The CAVEman 4D visual system

July 31, 2008
Calgary, Alberta, Canada -- The University of Calgary's Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics is home to the CAVEman project. The project aims to create visual maps of information about diseases that have a genetic component, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. The CAVE, an immersive virtual reality environment, will let researchers "see" specific disease processes and the effects of interventions.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada -- The University of Calgary's Sun Center of Excellence for Visual Genomics is home to the CAVEman project. The project aims to create visual maps of information about diseases that have a genetic component, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Using an immersive virtual reality environment called the CAVE, the research team will integrate a high-resolution digital atlas of a human body with medical data related to specific diseases. The final result will be a next-generation 4D (space and time) visual system to "see" disease processes and the effects of interventions, such as drugs, on these processes.

Pictured here is center director Christoph Sensen in the CAVE, a room-sized immersive virtual reality environment made up of four projection walls, a tracking system, and hand wand. Users wear electronic shutter glasses (stereo-glasses) which create the 3D perspective.

The CAVE, put together by advanced display systems company Mechdyne, combines high-resolution, stereoscopic projection and 3D computer graphics to create the illusion of complete sense of presence. It enables scientists to interact and view three-dimensional models of biological systems, including cells, tissues and entire organisms.

According to Mechdyne, more CAVEs are installed in visualization facilities around the world than any other spatially immersive display system. The CAVE is available with four projected surfaces (three walls and floor); five surfaces, or fully enclosed six-surface configurations for complete virtual immersion. Its resolution is scaleable to 100,000,000 pixels and more by using more than one projector per wall.

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