Tuesday, October 26, 2021
University of Iowa Technology Institute

University of Iowa Technology Institute (ITI) Director Karim Malek was a guest on the Newsradio 1040 WHO program Need to Know with Jeff Angelo

Karim Malek square

The segment begins around the 21:35 minute mark. Find the program here: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/182-the-jeff-angelo-show-28238026/episode/jeff-angelo-where-are-iowas-88275431

Angelo invited Malek to discuss the "amazing story" of ITI's new research to integrate Santos and Sophia, ITI's virtual humans, with Epic Games' Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is known for video game titles, including Fortnite and Gears of War, among a range real-time services.

ITI recently received a MegaGrant to study the integration, which could enhance the realism and lifelike responses of characters in the gaming environment. For ITI, the integration could make Santos and Sophia more widely available and could expand the technology's uses.

"It's is just amazing and fascinating that this is going on in Iowa," Angelo said. 

Malek led a multidisciplinary team at ITI's Virtual Soldier Research program that invented the technology about 15 years ago. Santos and Sophia have been used by military and manufacturers to assist with developing new equipment and training in virtual environments before expending significant cost, time, and other resources to test live prototypes.