impact in diverse fields from treating social phobias to diversity training to human-computer interaction.

The research group was interested in studying the virtual character interaction, and did not want to spend months developing, animating, and controlling virtual human computer models. The Haptek interactive character technology was a clear choice for an easy, yet powerful, to use system. It enabled the group to use common tools such as Discreet’s 3D Studio Max to quickly and efficiently modify base characters to create the required characters. The ease of use of the Haptek SDK coupled with the pre-built animations and lip-syncing technologies allowed the group to build an advanced prototype of their personalities for their initial studies in a matter of days.

The group is planning a wide range of human computer interaction studies culminating in a digital faculty advisor, where a life-sized digital character interacts with incoming freshman to provide accurate, friendly, and personable academic advising. The Haptek software will allow the Virtual Environments Group to concentrate on investigating the significant topics of human virtual-human interaction while taking care of the time intensive rendering, animation, and modeling. Their research, along with their extensive use of the Haptek system, has been submitted for significant NSF grant funding. Their strong commitment to move forward with the Haptek software has also allowed them to set very ambitious research goals with the knowledge of the technical expertise of the Haptek development team will be there to meet their evolving technical demands over the coming years.

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Jack Wiley, CFO
Haptek, Inc.
P.O. Box 965
Freedom, California 95019-0965
(831) 728-0770
www.haptek.com
jack@haptek.com

Larry F. Hodges, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Computer Science
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001
(704) 687-6128
www.cs.uncc.edu/~lfhodges


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