Three New Labs Announced at ICT

Published: August 21, 2023
Category: News
Three New Labs Announced at ICT

The USC Institute for Creative Technologies, a unit of USC Viterbi, and Department of Defense (DoD) University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), sponsored by the US Army, is pleased to announce the launch of three new labs today:

Geospatial Terrain Research, led by Dr. Andrew Feng, as Associate Director

Geospatial Terrain Research is one of the earliest research tracks at ICT. Focusing on constructing high-resolution 3D geospatial databases for use in next-generation simulations and virtual environments, the group utilizes photogrammetric solutions, drone platforms, EO sensors and ICT’s own R&D processing pipeline to procedurally recreate 3D terrains with feature attributions. ICT has produced hundreds of 3D terrains in support of the US Army STTC, enabling crucial applications such as line-of-sight analysis, path finding, real-time terrain effects, concealment analysis, and more.

Dr. Feng holds a PhD and MS in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined ICT in 2011 as a Research Programmer specializing in computer graphics, then as a Research Associate focusing on 3D avatar generation and motion synthesis, before becoming a Research Computer Scientist within the Geospatial Terrain Research group.


Technology Evaluation Lab, led by Gale M. Lucas, PhD as Director

The Technology Evaluation Lab will conduct lines of research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) and Human-Building Interaction (HBI) with the goal to optimize interaction, and subsequent outcomes, between humans and social intelligence, including virtual agents, social robots, and other social interfaces in the built environment. 

Dr. Lucas holds a BA in Psychology from Willamette University, a PhD in Psychology from Northwestern University, and did her postdoctoral study in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Southern California (USC). She joined ICT in 2013 as a Researcher in the Affective Computing Lab and also holds a position as Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering, USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Alongside her new role as Director, Technology Evaluation Lab, Dr. Lucas will continue to serve as Co-Director of CENTIENTS, Center for Intelligent Environments, a cross-disciplinary partnership with the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California.


Virtual Human Therapeutics Lab, led by Sharon Mozgai as Director

The Virtual Human Therapeutics Lab (VHTL) will use conversational AI agents inside evidence-based mHealth software applications. Through interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and development, VHTL will demonstrate the role virtual humans can play in promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being.

Sharon Mozgai holds a Masters in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, a B.A. in Psychology from New York University (NYU), and has worked as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School (Organizational Behavior Unit), and as a Text Analyst at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a DARPA-funded natural language processing (NLP) study. She joined ICT in 2015 as a Research Analyst in the Virtual Humans Group, then served as a Lead R&D Scientist, before becoming Associate Director of MedicalVR, drawing on psychology, medicine, neuroscience, physical and occupational therapy, to evaluate where Virtual Reality (VR) could add value over traditional assessment and clinical intervention approaches.


Established in 1999, the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) is a Department of Defense (DoD) University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), sponsored by the US Army. Harnessing Hollywood-derived creativity with academic innovation and military-domain expertise, ICT conducts award-winning R&D in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Graphics, Geospatial Sciences, Human Performance, Learning Sciences, Modeling, Simulation & Gaming, Mixed Reality (MxR), Medical VR, Narrative, and Virtual Humans. ICT accomplishments include: 2,000 Peer-Reviewed Publications with 100,000+ Citations; 140+ Honors and Awards Highlighting Faculty and Staff; 49 Hollywood Movies/Series use ICT Technologies; 278 Intellectual Property Disclosures; 29 Patents; 3 AAAI Fellows and 2 Academy Awards (Science & Technology).
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