Endowed Chair Receives Prestigious International Award for Virtual Reality

Endowed Chair Receives Prestigious International Award for Virtual Reality

Gregory F. Welch, PhD, with the physical-virtual patient bed or PVPB prototype.

Endowed Chair Gregory F. Welch, a computer scientist and engineer on faculty in the UCF College of Nursing, was recently honored with the 2018 IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award for his contributions to human motion tracking and mixed reality applications in medicine and training.

Presented by the Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology, the award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the community through their research.

“Greg’s enthusiasm for the pursuit of using virtual reality to improve our everyday life is truly inspiring,” said Professor Betty Mohler, Technical University of Darmstadt and 2018 IEEE Virtual Reality conference general chair. “His energy is a key ingredient to getting this technology to be helpful in the more challenging aspects of medical training, such as social interactions and personalized aspects of medicine.”

Welch has more than 25 years of experience in the field of virtual reality technology. His publications related to human motion tracking have been cited nearly 10,000 times. He has also co-authored more than 100 publications and is a co-inventor on multiple patents, including a new simulated patient that brings the “human factor” to health care training. An innovator and active researcher in the field, Welch currently has more than $3.8 million in research funding.

In addition to serving as the Florida Hospital Endowed Chair in Healthcare Simulation at the College of Nursing, Welch is a co-director of the UCF Synthetic Reality Laboratory and holds additional faculty appointments in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the UCF Institute for Simulation & Training.

Welch recently received the award at the 25th annual IEEE Virtual Reality conference in Reutlingen, Germany. The conference is the largest, most respected and prestigious in the field of virtual reality and three-dimensional computer interfaces. More than 500 academic and industry experts from over 20 countries attended this year’s event.

“I am extremely humbled to receive this award, as it involves considerable effort on the part of many deserving people,” said Welch. “These individuals inspire me to keep pushing forward for all of us.”

The IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award was established in 2005. Welch is the second UCF professor to have received the prestigious international honor. Kay Stanney, a former professor and trustee chair in the UCF Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Department, received the honor in 2006.