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USC takes its digital innovations to New York

The USC 2014 Global Conversation will give attendees a peek at the digital future

Orli Belman, Institute for Creative Technologies, Light Stage dome.
At the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, facial scans help create realistic virtual humans for Hollywood. (Photo/Institute for Creative Technologies )

USC will host its 2014 Global Conversation this week in the media capital of the world — New York City — offering East Coast alumni, friends and journalists a peek at the digital future.

The Oct. 15 event at Time Warner Center will include presentations on the changing experience of reality and the digital future of medicine, along with demonstrations by USC’s renowned immersive reality incubator, the Institute for Creative Technologies, home to innovations such as the open-source viewers that informed the design of the Oculus Rift headset.

 USC as a digital leader

USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett will host the “Defining Future Reality” showcase, inspired by the university’s 10-year, $1 billion Digital USC initiative.

“USC has for decades stood on the frontiers of digital research and technology that transform the way people live, learn and approach difficult challenges,” Garrett said. “The 2014 USC Global Conversation brings together leading voices from many disciplines and industries to build on this auspicious moment, when our institutional strength and vision directly align with societal need.”

Jimmy Iovine

(Photo: Sam Jones)

The keynote speaker will be Jimmy Iovine, co-founder/CEO of Beats Electronics and Beats Music, founder and former chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records unit, and namesake donor with Andre “Dr. Dre” Young to USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

Voices from the USC tech world

Speakers include:

  • Biological imaging leader Scott Fraser, who directs interdisciplinary research initiatives at USC and will discuss advances in biomedical imaging at the cellular level
  • Computer scientist Hao Li, a specialist in 3-D technology recently named one of the world’s top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review, on the implications of increasingly fast and affordable creation of 3-D content
  • Alex McDowell of the USC School of Cinematic Arts on how the creation of virtual worlds can influence real-world urban planning. McDowell pioneered world building in the film Minority Report and has developed it through initiatives such as the Leviathan Project.
  • Leslie Saxon on the digitization of medicine and the potential for continuous wireless diagnostics through wearable computing devices
  • Arthur Toga, director of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, a division of the USC Institute of Neuorimaging and Informatics that has one of the world’s largest archives of brain scans, on how scientists can use imaging and informatics to understand normal and abnormal brain function
  • Julie Zissimopoulos, an expert on access to health care at the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, on why strategies to delay aging are more cost-effective than disease-specific treatment or even prevention.

Immersion in digital innovation

Attendees also will experience hands-on demonstrations of immersive and virtual reality technologies developed at the Institute for Creative Technologies, such as the open-source virtual reality viewer that influenced Oculus Rift (also available for demonstration), an exposure therapy system for treating post-traumatic stress and a rapid generator of any user’s avatar for insertion into video games. Several of the institute’s innovations already have entered the mainstream, including realistic digital rendering of humans and immersive treatment of psychological conditions.

The USC Global Conversation in New York City follows the inaugural 2012 Global Conversation in London. The global conversation events are held every other year, alternating with a global conference series hosted by USC President C. L. Max Nikias.

For more information on the USC Global Conversation, including a full schedule, visit the event’s website.


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