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DIGITAL PUPPETRY TO BE INTRODUCED AT LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, FRIDAY, MAY 8

 DIGITAL PUPPETRY TO BE INTRODUCED AT LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY
 CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL, FRIDAY, MAY 8
 LOMA LINDA, Calif., May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital puppetry will be introduced at the Loma Linda University Children's Hospital on Friday, May 8, at 9 a.m., in Loma Linda University Medical Center's Schuman Pavilion (room A-602), 11234 Anderson St., Loma Linda. Corporations' education and training research sponsors and the media are invited to attend.
 Loma Linda University's Advanced Technology Center (ATC), in association with Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, will host a unique demonstration of applied virtual reality technology for teaching and rehabilitation at Loma Linda University Medical Center. The technology was developed by SimGraphics Engineering Corp. of South Pasadena, Calif.
 SimGraphics Engineering recently introduced a form of "digital puppetry" utilizing applied virtual reality technology. This technology may someday routinely help hospitalized children and adults by relating to them with animated characters that are controlled by therapists and educators. Computer-generated cartoon characters will help reduce a patient's anxiety by conversing and explaining procedures in advance and, possibly, will help small children to discuss sensitive topics, such as abuse. It may also help school children, problem patients and children under long-term hospitalization in educational studies and tutorial work.
 Fifth graders from Loma Linda Academy Elementary School, along with students from Chaparral Elementary School in the Claremont City School District, and disabled students from the San Bernardino School District, will be entertained by "Eggwardo" at the demonstration. Eggwardo was created by SimGraphics Engineering Corp. and Mark Sorrell & Associates (a Los Angeles-based commercial computer animation firm) and is being performed at Loma Linda by Steven Greenstein, a Los Angeles-based actor and comedian.
 Eggwardo is the third application developed with Performance Animation System (PAS). SimGraphics introduced PAS, the first object- oriented software tool kit specifically designed to speed and enhance the process of creating animation, by allowing spontaneous performances in real time by performing artists.
 With PAS, a human operator wears a specially designed type of face armature called a "Waldo(TM)," which tracks the operator's eyebrows, cheeks, head, chin and lip movements and, in combination with the performance animation support software, allows the operator to control, exaggerate, and trigger features of the computer-generated character(s). SimGraphics can develop applications that allow one or more operators to control, in real time, one or more computer-generated characters or objects with any combination of face, body, or hand-input devices.
 PAS provides special effects; for example, it performs full three- dimensional transformations (morphing or metamorphosis) from one character or object into other talking or nontalking shapes or characters. PAS also supports a variety of input devices, including gloves and body-sensing armatures, and includes networking capabilities.
 The Eggwardo Performance Animation System includes proprietary and off-the-shelf software and hardware. To allow the performing artists to be as expressive as possible through their synthetic characters, SimGraphics configures PAS with various input devices, such as special multifunction face armatures, foot pedals, joysticks, and the ability to read special signals from musical instruments. The Eggwardo system uses some of these devices and capabilities.
 The Waldo, developed by Rick Lazarini in collaboration with SimGraphics, uses special encoders linked to plastic pads that are easily attached to the operator's face with medical adhesive. Positioning the computer-generated character on the monitor is accomplished with SimGraphics' patent-pending Flying Mouse, the first 2D and 3D input device able to input all six degrees of freedom (three positional and three attitude inputs) in addition to accurate 2D standard mouse inputs.
 Unique gesture-recognition and expression mixing tools interpret user-specific facial gestures and create the appropriate computer- generated character facial expressions and speech phonemes.
 -0- 5/5/92
 /NOTE: Flying Mouse is a registered trademark of SimGraphics Engineering Corp. Waldo is a registered trademark of the Character Shop Inc. Other trademarks or brand names are registered trademarks of their respective holders./
 /CONTACT: Dave Warner of Loma Linda University, 714-799-2150, or Steve E. Tice of SimGraphics, 213-255-0900/ CO: Loma Linda University Medical Center; SimGraphics Engineering Corp. ST: California IN: HEA CPR SU: PDT


AL -- LA027 -- 6627 05/05/92 14:07 EDT
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Date:May 5, 1992
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