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Funding, Grants & Awards

UC Berkeley Researchers Win Augmented Reality Grant

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have won a $100,000 grant to continue their work using augmented reality to make it easier for people to control autonomous aerial vehicles commonly known as "drones."

The team, led by three faculty members from the UC Berkeley Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab, is one of five teams from around the country that were selected as recipients of the Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research Grant Program. The grant program challenged applicants to come up with ideas that could "harness the potential of Microsoft HoloLens and push the boundaries of possible applications for holographic computing," according to information from Microsoft. As part of the award, the team won two Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition virtual reality headsets to use in their research. The team has previously received grants from NASA and the Office of Naval Research.

Shankar Sastry, the dean of the College of Engineering at Berkeley and one of the project's leads, launched the research initiative three years ago in partnership with researchers and students in electrical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering and psychology at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and UCLA. Together they have been working to develop a simplified user interface that would enable an individual to pilot multiple autonomous aerial vehicles using the Microsoft HoloLens. One potential application for the technology could be to search for survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

An undergraduate student from the Virtual Reality @ Berkeley club is also leading a group of undergraduates "to develop augmented reality solutions for drones with the principal investigators' research groups," according to information from the university.

Research teams from Carnegie Mellon University, Dartmouth College, Virginia Tech and Clackamas Community College & Intel rounded out the list of Microsoft HoloLens grant recipients.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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