Adrian David Cheok, Dr
Blessed with rock star
looks, Dr Adrian David Cheok, director of the Mixed Reality Lab at NUS, waxes
lyrical on Augmented Reality.
The purpose of the Mixed Reality Lab is to look at the future of interfacing with technology, that is, how people communicate with new technology and devices as they are being developed.
“In terms of digital technology, electronics and so on, we have got to the point where we can make anything we want.” explains
Dr Cheok. “What’s lagging now is the interface between humans and computers. To give an example, a typical computer system today uses the mouse and keyboard, which was invented in the 60s. Our interface to computers has not changed for the past 40 years, and that’s why so many people still find it so difficult to use digital technology.”
The Lab hopes to improve the situation by studying ways to merge the virtual world into real-world space, that is, by allowing people to physically interact with computers in a way that feels natural and comfortable to them. This is done using 3D virtual technology and graphics to ‘touch’ and ‘move’ virtual objects and access information.
On a regular basis, the Lab is half full of students and researchers all busy with different projects at different stages of development. Dr Cheok also writes articles for publication in international scientific journals and magazines, which is crucial for obtaining funding from investors – money talks. Participating in science exhibitions is also essential for getting their ideas publicized and accepted by the industry.
The most important task that Dr Cheok does, however, is to supervise the projects and keep the researchers inspired and motivated with the vision to change the way the world works. The Lab is abuzz with a quiet undercurrent of energy, with staff tapping on the computers scattered throughout the area and tinkering with strange devices and gadgets that look like they came off the set of a sci-fi movie.