Would-be entrepreneurs enrolled in a business of software course at the University of Toronto are being asked to play God in the digital realm.
The theme for the course, offered by the department of computer science, is “creating virtual humans” using virtual reality, or VR, technology provided by Quantum Capture, a local Toronto startup that provides tools for content creators working in VR, augmented reality (AR) and other 3D platforms.
The students will use Quantum Capture’s platform to create ultra-realistic 3D characters for a variety of potential industry applications – everything from building police training simulators to creating virtual tech support workers.
In effect, they will be putting a human face on virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.
“We like to think of it as the embodiment of a chat bot,” says Matt McPherson, a U of T alumnus and former sessional lecturer who’s now Quantum Capture’s head of corporate development.
The course’s instructors, Helen Kontozopoulos and Mario Grech, got the idea for the theme after Quantum Capture joined the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab, or DCSIL, where both Kontozopoulos and Grech are co-founders and directors. The lab is one of several entrepreneurial hubs at U of T, which has emerged as a leader in developing research-based startups. The accelerator focuses on growing startups that specialize in turning U of T research in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and blockchain into game-changing companies.
“This is the first time we’re actually leveraging teams out of our accelerator to produce the problem sets we use in the class for our students,” Grech says, adding that it’s possible some of the student-led teams may decide to pursue their startup ideas further by applying to DCSIL’s accelerator program upon completion of the course.
Read the full story at U of T News