UCF computer science student Esteban Segarra ’22MS is making significant contributions to the field of virtual reality (VR) through his innovative research and projects. His commitment to pushing the boundaries of VR technology has earned him recognition and the prestigious $25,000 Google-Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) Dissertation Award. This article explores Segarra’s journey and the cutting-edge VR technologies he is developing.
Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Segarra had many options for his graduate studies. However, he chose to join the University of Central Florida (UCF) due to its esteemed reputation in computer vision. UCF provided Segarra with an optimal environment to hone his skills and pursue his passion for research.
At the forefront of Segarra’s work is the Infrastructure for Photorealistic Image and Environment Synthesis (I-SPIES) project. This initiative focuses on generating synthetic images from terrestrial scanners, with applications ranging from machine learning to the preservation of culturally significant buildings. Through I-SPIES, researchers can create accurate virtual representations of real-world environments.
Another project led by Segarra is the Capturing and Logging Ecological Virtual Experiences and Reality (CLEVER). CLEVER is an open-source tool and dataset that facilitates the capture of replicable data from various VR devices. This data can be used for machine learning algorithms and identifying personal characteristics. The potential applications of CLEVER extend to environmental studies and healthcare, promising advancements in these fields.
To support his research, Segarra developed a rendering pipeline using the tool RecolorCloud. This tool allows for the correction and modification of data from scanners, resulting in visually stunning photos. With RecolorCloud, Segarra aims to enhance the accuracy and realism of VR environments, offering immersive experiences.
Segarra’s vision as a researcher is to contribute to the advancement of VR technology and its applications, becoming a leading figure in academia. His dedication to his field is evident through his pursuit of a graduate degree and his involvement with CAHSI.
The Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) is committed to increasing Hispanic representation in computing. Segarra’s recognition through the Google-CAHSI Dissertation Award underscores his commitment to this mission. The award provides financial support to doctoral candidates during their final year of studies at CAHSI schools, enabling them to continue their research.
Segarra expresses his gratitude for the guidance and support he has received from his advisors, Ryan McMahan and Annie Wu. McMahan has played a pivotal role in Segarra’s growth as a researcher, while Wu has nurtured his interests in artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems. Their mentorship has fueled Segarra’s passion and inspired him to push the boundaries of VR technologies.
As Segarra’s research progresses, he encourages other students to pursue their goals with passion. He believes that a graduate degree not only helps individuals achieve their aspirations but also contributes to increasing diversity in computing. Segarra’s success serves as an inspiration to students interested in VR technologies, motivating them to make a difference in the field.
In conclusion, UCF student Esteban Segarra is revolutionizing VR technologies through his dedication and research. His projects, such as I-SPIES and CLEVER, are pushing the boundaries of virtual reality. With his visionary approach and the support of the Google-CAHSI Dissertation Award, Segarra is poised to become a leading figure in academia, driving the future of VR technologies and their applications.