U. T. Dallas Professor Receives Army Funding
To Develop Tools for 3-D Data Management

RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 10, 2005) — A researcher at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has won a grant from the United States Army to develop a tool that could detect and correct errors in 3-D animation models.

Dr. Balakrishnan Prabhakaran, an associate professor of computer science in UTD’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, said the $240,000 grant would help him to create technology that could, among other things, be used to aid in sophisticated, troubleshooting training exercises for the armed forces. Prabhakaran explained that such a tool could be crucial to military and other surveillance operations.

“The military may use 3-D models of a building to determine how and where to enter, but if the building’s surveillance system has been compromised — either intentionally or unintentionally — those entering the building may be in danger,” Prabhakaran said. “The technology I plan to develop will make up for those inaccuracies and provide a more realistic picture of what the situation may be in a particular location.”

Specifically, Prabhakaran’s tool will serve as a sort of prediction mechanism — one that will detect and correct 3-D data that may have been lost or tampered with via a wireless network transmission. The 3-D motions, or models, can then be used to provide instruction to handle emergency situations — such as virtually navigating through a building. Apart from 3-D motion capture data, the research will address streaming of 3-D models over wireless networks.

Prabhakaran’s ultimate goals are to develop a theoretical framework for verification of data from 3-D sensor sources, develop fault-tolerant sensors, determine areas for secure placement of sensors and establish error-concealment approaches for streaming 3-D models over wireless networks.

Prabhakaran is co-director of UTD’s interdisciplinary Motion Capture and Virtual Reality Lab — a facility established cooperatively by the Jonsson School and the School of Arts and Humanities — to study the digital recording of motion in 3-D spaces and create virtual-reality environments. The lab, co-directed by Dr. Thomas Linehan, was funded by monies made available to UTD through a much-publicized, economic-development agreement involving Texas Instruments, the state of Texas and the University of Texas System and was code-named “Project Emmitt.”

Prabhakaran joined UTD in 2000. Prior to that, he was a professor at the National University of Singapore, the University of Maryland in College Park, and at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India. He is a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and completed his doctorate in computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.