28 June 2010

Interview with SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Chair Preston Smith

Following below is a brief conversation with Preston Smith, SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies Chair from Laureate Institute for Brain Research, who shares his insights and expected highlights for this year's Emerging Technologies.

What various sciences and industries will be involved in the Emerging Technologies area this year?
• Display Technologies
• Interactive Techniques
Immersive Techniques
• Augmented Reality
• Motion Capture Technologies
• Robotics
• Mobile Phone Technologies
• Laser Technologies

How is the 2010 Emerging Technologies different from previous years?

This year’s Emerging Technologies will be a focused, choice selection of the very best of what the industry has to offer. In 2010, we went through the same jury process as previous years except that this year the jury made a second round of selections to really show off the best of the best. Our goal was to engage attendees through diverse and original ideas.

What is the overriding message of Emerging Technologies demonstrations this year?

Beyond a doubt, our message this year is that innovation is alive and well in the computer graphics and interactive techniques world. We will showcase a wide variety of technologies that should surprise, inspire, and truly make people wonder.

What trends in technology, consumer products or other areas do you see indicated by the submissions for Emerging Technologies this year?

Display technology continues to be a hot subject and shows important innovation, plus interactive technologies are reaching new heights and spanning across all the human senses.

What implications does the Emerging Technologies venue have for artists and others working in the computer graphics industry?

This year’s message and implication for anyone in computer graphics is that today's ideas can be realized and can be tomorrow’s daily tool in computer graphics or interactivity. We hope that people walking through Emerging Technologies will leave inspired to push the envelope and be creative in their professional lives.

How did you become involved with SIGGRAPH, how many years have you been involved, and what led you to become the Emerging Technologies Chair?
I attended college later in my life than the typical student and was working with a large retail company when “Jurassic Park” came out, which inspired me to become a part of the computer graphics industry. So I went to college and happened to meet a professor who was a member and attendee of SIGGRAPH.

He informed me of the possibility of being a part of the conference as a student volunteer. So, in 1996 I submitted and was accepted as a student volunteer. That experience with the industry first hand, and with the incredible people behind it, was all it took to make me never want to miss being a part of this amazing and historical event. I have been a part of SIGGRAPH ever since.

From student volunteer to student volunteer team leader to subcommittee, every year’s participation has been incredible. So this marks my 15th year and every year I have played a role in Emerging Technologies. From my first year’s assignment (the Digital Bayou) up to my current role as Emerging Technologies Chair, my personal goal is to give my services and abilities toward making the conference a great experience for attendees, contributors, and volunteers alike.

You have served a few different roles on Emerging Technologies - what did you most gain or learn from each of these roles?

I seriously think the role of student volunteer is what sets the stage to truly learn to do every task to the best of one’s abilities. As a student volunteer, we tackle a variety of tasks – some mundane, which helps to establish the required humility and willingness to do anything all the while developing an appreciation for the many opportunities presented at SIGGRAPH. It is truly an experience that can have an immense impact on your professional life for many, many years.

Editor's note: To view the SIGGRAPH 2010 Emerging Technologies preview video, click here. For a full description of each technology that will be on display, click here.

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