Sheldon Andrews

A new professor to the Software and IT Engineering Department

July 25, 2017
It’s no accident that Sheldon Andrews has chosen to take up residence in Montréal. As a matter of fact, the City is ranked very highly in the international video gaming sector. The same is true for the fields of virtual reality, special effects, animation and simulation, all of which are directly related to the expertise of this Professor-Researcher, who recently joined the Software and IT Engineering Department at ÉTS.

sheldon andrews ETS
At ÉTS, Professor Andrews will continue his work aimed at increasing the level of accuracy in terms of depicting virtual worlds, along with improving interactions with users.

A native of Newfoundland, Sheldon Andrews earned his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Memorial University in St-John’s, and has devoted the bulk of his research to two main subjects: real-time physical simulation and animation of 3-D characters.

He started out studying haptics at the University of Ottawa where one of his accomplishments during his Master’s studies was the development of a system for modelling textures, which is a useful technique for the creation of immersive video games and for training simulators.

After earning his Master’s degree, Professor Andrews worked as a Software Developer at CM Labs Simulations, a company that specializes in training simulators for construction equipment. Thanks to the technology that was developed by this Montréal-based firm, with which Sheldon Andrews continues to collaborate, heavy machinery operators can learn to handle their equipment in a virtual environment before working at a real jobsite.

At the Ph.D. level, Sheldon Andrews pushed his expertise even further, specifically exploring the animation of hands and articulated mechanisms at McGill University. The objective of this work is to improve the appearance, modelling and control of grasping mechanisms.

This line of research led him to Edinburgh, Scotland, where he joined Disney Research for a post-doctoral internship. During this time, he developed a system that allows for the movements of actors to be projected directly into a virtual universe using a minimum of sensors. As a result, the actor is not inconvenienced by sensors, and is able to concentrate more on the performance.

He returned to McGill for a second post-doctoral project focusing on the performance, stability and efficiency of real-time physical simulations.

Research topics

At ÉTS, Professor Andrews will continue his work aimed at increasing the level of accuracy in terms of depicting virtual worlds, along with improving interactions with users.

Improving the efficiency and speed of physical simulation mechanisms

In order to produce simulations that are extremely rich in detail, such as in the movie industry, many hours of work are required for the synthesis of images or movements. This is problematic when working in real time, which is the case in video games or virtual reality. In light of this, Professor Andrews is working to develop more efficient and faster algorithms that will streamline the process.

3-D control and animation using scaled-down models

In his ongoing quest to optimize simulation, Sheldon Andrews works with scaled-down virtual models, decreasing the number of parameters required to reproduce physical behaviours. This is also crucial in terms of controlling 3-D characters, because it means that complex tasks can be executed by changing only a few parameters.

Creating models for movements involving high levels of physical interaction

Most methods for capturing real movement only work for a single character moving alone. Sheldon Andrews aims to increase the knowledge in this field by capturing data that will allow for analysis of more complex scenarios, where a character interacts with others or with the surrounding environment. This type of data collection will ultimately lead to enhanced quality in terms of capturing these interactions.

Pour information
Service des communications ÉTS
Emmanuelle Berthou
514 396-8427

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