The precision inherent in digital media technology, and the latitude it provides in application, is opening possibilities unthought of except in the imaginationand UC Santa Barbara is making the imagined realities with projects in the works such as a computer that speaks, understands, and listens like a human and a plant-specific agriculture system that provides pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, and water accurate to a centimeter.
UCSB is the host site for a new University of California matching grant program designed to form partnerships between California businesses and UC researchers from a spectrum of disciplines, from the arts to engineering, in digital media technologies. In celebration, there will be a reception next Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center's McCune Room from 4 to 6 p.m. The media is invited to this private event.
"Telemedicine, agriculture, music, visual arts, remote sensing are among the hot areas ripe for industry development in California," says JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, inaugural director for UC's Digital Media Innovation Program (DiMI) and creator of the new program. "DiMI has already received proposals that partner UC with Gibson, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Intel Corporation, and Trimble Navigation, among others."
"We were so pleased to be awarded the host site. UCSB will be the nexus for all multimedia research throughout the UC system with an annual base funding of $3 million or more to support new, interdisciplinary multimedia research," adds France Cordova, vice chancellor for research at UCSB. "Who would have thought that artists and musicians would be collaborating with computer and electrical engineers in these novel ways?"
The site's researchers are already gathering and codifying all available data on multimedia research in order to define the field. Workshops and conferences are planned to address intellectual property rights and other public policy issues, application possibilities, and economic potentials.
As the host site, DiMI will be the source for information on various application and core technology areas, incorporating the research expertise on each campus and the important industries which are evolving in California (over 30 percent of the nation's digital multimedia firms are based in the state), according to Kuchera-Morin, who is also a professor of music and director for the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology at UCSB.
"With Professor Kuchera-Morin's leadership and vision, DiMI will position UC and the state for expanded research and accelerate technology transfer to enhance the competitiveness of UC researchers and California businesses alike," says Susanne Huttner, director of the UC President's Initiative for Industry-UC Cooperative Research program.
DiMI joins research partnership programs in Biotechnology (Biostar) and Semiconductor Manufacturing (UC SMART) under UC President Atkinson's Program. Each of these targeted matching grants programs promote early stage research that is of mutual interest to UC researchers and California businesses. Each will produce new knowledge and technologies that will be further developed by these firms and, ultimately, lead to new products and manufacturing opportunities, business expansion, and job creation in California. Supported research projects are developed by faculty and provide research opportunities for students and postdoctoral trainees.