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    2022.09.02 ESG

    NC’s Scholarship Program Supports Future Talents in the Game Industry

    NC invests in the infinite possibility of technologies, because we cannot achieve our mission to connect joy beyond physical boundaries without it. Therefore, NC is making efforts not only to enhance internal R&D capabilities, but also to nurture talents for development of future technologies.

    The industry-university cooperation program with KAIST is one of the most notable examples of these efforts. NC has jointly operated courses with KAIST Graduate School of Culture Technology since 2020 to teach knowhow and insight for game development (Link to article). NC also provides scholarship to the PhD students that study game technology.

    This article will introduce Jinwook Kim and Dongseok Yang, students listed for the NC academic scholarship in 2021. Read about the cutting-edge game technologies that are attracting much attention from academia through this interview on their research subjects.

    Could you briefly explain about the research that you are carrying out and the field of your interest?

    Jinwook Kim   My PhD study is based on the subject of converging the field of cognitive science and computer engineering. I am carrying out a research to quantitatively measure the user’s cognitive process based on the data tracing their brain waves and eye gaze in virtual reality (VR). I am also carrying out a research to build a system where users would utilize ‘*SSVEP (Steady-State Visually Evoked Potential)’ in VR to prompt communication between human begins and computers.

    Dongseok Yang   The research that I am carrying out is about creating whole-body movements of virtual avatars, utilizing user information collected through VR devices. The aim of this project is to generate interactive movements between virtual objects and virtual avatars in addition to simple locomotive movements.

    *SSVEP – Steady-State Visually Evoked Potential: Brain signals that occur in occipital lobe in response to visual stimulus of certain frequency

    What led you to gain interest in your field of research?

    Jinwook Kim   Back in college, I was interested in materializing my imagination into reality. Upon graduation, I began to wonder about the impact that the system I built could have on people, and that was why I became interested in HCI*. I entered graduate school to study more about HCI but felt limitations in research methodologies that were based on surveys and interviews. Therefore, I wanted to study ways to assess user experience on a real time basis in the field of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) that I had been interested in.

    Dongseok Yang   Avatars should be able to move naturally in order to enhance the sense of immersion and reality in VR/AR applications. We used to measure movement through attaching full-body trackers on actual human beings in order to create virtual avatars that would replicate whole-body movements. However, it was difficult to create natural movements based on such a method, and the method also had a limitation that it could only be used in controlled environment. Hence, I wanted to study ways for users to easily use whole-body avatars under different environments.

    *HCI(Human Computer Interaction) – A field of research to design operating systems to enable easy and convenient interaction between human beings and computers and to evaluate the systems

    What made you apply to NC’s scholarship program and how has the program helped with your study and research process?

    Jinwook Kim   I have been wanting to receive feedback on my current research subject from professors and professionals. Fortunately, I was told that NC was recruiting scholarship students and submitted my application. After being selected as a recipient of the scholarship, I could get not only practical support, but also confidence and momentum for my research. As a result, my paper, “Exploration of the Virtual Reality Teleportation Methods using Hand-tracking, Eye-tracking, and EEG”, was recently accepted by International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction (IJHCI, IF: 4.92). Also, the VR-mobile cross-platform game, “SEUNG-EE & KKAEBI”, developed with other team members during the game design course jointly conducted by NC and KAIST, was selected as a finalist in ACM CHI Play 2022 Student Game Design Competition, and we are waiting for the final result.

    Dongseok Yang   I have known that NC was investing much in the research of character animation. Therefore, I became more interested in NC’s scholarship program after being told that there was such a program, and I applied to the program, wondering how the company would evaluate my research results. The experience of being selected as a recipient of NC’s scholarship and being recognized by others further motivated me to carry out study and research. Also, I could greatly enhance my research efficiency through replacing equipment and getting personal servers using the scholarship money that I was awarded.

    * A VR-mobile cross-platform game, “SEUNG-EE & KKAEBI”, developed by Jinwook Kim and his team

    • * Participants: Jinwook Kim, Buseung Ko, Seokjoon Kang, Hyunyoung Jang and faculty members of KAIST Graduate School of Culture and Technology (Professor Juhan Nam, Youngyim Doh, Jeongmi Lee)

    You have carried out diverse research activities related to games. How do you expect game content would evolve based on such collective efforts and achievements?

    Jinwook Kim   I hope that my research would interact with the research of others to contribute to development of VR/AR technology so that as in the movie <Ready Player One>, VR would become another type of living space for someone to work in or to enjoy content like movies. By then, a new genre that is beyond the boundary of existing game genres like action and FPS and is closely connected with our everyday lives will be created.

    Dongseok Yang   I believe that games are a kind of ‘metaverse’, since it immerses users based on extensive world views and original stories. Since technologies surrounding games are developing at a fast speed, I believe that VR/AR technology would become one of the ways to provide users with more vivid and realistic playing experiences in the near future.

    Lastly, what are the objective and vision that you would like to achieve as a researcher?

    Jinwook Kim   I would like to discover new possibilities that are hidden in the biological signals of human beings, using machine learning and quantum computing. Also, I would like to become a researcher that connects various disciplines, as the importance of convergence increases in academia. To this end, I would like to understand the trend and the possibility of each research area and enhance my understanding of the elements that could complement individual areas. I believe that the developments made with NC’s scholarship program would be greatly help me achieve these objectives.

    Dongseok Yang   My initial objective is to finish the on-going research project successfully. I have not yet experienced having my paper being accepted to the best journals in my field of research. I am wishing to achieve this goal with the paper that I am currently working on. I have not put much thought into my next career paths after graduation yet, but what I would like to continue is research. I am considering options to become a postdoctoral researcher or to apply to corporate research institutes.