IPaT In-Depth Spotlight: Gheric Speiginer
Gheric Speiginer is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing at Georgia Tech, advised by Blair MacIntyre, professor in the School of Interactive Computing. The southern California native received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Hampton University. Speiginer is interested in exploring novel user interfaces and interaction techniques, particularly those that exploit the unique capabilities of augmented reality.
What are you currently researching?
My focus is in augmented reality (AR). One aspect of my research is developing the software tools and semantics necessary to express the rich AR content that is envisioned by AR content designers. The other aspect of it is developing software abstractions and architectures that enable the use of multiple AR apps at the same time in the same space.
How did you become interested in augmented reality?
I sort of stumbled into it. In undergrad, I did an internship at Brown University with a professor in the robotics department. I had noticed these strange black and white images that were placed around the room, which I’d never seen before. So I asked about them, and I found out they were "markers" which were used as part of a computer vision tracking system, and then I started researching more about computer vision on my own. I found out that these kinds of "markers" were also used in certain augmented reality toolkits, and that led me to start researching more into augmented reality. Eventually I decided to start experimenting with AR in my dorm room, just for fun. I had an idea to combine several projects I learned about, and I didn’t have all of the same equipment, but I basically found a different way to do it using some open source computer vision software. Through that, I ended up learning more about augmented reality, and every time I would research stuff online I kept seeing Georgia Tech over and over again, especially papers by Blair MacIntyre. It was at that point that I realized Georgia Tech would be a great fit for grad school.
Gheric Speiginer displays his augmented reality interface that shows how robots are functioning
How has your experience been at Georgia Tech?
It’s been really cool being exposed to all sorts of interesting projects here at Georgia Tech. Everybody’s brilliant and I’ve been able to have all sorts of opportunities with some of the leading researchers in the field. It’s just been really amazing.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’ve considered academia, but I’m definitely leaning more towards industry. On the one hand I do enjoy teaching and tutoring and I’ve done a lot of that in the past, so I could see myself doing some part time teaching. But I’ll probably go into industry first and perhaps eventually become a consultant and do something more entrepreneurial. I've also become increasingly interested in alternate (post-scarcity) economic systems in the last several years, so another thing I will definitely want to explore after I graduate is how we can use technology to introduce and facilitate new ways of living and working together as a society.
Photos by: Joshua Preston
Graphics by: Raul Perez