2017 2018

August 20, 2019


It has been a great honor to serve the Blended Reality applied research program
during its second year at Yale University. From its inception, the program was
designed to transcend boundaries of traditional academic inquiry. This year proved
especially successful in uniting diverse fields of study, exemplified by the fruits of
collaborative teamwork. As a result, Blended Reality has become a site where
scientific and creative inquiries dissolve boundaries of academic discipline and
advance new paradigms in interdisciplinary learning, human-computer interaction
(HCI), and immersive design.

This year our research was organized into four campus centers: the Center for
Collaborative Arts and Media; the Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Design;
the Center for Teaching and Learning; and the School of Medicine. Our teams met
regularly to share work, interests, and goals, and new collaborations were born in
the intersections that emerged. In the ten years that I have served at Yale, I have
not previously witnessed such open collaboration, shared enthusiasm, and
collective problem-solving as I have observed among our Blended Reality teams
this year. Whether exploring multi-sensory perception or basic human anatomy in
virtual reality, expanding the lexicon of the digital humanities through immersive
media tools, or exploring models of acoustical material fabrication and HCI in
digital music interfaces, our teams continually found new ways to engage each
other and blur the lines between arts and science research. While the structural
organization of our research plays a small part in the program’s success, the real
accomplishments lie in the passions, dedication, and collegiality of my colleagues.

I would like to thank several colleagues for their spirited work. In addition to the
faculty and students who participated in each of our teams, I thank my partner,
Randall Rode, for his superb leadership in making connections among academic
disciplines throughout campus. I would also like to thank Jennifer Glass, Miriam
Schroers, and Kati Gegenheimer for their unfailing support, goodwill, and tireless
behind-the-scenes efforts to make this program succeed. Blended Reality could
not have achieved such level of accomplishment without them. Additional thanks
go to our campus partners Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (CITY), the
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Franz Hartl’s team at Yale
Information Technology Services, who were instrumental in organizing our Mixed
Reality Hack-a-thon and other Blended Reality events.

This program was made possible by the generous support of our partners at HP.
As our teams tackled questions in their research, our HP partners provided
essential expertise, insight, and dialog. Dana Stepp has supported us throughout
every step of the process, and Alex Thayer’s team at the Immersive Experiences
Lab provided a model for creativity and innovation. Alex’s generosity in opening
his lab to our Blended Reality program acted as a catalyst for some truly inspired
research at Yale. Finally, I would like to thank Gus Schmedlen, vice president of
Worldwide Education at HP. It’s Gus’ vision that actualized Blended Reality and
enabled our Campus of the Future to thrive.

Johannes DeYoung
Director, Center for Collaborative Arts and Media
Senior Critic, Yale School of Art