July 22, 2009

Long-distance creativity to be studied

Texas A&M University is taking the lead on a multi-school, multi-continent, multi-year research program on how technology promotes long-distance creativity.

Funded by a $293,000 National Science Foundation grant, the three-year study will mimic visual effects and animation industry work flow procedures as students in different locations tackle projects requiring visual and technical problem-solving to reach a common goal, the university said Wednesday in a release.

A company might say it's going to build models in Bangalore, India, do the animation in Los Angeles and complete the final rendering in Vancouver (British Columbia), said Tim McLaughlin, head of Texas A&M's Department of Visualization and principal investigator for the project. They organize the project so even though the work is distributed, the outcome still looks like one cohesive piece of work.

Study participants include Texas A&M visualization students, including those studying abroad at the Akademie fur Internationale Bildung in Bonn, Germany, as well as students at University of Texas-Dallas and high school students at The Design and Technology Academy in San Antonio.

This project seeks to develop collaborative skills among participants while providing a more profound understanding of specific influences on technical and visual creativity, McLaughlin said.