Immersive Displays Everywhere

Robert Kooima has a great page showing the variety of immersive displays that are possible!

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This week at ISVC

Come to the special track on Immersive Visualization at ISVC! It’s Wednesday 9/28 from 9:40-12:10. See you there. :-)

See this previous post for details.

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Interested in building a low-cost immersive vis display?

There’s a small community building around one instance of low-cost immersive vis display called the IQ-Station, which stands for “Inexpensive Interactive Immersive Interface,” and can be built for between $15-25k depending on the computers used and size of the display. Low-cost displays can be built for less, if you already have a good computer and don’t need the system to be on wheels. IQ-Stations have been built at the Idaho National Lab, Boise State U., U. of Idaho, Idaho State U., Idaho Museum of Natural History, and Indiana U.. Talk about a grass roots effort! I’d love to get a few at DRI! (multiple campuses)

Check it out at and have a look at the wiki if you want more details on building your own.

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Is your head off a little?

If you use an InterSense MicroTrax head tracker to keep track of your head, then it just might be off a little, 12.0mm to the right to be precise.

We wondered where exactly is the origin of the tracking coordinate system on one of these devices, so we asked. And here’s the answer: MicroTrax_Origins. Notice that if your head tracker has descriptor “08-06-2007 2.212″, then your origin is 12.0mm off-center due to a little error in the original descriptor.

Why does it matter? Well, imagine always looking at the world from 12mm to the side. Now imagine turning your head. That might be affecting users’ experiences and experiments. It’s best to check!

Rand at InterSense tells us that it is field reprogrammable (so it makes sense that some installations may already be fixed) and he recommends that users “contact if they need help changing the descriptors… it’s a little bit of effort.” He also assured us that it’s a low-risk procedure that probably won’t ‘brick’ your tracker.

Now go get your head on straight!

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Immersive Visualization Papers at ISVC’2011

Exciting news: There’s a special track of papers about immersive visualization coming soon at ISVC ( this year. This year, the conference moves up a couple of months to September 26-28, 2011. I hope to see you there!

Here are the papers in the track:

  • “Immersive Out-of-Core Visualization of Large-Size and Long-Timescale Molecular Dynamics Trajectories”. John E. Stone, Kirby L. Vandivort and Klaus Schulten
  • “The OmegaDesk: Towards A Hybrid 2D and 3D Work Desk”. Alessandro Febretti, Victor A. Mateevitsi, Dennis Chau, Arthur Nishimoto, Brad McGinnis, Jakub Misterka, Andrew Johnson and Jason Leigh
  • “Disambiguation of Horizontal Direction for Video Conference Systems”. M. Zhang , S. Rotkin and J. Schulze
  • “Immersive Visualization and Interactive Analysis of Ground Penetrating Radar Data”. M.R. Sgambati, S. Koepnick, D.S. Coming, N. Lancaster, and F.C. Harris, Jr.
  • “Handymap: A Selection Interface for Cluttered VR Environments Using a Tracked Hand-held Touch Device Mores Prachyabrued, David L. Ducrest and Christoph W. Borst”.
  • “Virtual Interrupted Suturing Exercise with the Endo Stitch Suturing Device”. Sukitti Punak, Sergei Kurenov and William Cance

Also of note, in other paper sessions:

  • “A Virtual Excavation: Combining 3D Immersive Virtual Reality and Geophysical Surveying”. Albert Yu-Min Lin, Alexandre Novoy, Philip P. Weber, Gianfranco Morelliy, Dean Goodmanz and Jurgen P. Schulze
  • “Involve Me And I Will Understand!–Abstract Data Visualization In Immersive Environments”. René Rosenbaum, Jeremy Bottleson, Zhuiguang Liu and Bernd Hamann
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Toirt Samhlaigh – Volume Visualization

It’s time for an immersive visualization tool spotlight: Toirt Samhlaigh (“Volume Visualization” in Irish Gaelic) is an open source slice-based volume rendering tool designed from the ground up with immersive displays in mind.  Built using VRUI (see my previous post), Toirt Samhlaigh works quite nicely on laptops, CAVEs, and low-cost immersive displays.  This tool was architected by Patrick O’Leary while at DRI and includes contributions from other researchers at DRI, INL, and Indiana U.

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Social Networking Upgrades

Recently, we added links for social networking and sharing below posts, as well as a twitter feed (song?) on the right so you can now keep up to date on all of the exciting immersive visualization news wherever you are!

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ISVC Keynote on Ubiquitous Displays

The International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC 2010) is next week! Please attend the special track on low-cost virtual reality and the various visualization talks. Also, Aditi Majumder will be delivering a keynote speech on “Ubiquitous Displays: A Distributed Network of Active Displays” (pdf abstract). Perhaps one day the displays for our visualizations will be all around us! Aditi has made significant contributions to multi-projector displays over the course of her research.

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There are many flavors of VR integration libraries out there to abstract away the immersive display hardware; the Wikipedia CAVE page lists many of them under software.  Most of them will do just fine for immersive visualization, but if you are new and need to pick one or just want a change, take a look at Oliver Kreylos’s VRUI.  He has built numerous immersive vis applications on it at UC Davis.  INL, DRI, and Indiana U. also build scientific visualization applications with VRUI.

What do we like about it?  It seamlessly spans from desktops to tiled display walls to CAVEs.  Many VR libraries have a desktop simulator mode, but few provide both a true desktop user experience and a fully-fledged immersive interface without burdening the application programmer to design both.

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“Researchers gain new perspective in the CAVE”

Check out what scientists are using immersive visualization for in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at INL: “Researchers gain new perspective in the CAVE”

Here are a few of the highlights from the article:

  • Engineering teams leverage the CAVE to visualize 3D models of a virtual nuclear reactor, the Advanced Test Reactor, for design evaluation, staff training, and subcontractor orientation.
  • Travis McLing visualizes LiDAR scans of the Malad Gorge in the INL CAVE to evaluate the site for potential long-term carbon storage.
  • “The immersive environment operates under a paradigm that places the users’ data at their fingertips.” – Patrick O’Leary.  Well put, Patrick!

CAMS posted a cool video on facebook too.

Thanks to Fred Harris at UNR for the link!
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