Drexel has been continuously at the forefront of advanced technology. In 1983 Drexel became the first university to require all entering students to have microcomputers. In 2000 Drexel became the first major university to operate a fully wireless campus, allowing students, faculty, and staff to access the Internet from indoors and outdoors, anywhere on the University’s main 60-acre campus. In 2002 Drexel launched the first mobile Web portal service for students, enabling them to access a range of information via virtually any Web-enabled handheld device, from anywhere in the world.
PROFILE: “THE WORLD IN EYES”
Images contain much more information than seen at a glance. Dr. Ko Nishino of the Computer Science Department has developed a novel computer vision system to accurately analyze the visual information encapsulated in a person’s eye in photographs. From a single photograph, the method enables one to automatically compute a wide-angle view of the surroundings and also an image from the perspective of the person in the photograph. From these images, one can easily tell what the person is seeing and look around the world as if he/she were remotely using that person’s eye. The results have implications in various fields including human-computer interaction, graphics, psychology, and security. This type of technology illustrates the newest breakthroughs in the area of Computer Vision, which investigates physically-based models and computational algorithms to extract rich information about the visual world surrounding us from images and videos.
PROFILE: MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND SECURITY
As computing moves from our desktops to complex mobile environments, issues of rapid, secure communication have become critical. A team of researchers in Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering, led by Drs. William Regli and Moshe Kam, have been developing new technology that addresses these issues. Some of this technology — part of the Secure Wireless Agent Testbed (SWAT) project — includes an integrated environment to study security for mobile agent systems on wireless networks. The present SWAT consists of dozens of mobile hosts, both PDAs and laptops, and hundreds of both static and mobile software agents. In deploying the testbed, they have developed novel mechanisms for integrating autonomous agents with encryption to support secure communication.They have used this and other systems in several testing locations in the Philadelphia area, including urban canyons, urban caves, open areas and public parks, and city streets. These tests have provided diverse environments which demonstrated the versatility and adaptability of the computing systems.
PROFILE: THE DREXEL DRIVING SIMULATOR
One of the most important issues involving computing today involves how people multitask with computing devices in their busy environments, such as using a cellular phone while driving. The Computer Science Department houses a driving simulator that allows us to explore these issues. The front half of a real vehicle has been gutted and placed in the simulation room, and then its controls (steering wheel, pedals, etc.) are hooked up to a desktop computer that runs a complex driving simulation program. The simulator can be used to test driver distraction from all kinds of new devices, and at the same time, run these tests in a safe environment outside of real roads; for instance, one recent study performed by Dr. Dario Salvucci examined how people interact with iPods while driving, yielding new insights into how people multitask and how to design safer driving environments.