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Greg Cook joins HP Labs to help build next generation mobile experiences

Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology journalist



Just a couple of months after joining HP’s Mobile and Immersive Experience (MIX) Lab, researcher Greg Cook is already wrapping up his first project.


“I’ve been looking at how you can transmit 3D depth-sensing data,” he explains. “As it turns out, the data's a little awkward to process, so we’ve been trying to improve how it gets compressed and then decompressed.”


Cook’s now sharing his new method for low-latency 3D data transmission with his colleagues. The MIX team is charged with advancing how we interact with our mobile devices and, through them, with the rest of the world. And while mobile devices don’t currently offer 3D sensing, they expect them to before long.


“We think that this sort of sensing capability is coming,” says Cook. “You’ll be able to move your device around in front of you and out of that build 3D maps of your environment. But for that to work you have to send the data up quickly into the cloud and then have it sent fast back to your phone, which is what I’ve been working on.”


The project is part of a broader research effort known as MOXIE (Mobile Cloud Experience Interaction), investigating how novel mobile sensing capabilities might combine with cloud computing to create a new generation of interactive mobile experiences.


“The key here is to deliver the experience, but not have it be such a drain on your device that it only runs for an hour,” Cook suggests. “So we also need backend servers that are super-fast to make all this work in real time.”


Modern Cloud-based servers compress their data by running thousands of processors in parallel. It’s a return to a technique that Cook researched over a decade ago, but that proved less attractive as new generations of computer chips kept running faster than the last. Once again, though, it’s become essential to run processors in parallel in order to power cloud operations, and thus much of Cook’s past research is finding new relevance.


Cook comes to HP Labs from FutureWei Technologies, where he developed new techniques for video object transmission and color correction for an augmented reality-based telepresence system. Before that he was a Lead Systems Engineer at Technicolor in Indianapolis.  


A former U.S. Air Force officer, Cook taught electrical engineering at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and at Indiana University. He’s the recipient of an Intel Foundation graduate fellowship, and was a postdoctoral research associate at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He holds a BEE and MSEE from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his PhD from Purdue University.


Next up, Cook will be refining his 3D transmission research while also exploring the new mobile services that could result from solving some of the harder challenges in real-time data compression and transmission.  


“This is more or less a dream job for me,” he says, “because it entails imagining the future and it’s also about getting your hands dirty and really demoing things.  So you get both sides of a really neat coin.”

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