A leading global expert in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, Dr Dieter Schmalstieg is co-founder of Reactive Reality, a professor at Graz University of Technology, and winner of this year’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s prestigious Humboldt Research Award..
Considered one of the most respected scientific awards in Germany, and backed by a grant of €5 million for five years, the award will also see Dr Schmalstieg take on the role of Humboldt Professor at the University of Stuttgart. Dr Schmalstieg will be joining the world-leading Department of Computer Science and Clusters of Excellence IntCDC and SimTech.
Dr Schmalstieg gained his PhD in technical sciences from TU Wien university, Austria, which began his career in the development of VR technologies. In 2004, the augmented and virtual reality expert became a professor at Graz University of Technology, and in 2012, head of the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision at the university – which has expanded significantly thanks to his work.
It was during his early years working as a professor at Graz University that Dr Schmalstieg also met his fellow Reactive Reality co-founders – Stefan Hauswiesner, Philipp Grasmug, and Philipp Pani – while working on their joint research into visual computing and augmented reality. Together, the team have combined Dr Schmalstieg’s research and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and human interaction with the aim of achieving Intelligence Amplification (IA), with their research and knowledge of visual computing and augmented reality. The result was the creation of their patented virtual try-on solution – PICTOFiT. In 2014, the team co-founded Reactive Reality.
The Humboldt Research Award offers not only financial backing but also access to the best research facilities in Germany to conduct leading-edge research. This year’s winner has been selected from a group of six leading international researchers, including developmental biologist Miki Ebisuya, cell biologist Daniel Jobst Müller, and quantum information scientist Robert Raußendorf, all working at the top of their fields in developmental and cell biology, quantum information, computer graphics, and various aspects of artificial intelligence.
When speaking about the award, Dr Dieter Schmalstieg expressed, “I am both humbled and delighted to have been selected as the winner of such a prestigious and well-recognised prize from a group of incredibly talented people within the industry.” His legendary research and life’s work are now being recognised internationally, and the award will only further Schmalstieg’s work in the fields of virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
The new position at the University of Stuttgart, which houses one of the best Visualisation Research Centres in the world, will also offer greater developmental opportunities to Dr Schmalstieg and his team, working amongst other world-renowned scientists. “It is a great honour for me to be accepted there”, said Dr Schmalstieg when discussing his new role.
Dieter Schmalstieg will move from TU Graz, Austria, to the University of Stuttgart in the new year where his work in the fields of VR, AI, IA, and AR will continue.