The Central Florida Tech Grove will host the webinar, “Behind the Screams: The Groundbreaking Modeling & Simulation Innovations in a Disney Ride,” on Feb. 8 at 11:00 a.m. This event will be the start of an NTSA/Tech Grove Connect eight-part series focused on I/ITSEC 2023’s best papers and tutorials.

Central Florida’s modeling, simulation, and training (MS&T) community did not come into existence accidently or spontaneously. It resulted from a combination of historical factors that intersected at the right place in the Sunshine State and at the right time.

For example, the Space Coast’s establishment near Orlando required a “Space University” capable of producing a qualified, talented workforce that could make the U.S. competitive during the Space Race. This development was a significant factor in establishing Florida Technical University, now known as the University of Central Florida (UCF), shortly after the space program’s founding. (Approximately 34% of the Kennedy Space Center’s employees are UCF “Knights.”)

A tradition of military presence in Orlando, perhaps most obvious nowadays in Team Orlando’s armed forces representation that brings approximately $6 billion in contracts to the region, has also served an important role in Central Florida’s evolution as a tech hub on the rise.

Another factor that has contributed to the local MS&T space is the most obvious, and what most people traditionally associate Orlando with: theme parks. When Walt Disney announced the “Florida Project,” he set gears into motion that have consistently made Orlando one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Since then, Orlando has maintained its reputation as “America’s theme park capital” with attractions that have become increasingly high-tech to give guests new thrills. The technology that provides those experiences has not only had significant crossover use in military training, but that crossover isn’t anything new.

In the 1930s, Edwin Link, founder of Link Aviation Devices, sold an early version of its first trainer, the “Pilot Maker,” to amusement parks for entertainment purposes before he approached the U.S. Army Air Corps to pitch simulators for aviation training. Experts from the theme park industry were significantly involved in the development of the Navy’s “Battle Stations 21” simulator that trains sailors to react to disasters at sea.

The webinar’s speaker will be Dr. Kevin Hulme, program manager for the University of Buffalo’s Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics, who oversees its Motion Simulation Laboratory. He will discuss emerging technologies that go into attractions like Disney’s “Rise of the Resistance,” based on the Stars Wars franchise. Hulme’s focus areas include applied modeling and simulation (M&S), simulation science, transportation and vehicle M&S, game-based approaches in engineering education, human factors, and advanced air mobility. Hulme recently won the “Best Tutorial” award at I/ITSEC 2023 for “Behind the Screams: M&S Anatomy and Decomposition of a Contemporary Ride System Attraction.”

Click here to register.

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