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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 23, 2007

Virtual Soldier Research Program Receives $370,000 Commercialization Grant

The Virtual Soldier Research (VSR) program housed in the University of Iowa College of Engineering Center for Computer Aided Design announced today that it has received a $370,000 Battelle Platform Technology grant from the state of Iowa. VSR leaders recently declared their intent to commercialize their software program called Santos(tm) in response to interest shown by various industries.

In fiscal 2007, the Iowa Legislature appropriated $20 million to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa for purposes of implementing economic development activities in biosciences, advanced manufacturing and information technology recommended in the Iowa Department of Economic Development's 2004-2005 Battelle reports. The legislation designates $6.8 million of the funding to be spent on "vertical infrastructure-related improvements associated with the implementation of the recommendations" and designates $8.2 million to be spent "for implementation of the recommendations."

"This funding from the state of Iowa and the UI vice president for research will give us a considerable boost towards making sure that this technology can indeed be transferred to many industries. We are very thankful to have this opportunity," said Karim Abdel-Malek, director of CCAD and VSR and professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering. He also noted that the group is looking for more venture capital funding to launch the technology worldwide.

The proposal written by VSR, titled "Commercialization of Santos(tm), a human simulation environment," was internally reviewed by the Office of the Vice President for Research, followed by a review by the Technology and Commercialization Resources Organization created by the Iowa Legislature, and final approval by the Board of Regents.

The initial funding will be used to advance the software toward commercialization, in terms of packaging, operability, added functionality, and deployability over various computer platforms.

The VSR Program was established in 2003 to conduct basic and applied research aimed at creating the most advanced human simulation tools.  While the program was first aimed at the military, it has grown very rapidly over the past three years, attracting national and international attention and a significant amount of external funding to the UI. The VSR program has active partnerships with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command Center, Caterpillar, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center and Rockwell Collins, in addition to a new partnership with Ford, GM, and Chrysler. The new funding means that the VSR program has secured over $13 million in external funding in the past three years.

Among its many accomplishments, the VSR program has been featured on the Discovery Channel; exhibited at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles; exhibited at Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) in San Francisco; hosted the SAE Digital Human Modeling Conference, the most prestigious international conference of its kind; and won best paper awards three times through its researchers.

VSR researchers include faculty, staff, scientists, engineers, clinical researchers, and graduate students from fields including engineering, gaming, psychology, biomechanics, human factors, computers, optimization and industrial design. Additional information can be found at:

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,