Abdulmotaleb El Saddik


Abdulmotaleb El Saddik
Professor and holder of the University Research Chair in Ambient Interactive Media and Applications

Bureau: 613-562-5800 ext. 6277
Courriel professionnel: elsaddik@site.uOttawa.ca

Abdulmotaleb El Saddik


University Research Chair in Ambient Interactive Media and Applications

Faculty of Engineering
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Focus

Establish a framework of software tools to define an ambient-based collaborative haptic audio visual environment (C-HAVE), making the exchange of data in that environment fully interactive and personalized, so that users on the Internet can experience an enhanced telepresence, made up of images, sounds, and touch.

Research Relevance

Haptic technologies, which exchange data by using the sensation of feeling or touch, remain at an elementary stage of development. Nevertheless, such technologies have the potential to make profound intellectual and commercial contributions in areas such as entertainment, art, science, and business. Progress towards these contributions require standardization of the way haptic data is captured and transmitted, so that it can be incorporated into multimedia equipment in much the same way as audio and video data. My goal is to enable a haptic dimension to be added to the multimedia experience in a similarly seamless, "plug-and-play" fashion.

The added touch: virtual reality gains a new sense

A simple review of recent computer generated Hollywood features, or video games, confirms the extraordinary and ongoing success of multimedia processing. Behind the scenes, this success is based on powerful authoring tools, and software programs that make it possible to compose even more elaborate audio or video applications, and to do so automatically.

In principle, similar software tools could compose haptic elements for multimedia presentations, with a tactile interface such as gloves or a body suit adding the physical sensation of touch to that of sight and sound. However, such tools do not exist, nor is there any well defined process for creating them, nor is there even the equivalent of the unified modelling language that works well in manipulating audio-visual information.

In fact, researchers have experimented with different types of haptic feedback technology, each as a prototype built in an ad hoc fashion. If haptic information is to be incorporated into existing multimedia systems in a seamless way, it will be necessary to establish a reference model and characterize the elements that will make up the requisite software.

Our research will compose a functional XML-based meta-language for framing haptic applications. We will then explore diverse techniques for recording and transmitting significant amounts of haptic data that will be generated in real-time interactive sessions. Eventually, this data will be compressed and combined with unique biometric identifiers, so that individual users can tailor their sessions in a unique fashion. At that point, users will not only be able to see and hear the actions of an avatar in a virtual environment, they will feel them as well.

Featured Awards and Recognition

  • Award for Excellence in Research (2015)
  • Distinguished University Professor (2014)
  • C.C. Gotlieb Computer Silver Medal (2013)
  • I&M Society Technical Award (2010)
  • Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (2010)
  • Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery (2010)
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (2010)
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2009)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award (2007)
  • IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society (2006)
  • Premier's Research Excellence Award (2004)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation Award (2004)
  • National Capital Institute of Telecommunications New Professorship Incentive Award (2004)
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