Cool college classes: UH students on cutting edge of video game programming

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017
UH students on cutting edge of video game programming
UH students are taking classes that are putting them on the forefront of virtual programming.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- From video game consoles to smartphones, technology is moving at lightning speeds these days. To keep up with the world around us, computer science students at the University of Houston are at the forefront of programming.

Professor Chang Yun has been challenging students to develop programs for games, and other platforms, too.

"I can let them use to design apps for purposes, for health care or security," Yun said.

For example, Ph.D computer science student Mohammed Alshair developed a facial recognition program to help those living with Asperger's syndrome.

"And gives you the emotion. And it changes the color based on different things, so you don't have to focus on reading it, and it changes almost every second," Alshair said.

So how does augmented reality work?

"There are cameras on the front that are constantly mapping the space around me," PhD computer science student Dan Biediger explained. "The way you interact with this normally is by clicking up and pointing up and clicking down. So that functions just as a click on a mouse. When you put some holograms in, it's amazing how the rest of the world goes away and those holograms pop out."

This is often compared to virtual reality. The difference from augmented reality here is that you're in your own virtual world, so anything is possible.

Ph.D Computer Science student Brian Holtkamp has been developing apps for virtual reality to help users train for emergent situations. His latest development aids in fire disaster preparedness.

"If you ever wake up to a fire in your home, we can make something like this so you can safely explore that scenario, learn what you should do, and save your family and save yourself," Holtkamp explained.

Students here tell us it's a whole new era in programming.

"That's what I think is game changing, is the ability to move around and interact in the world where you're at. You're not sitting on the couch anymore. You're getting up and moving around," Biediger said.

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