Q&A With Kristy Pron 2015 Emerging Technologies Program Chair
July 7, 2015 12:37 pm
SIGGRAPH 2015 is the annual interdisciplinary education experience in the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques. The Emerging Technologies program started with the goal to demonstrate how innovative technologies are developed and can help pave the way for technologies that work in our daily lives for years to come. This program continues to showcase the advanced technologies in various industries, and this year is no different.
Kristy Pron is currently a Creative Technology Designer with Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando, Florida, where she is responsible for creating and supporting pre-visualizations of rides and attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort®. In addition, Kristy has her own design company, which creates projects ranging from children’s books to 3D modeling.
Kristy started volunteering at SIGGRAPH in 2006, and this year became the Emerging Technologies program chair. She sat down with us for a brief Q&A about the program.
Kristy Pron, chair of the Emerging Technologies exhibit at Siggraph 2015
Q&A with Kristy Pron
Q: You have volunteered at SIGGRAPH since 2006 in various capacities; last year you were Emerging Technologies producer and now you’re the chair. How did you first get interested in Emerging Technologies? How have you seen it change throughout the years?
Kristy Pron: I became interested in Emerging Technologies my first year as a student volunteer. I really enjoyed getting a chance to experience different technology throughout the day and interact with the attendees. Emerging Technologies was one of the few places where, as a student volunteer, you got more in-depth knowledge about the technology, and in turn, helped demo it to attendees. It’s interesting to see how the technology has built upon itself. It’s becoming cheaper and wider spread. Take VR for example. Only a few years ago it was a novelty that people only got to experience in entertainment venues, and now VR is on the verge of being in people’s homes.
Q: Emerging Technologies has been defined as a combination of work and play. How would you say each plays a part?
Kristy: For the SIGGRAPH 2015 program, we were looking for technologies with some “wow” factor that would make you stop and think, “This is cool and I could see using this to become more productive.” Emerging Technologies is a tricky thing. Researchers are doing amazing things and many times attendees struggle to find how some technologies would apply to them. We were trying to bring in a little something for everyone so that they would be able to see something and follow its development to hopefully help them or their company in the near future. Another thing we tried to do was uncover practical applications of emerging technologies in multiple industries.
Q: What new projects or demonstrations should we expect to see at SIGGRAPH 2015? What kinds of industries are involved?
Kristy: A: We brought in a wide range of industries this year including display technologies, assistive technologies, mobile and even the automotive industry. We were lucky to have Ford bring their Immersive Vehicle Environment. Ford is the first automaker to use a new, ultra-high-definition virtual reality lab that enables designers and engineers around the world to work together on vehicles in real time. We are also demonstrating a project from USC and Linköpings University that allows users to interact with life-sized 3D digital humans without special glasses or headgear
VibroSkate: A Locomation Interface with Exact Haptics and Kinesthesia © 2015 Tokyo Institute of Technology
Q. How has your current job helped you in seeing/predicting some emerging technologies?
Kristy: Disney is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, so I get a chance to research and test many different emerging technologies—some of which will be used in my job and other technology that will be tabled and used at a later time.
Q: How are non-traditional industries becoming part of the program? What are they bringing to the table?
Kristy: SIGGRAPH is known as a computer graphics conference, but there are many industries that use computer graphics. I recognized this first-hand working in the architecture industry, as well as the government, and now the theme park industry. For the 2015 event, I was trying to connect those industries with SIGGRAPH so Emerging Technologies would be a well-rounded venue, but also so that the conference can grow and expand with the all industries that are a part of the computer graphics world. As the computer graphics industry evolves, so does its contributors. Research and implementation of computer graphics is happening more and more across all disciplines so it’s only natural that we start bringing in the non-traditional industries to make a better program and conference.
Q: What were the key things you were looking for to be a part of the Emerging Technologies program?
Kristy: This year's goal was to create a fun and stimulating space that creates a sort of technology playground. We want attendees to be pulled in by some of the cool and visually exciting technologies we have and then stay and really experience all that Emerging Technologies has to offer.
Q: “Emerging Technologies” have always been one of the most popular programs at SIGGRAPH. Why do you think is that? What do attendees most look forward to? What do you think they’ll take away this year?
Kristy: I think Emerging Technologies is popular because it’s hands on. It’s one of the few places where you can actually experience the technology on your own and have a bit of a personal connection to the experience. In large conventions, you share the experience of the talk or keynote with thousands of other attendees, but when it’s just you experiencing something like the latest VR technology, it has a different more intimate feel.
Q: What kind of insights or learnings did you take away from past shows for which you volunteered that you now apply to Emerging Technologies as a program chair?
Kristy: Attendees want to see technologies that are fun but also useful because they are more likely to be interested in the demo if they can see a future application of it. Also attendees like to be wowed!
Q: What are you personally most excited about SIGGRAPH 2015’s Emerging Technologies?
Kristy: I’m excited to see everything actually! We worked hard to bring in a little something for everyone, and the venue is huge!
Q: Before we go, what one piece of advice would you give to a student who is interested in entering this field?
Kristy: Become a SIGGRAPH Student Volunteer. Meet new people and make connections! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation with the people around you. I have met some of the most influential people in my career at SIGGRAPH. The connections I made here directly paved the path to my position at Walt Disney Imagineering.
SIGGRAPH is the world's largest conference on computer graphics. It takes place once a year in a city somewhere in the U.S. or Canada, and is attended by tens of thousands of computer graphics professionals. SIGGRAPH 2015 will be held from August 9 through August 13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California.
SIGGRAPH is one of the most highly respected venues for the presentation of new computer graphics technology and research.
For more information about SIGGRAPH 2015, go to http://s2015.siggraph.org/.