Former astronaut serves as keynote speaker at international virtual reality conference

Scott Parazynski

Scott Parazynski, a decorated physician and astronaut recently inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, will be the keynote speaker of an international virtual reality conference Dec. 7-9 at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. 

The conference brings together researchers, developers, and academics to share their expertise on virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and 3-D user interfaces.

ICAT-EGVE 2016 is the merger of the International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence (ICAT) and the Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments (EGVE). The conference was organized by the Emerging Analytics Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, director of the UALR Emerging Analytics Center, served as the conference’s co-chair.

“It’s a great opportunity to see exciting new research presentations, innovative ideas, and inspiring conversations in virtual and augmented reality,” Cruz-Neira said. “Come and mingle with the leading virtual reality and augmented reality scientists, industry professionals and visionaries, share your ideas and experiences, and try the newest technologies displayed at the Virtual Reality Plaza exhibit area.”

Attendees will explore and experience the intriguing dynamics of virtual and augmented reality that include scientific applications, engineering environments, architectural designs, training activities, educational experiences, business analytics, game prototypes, and art spaces. Featured applications will be demonstrated using the CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, a 180-degree immersion dome, a variety of mobile devices, and more.

In his Thursday, Dec. 8, keynote address, “Extreme Environments as a Catalyst for Innovation,” Parazynski will highlight defining moments of his career when perseverance and multidisciplinary collaboration sparked innovative solutions under the most extreme conditions. His speech will also include innovative approaches to supporting virtual reality for medical applications. The speech will begin at 9:15 a.m. Thursday at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Parazynski is a veteran of five spaceflights, spending 47 hours on spacewalks. He holds the distinction of being the only person to have both flown in space and summited Mt. Everest.

The conference’s second keynote speaker, Rudolph Darken, director of research for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security and professor of computer science at the Naval Postgraduate School, will speak at 9:15 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Darken’s keynote speech, “Innovation, Entrepreneurialism, and Intellectual Property from a Technologist’s Point of View,” will cover the key elements of taking an idea from conception to a commercialized product, especially in a university setting.

Members of the conference will receive an exclusive tour of the UALR Emerging Analytics Center on Thursday.

To register for the conference, visit the registration website.

For more information, visit the ICAT-EGVE 2016 website or contact Kendra Boyle at 501.682.2310 or

About the Emerging Analytics Center

The Emerging Analytics Center ( at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a convergence of expertise in virtual, augmented and mixed reality, visual analytics, and immersive visualization. The EAC brings together innovative faculty, talented students, experienced researchers, and dynamic industry partners to address large-scale problems to support and advance our state’s competitiveness, technological innovation, and visionary leadership.

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