Alcatel Picks UTD To Help With Second Design Project, This One for Mobile, Wireless Devices

In another example of the benefits of The University of Texas at Dallas’ participation in Alcatel’s Research Partner Program, the global communications network provider has selected UTD to collaborate with it on the design and demonstration of a next-generation, wireless Graphical User Interface (GUI) prototype for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), pocket PCs and other mobile devices.

It is the second project for which Alcatel has selected UTD – specifically, the university’s new Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering – as its collaborative design partner. The first involved a number of wire-based telecommunication products.

The 11-month collaborative effort is expected to run at least through December. Thomas E. Linehan, head of the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering, and Dean Terry, assistant professor in UTD’s School of Arts and Humanities, will direct the project; and Chip Wood, an adjunct professor at UTD and principal of Plano-based Ignition, Inc., will serve as the lead designer.

“We are delighted that Alcatel has selected UTD to work on a second project, one that is important to the company,” said Linehan, who joined UTD from The Ohio State University 15 months ago. “We intend to make sure that their confidence in us is deserved by coming up with a design that is technologically innovative, aesthetically pleasing and, most important, provides a competitive advantage to both Alcatel and to the end-user.”

UTD, which has had a long relationship with Alcatel, is one of only three U.S. research organizations selected by Alcatel for its global Research Partner Program, which was established in the fall of 2001 to foster technological innovation through relationships with key universities and research institutes. The program has three components – research collaboration; mobility, training and education; and incubation and start-up initiatives. The research partners are part of a select group likely to be consulted first regarding new Alcatel collaborative research topics.

“The Alcatel collaboration with Tom Linehan of the UTD Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering during 2002 was very useful and provided several innovative ideas for the design of graphical interfaces for use in the next generation communications services,” said Rajiv Shah, who is the vice president of Reseach and Network Strategy at Alcatel. “The perspective, talents, skills and experience provided by the UTD Institute are very complementary to the engineering design and development expertise available at the Alcatel Research and Innovation group in Plano. This year we hope to get similar innovative contributions in the design of multimodal user interfaces for new telecommunications applications and services.”

UTD’s Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering was established to provide students with an opportunity to learn about interactive advancements in the fields of communication, entertainment, education and training, as well as in scientific and medical applications. As part of their studies, students, along with faculty, are charged with inventing new pathways for the converging disciplines and fields.

The Institute is a collaborative, inter-disciplinary effort by two of UTD’s seven schools: the School of Arts and Humanities and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.