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In NASA Glenn's Virtual Reality Lab, Creative-Minded Employees Thrive
by Claire Moore for GRC News
Cleveland OH (SPX) Sep 02, 2019

illustration only

Film, animation, illustration, computer science and even game design majors are integral to one of NASA Glenn's most visually-adept laboratories.

Inside the Graphics and Visualization Laboratory, known as GVIS, people with various creative educational backgrounds help weave data and analyses from engineers and scientists into colorful, engaging projects using virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive simulations.

Designing user interfaces for these visualization tools is an area Sophia Hamed-Ramos most enjoys about her job with GVIS. Getting to participate in educational outreach - such as demonstrating virtual reality to curious kids - is another.

Hamed-Ramos, an industrial and interaction design student at Syracuse University, always wondered what it would be like to work at NASA. She painstakingly applied to NASA's summer internship program and couldn't believe it when a job offer with a familiar blue, white and red logo popped up in her email inbox months later.

Hamed-Ramos works with information architecture. Similar to commercial architecture, but without bricks and mortar, her blueprints are for building websites.

She enjoys working closely with engineers and scientists to present their experiments this way. One such project came from a Glenn materials research engineer and his work with shape-memory alloys.

"He gave me many different files and he demonstrated how they (shape-memory alloys) work, so I dove right in and started working on that project," Hamed-Ramos said. "It's been really interesting because I got to learn about subject matter that I really didn't know about before."

In addition to working with scientists and engineers, outreach is integral to the GVIS Laboratory. Eleanor Peterson, who studies film and illustration at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, encourages it.

"I love helping out with outreach," Peterson said. "I do it whenever I can."

Peterson, a GVIS Laboratory media specialist and outreach manager, is in charge of providing fact sheets and informational materials, setting up technology demos and coordinating staff for events.

"It's easy to do so because the staff in the GVIS Laboratory understand each other's work, thanks to their creative fields of study," Peterson said.

"Everyone's encouraged to work together, go out to lunch together and kind of understand each other," Peterson said.

While NASA is focused on the advancement of science and technology, creative careers help visualize those advancements.

Related Links
Graphics and Visualization Laboratory (GVIS)
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

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In praise of the big pixel: Gaming is having a retro moment
Cologne, Germany (AFP) Aug 24, 2019
Clunky games consoles with blobby pixels might not be the latest thing - but they're still cool even if you're no longer at school. Video games producers plying their wares at Gamescom this week in Cologne may primarily be out to push the frontiers of hi-tech and virtual reality as they eye a bigger slice of a booming market. But their commercial antennae are sufficently honed to realise numerous hands on the joystick belong to gamers for whom retro hasn't so much come back as never gone away. ... read more

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