Manni Wong: Serious Fun

Wong designs electronics and control systems for rides and attractions at Disney parks worldwide

4 min read
Photo of Manni Wong
Enjoying the Ride: For Manni Wong, having fun is part of the job.
Photo: ©Disney

When you climb aboard Soarin’ Over California, a virtual reality flight simulator at Disneyland, in Anaheim, Calif., you buckle yourself in and prepare for “takeoff.” Soon, you start to move upward and forward until you’re suspended in midair, completely surrounded by a domed, 24-meter screen. As breathtaking scenes of California rush by and a thundering soundtrack swells in the background, your seat continues to sway and rock, dip and lift, while a light breeze blows across your face, and it feels, really feels, like you’re flying.

Designing such a ride requires a good amount of technical expertise, but visitors don’t need to know that, says Manni Wong, a ride engineer for Walt Disney Imagineering, in Glendale, Calif., the creative force behind Disney’s parks and resorts. “It should all be seamless to the audience,” she says. The ultimate goal is to create a fun experience that is unique for the visitor, then replicate that unique experience every 5 minutes, 365 days a year, for millions of other visitors.

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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New AI Speeds Computer Graphics by Up to 5x

Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.

NVIDIA

On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!