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Embry-Riddle researcher gets Honda grant for hands-off instrument panel controls

Jan. 8, 2008, Prescott, AZ - Tarek El Dokor, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has been awarded a Honda Initiation Grant of $50,000 for the development of holographic instrument panel controls and displays.


January 8, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

Jan. 8, 2008, Prescott, AZ – Tarek
El Dokor, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, has been
awarded a Honda Initiation Grant of $50,000 for the development of
holographic instrument panel controls and displays.

The proposal by El Dokor, an assistant professor of electrical and
computer engineering at the Prescott, Ariz., campus of Embry-Riddle,
was selected from among 300 grant submissions. Five other U.S.
university professors also received the Honda grants.

According to El Dokor, the interactive instrument panel he is
developing will give the operator of a vehicle faster, safer, and more
efficient access to information. “It implements a software alternative
to what is currently a hardware solution to various controls,” he
explained. “Think iPhone, which has a software-based touch keypad,
versus current PDAs, which have actual keyboards. You don’t need to
touch any screens. Content is projected away from the dashboard and
toward the user, where the user can manipulate it in many ways.”

“Professor El Dokor’s work is a creative and innovative advancement in
human-machine interfaces,” said Christina Frederick-Recascino,
Embry-Riddle’s vice president for research. “We are proud that his work
has been recognized by Honda as advancing the development of new means
of interacting with computers and other technologies.”

El Dokor is director of the Embry-Riddle Machine Vision Lab (vision.pr.erau.edu),
where researchers investigate and develop machine vision, machine
perception, and robotics applications ranging from video games and
unmanned aerial vehicles to training programs and outdoor signage.

For example, his lab has developed a way for people to control the
movement of video game characters by moving their own body instead of a
joystick or controller. A camera captures the person’s movements,
sending messages through the computer system that tell on-screen
objects or contents what to do. One can also rotate or move something
on a computer screen by moving one’s finger a few inches away from the
screen.

The goal of the Honda Initiation Grant program is to fund innovative
ideas in the early stages of research that are likely to make valuable
contributions to technology over a longer term of five to 10 years.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully
accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers
more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences,
Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than
34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at
residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla.,
through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United
States, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East, and through online
learning. For more information, visit www.erau.edu