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The University of Iowa Technology Institute has received a $100,000 grant from game software developer Epic Games to explore the integration of its virtual human, Santos, with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
Unreal Engine is Epic’s suite of development tools for anyone working with real-time technology, including virtual worlds.
With the grant, Technology Institute researchers will assess whether Santos and Unreal Engine can exchange information, such as human body type, environment and tasks, and apply the Santos model calculations to reflect human impacts of the scenario, such as fatigue and energy usage.
The grant will be used to cover the first year of the project, according to a news release Tuesday from the Technology Institute.
The physics-based, biomechanically accurate Santos already has helped public- and private-sector partners, including the U.S. Department of Defense, model and test human behavior to predict outcomes such as performance and injuries.
“Fundamentally our proposed effort will implement virtual humans within Unreal Engine that will look and behave with unprecedented realism,” Karim Malek, Technology Institute director and UI professor of biomedical engineering, said in the release.
“Working with Unreal, we will achieve significant improvement in gameplay realism and our human integration modeling.”
The UI-based Technology Institute supports more than 30 labs and 200 faculty, staff and students.