MARCH-APRIL 2018 |
Purdue’s Envision Center, part of ITaP Research Computing, blends technology and art to assist researchers and teachers with data visualization and analysis, virtual simulation and media creation, including animations and publication-quality stills. George Takahashi is the center’s technical lead.
What he can do for you
Takahashi sees the Envision Center’s ultimate purpose as aiding in research and learning by helping its partners present complex material visually. The center helps Purdue faculty and industry partners with data visualization (using tools to represent three-dimensional data in more intuitive ways); virtual simulations (inserting a user into a digital platform through the use of a virtual or augmented reality headset or the center’s immersive theater); and multimedia material such as publication-quality graphics or video animations. Virtual reality simulations can be especially useful for training students who need to learn a complicated or dangerous process — such as maintaining an airplane or sorting medicine in a cleanroom — without running the risk of making a mistake that could prove costly or fatal.
“Even from a young age, I was a tinkerer who loved taking things apart and trying something new when it came to technology,” says Takahashi. He was first drawn to virtual reality as a computer graphics technology undergraduate at Purdue, when he saw his peers taking apart devices like Nintendo Wii remotes and extending their capabilities. He joined the Envision Center while completing his master’s degree in computer graphics technology with a focus on visual perception, and stayed on full-time after graduation.
Favorite part of the job
“I get to take on tasks from a wide variety of subjects, and I get a lot of excitement from the variety and the depth of knowledge I get to sample every day. One day I might be working with a chemist and shrinking down to the size of a molecule to look at drugs and protein structures, and the next day I might be taken to outer space to look at the constellation Cassiopeia.”
George has 15 pet snakes, all of whom are named after foods they resemble — think Marzipan and Mochi.
For more information about ITaP Research Computing resources and services, email email@example.com or contact Preston Smith, ITaP’s director of research services and support, firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-494-9729. To learn more about working with the Envision Center, contact Takahashi, email@example.com, or the center’s program manager, Laura Theademan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer: Adrienne Miller, ITaP science and technology writer, email@example.com