Researchers at the University of California, San Diego’s Calit2 Visualization team have constructed the “NexCAVE”, a 9-screen rig built from LCD monitors for immersive visualization.
Researchers from the group have constructed a three-column, nine-panel 3D display using flat screens from JVC, stereoscopic glasses, and “game PCs with high end NVIDIA game engines.” Dubbed NexCAVE, it’s a much more inexpensive version of the its projector-powered StarCAVE used for data analysis, although its range is more limited — on the plus side, however, since this is LCD, it can be used in bright rooms.
The resolution is only 6000×1500, making it only 9 megapixel, but the cost savings alone make it attractive.
via Nine HDTVs form 3D visualization rig, but only in the name of science.
Jody Strausser is an assistant professor of modeling and simulation at TCC, Tidewater Community College, where he was invited to setup a two-year program specializing in computer modeling. He quickly realized that they needed a good visualization lab for it to be effective, and with tiled-displays being all the rage he begun to look into costly projectors to build an immersive full-scale visualization system.
Strausser, instead, went with Mersive Technologies’ Mersive Desktop, which combines the images from three off-the-shelf projectors (TCC’s are from Canon) into one large, seamless image. The program is run from a desktop or laptop computer, and it can project any content that can run on the computer. The trick, though, is that Mersive Desktop uses its own software and a camera to calibrate the images, reading specific feedback patterns from the projectors, feeding the information to Mersive’s server software, and the software automatically aligns the projectors (in the software). It basically tells the computer how to “stitch” the projector outputs together to form a large, seamless display.
But what are the benefits of this large 27-foot screen?
Strausser said that when viewing modeling and simulation projects on a small computer screen, it is easy to overlook some of the details. With the large screen, students realize their work will be seen by the entire class, so they want their work to be precise. “With projection, students who created a tank, for example, may see that the tank is actually floating above the ground. On a 27-foot screen, those details really stick out.”
Engaging Students with Giant Visualization — Campus Technology.
Over the last several years, Tiled Displays have slowly transitioned from costly blended-projection systems to LCD walls. The LCD walls are typically cheaper to build and maintain, but the bezels are a common source of complaints. Two visualization professors at Texas A&M University are finally going to settle the debate between the two technologies to see if there really is any perceivable benefit to one vs the other.
McNamara and Parke are in the right place to do the research, they say. Texas A&M’s Halbouty Geosciences Building houses the Immersive Visualization Center (IVC), a 25-foot by 8-foot curved screen that uses three rear projectors to provide a seamless display. The IVC provides advanced visualization capabilities to researchers at Texas A&M through its capability to display images of very large datasets from disciplines such as geophysics, life and physical sciences, engineering and architecture. During the study, in addition to showing test subjects the IVC’s seamless images, the researchers will use the IVC’s software to introduce seams into the images measuring .75, 1.25 and 2.50 inches wide.
“We want to ascertain if the physical presence of seams actually aids performance,” said McNamara. The researchers will be able to compare any differences viewers experience with the 1.25-inch virtual seams test subjects encounter on the IVC display.
If their hypothesis is proven correct, researchers and educators in many fields, said McNamara, can proceed with the knowledge that using the far more affordable flat-panel screen system will provide viewers with the same experience as the high-end, seamless displays.
I look forward to seeing the results when the study is finished. Read the full announcement after the break.
Large Format Displays, especially Tiled Displays, are becoming more and more popular. They’re nothing new, having been around for over a decade. A quick search of the internet finds Princeton’s 18 Megapixel wall back in 1999. SGI was demonstrating projection-based multi-screen walls back in the mid 90′s, calling them Powerwalls. Currently, the Texas Advanced Computing Center has a 300+ MegaPixel wall called Stallion in operation.
But what do all these pixels get you? Is More Pixels like More Horsepower, you can never get enough? Or is there a diminishing return? Have we already hit the maximum needed? How many pixels can the human eye process? Let’s find out.
Graphics, Hardware, Science