Tuesday, January 22, 2002

CP affirms keenness to keep pace with media progress

Charter committee reviews regulations for societies

Saif to address meeting on Islamic finance in London

29 agents approved to help Haj pilgrims

Muslim society allocates BD7,500 for 25 families

Breeding project for 600,000 sobaity next month

44 ancient tombs discovered

Memorial ceremony for Dr Ali Mattar

call for care of Down’s Syndrome children

Demand building for space in IFTDO exhibition

clinton snubs Arafat

Arafat ready for martyrdom

Religious leaders issue call for peace

In brief

Belgian senators blast Israeli tortures

‘Palestinian humiliation behind violence’

Congo blast kills 100 petrol looters

21 die in Kashmir violence

French doctors, nurses go on strike

Clerides, Denktash discuss power-sharing

Don’t hand over ‘freedom fighters’: Pak-Kashmir PM

Time for all Arabs to unite against enemy

Eastern Congolese ghost town poised to be UN base

Sri Lanka to renegotiate deal with Emirates

France to import Egyptian gas

Cheney intervened on Enron behalf in India

Plan to revive Enron trading approved

Democratic Party Chairman challenges Bush on economy

Bahrain shares bounce back

McMahon helps England save face

‘Harding-Kerrigan’ scandal in the making

McLaren, Ferrari set for titanic row over car control

ME rally champ Mamdouh Khayat promotes safe driving

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Virtual stuntmen threat to artists’ jobs

LONDON: Scientists are developing sophisticated virtual stunt artists that could eventually put genuine stuntmen out of a job.
Thanks to an array of sensors the new computer-generated two- and three-dimensional human models respond to the physics of the real world unlike previous versions which had to be laboriously animated frame for frame.
Petros Faloutsos based at the University of California in Los Angeles said computer stuntmen could eventually replace the real thing since they allow directors to plan daring acrobatic feats without risking anyone’s lives, New Scientist magazine reports from London.
The results of his PhD thesis on everyday motions and stunts can be seen on a website which includes an intriguing sequence showing a robot-like figure sitting down on a toilet before arising again and being hit on the head by a red ball.
The virtual stuntman is a jointed skeleton figure that responds to the forces produced by gravity, friction and impact with other objects in its virtual environment.
“A benefit of this is that you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen to a character until they’ve been hit,” said Faloutsos. The skeleton can be dressed up to resemble any film character.
A set of programmes called controllers governs the movement of these 3D figures, be it running or jumping over a wall. Combining the movements to create realism is the problem and that is where Faloutsos and his colleagues Michiel van de Panne and Demetri Terzopoulus at the University of Tornot come in. They make the individual controllers work in concert. The sensors keep track of the figure’s sense of gravity, its joint movements and points of contact between it and the environment.
For instance when the character has lost its balance, dive and fall behaviours take over from the running controller. Faloutsos developed the idea in conjunction with the Vancouver-based computer animation company Motion Playground while he was at the University of Toronto and the system can be seen in action on the following website: www.toronto.edu/:pfal. – dpa