2008

Immersive Display System Enables Virtual Reality in NASA Lab

Immersive CAVE™ display system
Mechdyne Corp.
Marshalltown, IA
641-754-4649
www.mechdyne.com

Mechdyne Corporation has installed a CAVE™ display system in the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration at Washington University St. Louis (WUSTL). WUSTL is home to the Geosciences Node of the NASA Planetary Data System, with responsibility for managing data related to the study of surfaces and interiors of terrestrial planetary bodies. The Laboratory will provide 3D imaging capability for visualization of data collected by national and international space exploration programs, including the ongoing Mars Exploration Program.

ImageThe new CAVE system supports stereoscopic projection on three walls and the floor to create a surround screen environment. Mechdyne’s integrated Beacon™ projection technology, along with a wireless motion tracking system and virtual wand, allow scientists to “fly” through visualizations. Mechdyne supplied its CAVELib software and Conduit for ArcGIS to 3D-enable data to create a fully immersive virtual reality experience in the cave.

WUSTL houses over 10 terabytes of data collected in various NASA missions. The Laboratory includes the CAVE system, housed in a purpose-built room, along with a graphics computing cluster based on Hewlett-Packard quad-processor servers and NVidia graphics. For the Mars visualizations, researchers at the Fossett Laboratory will draw on data from missions such as the Mars Global Surveyor, 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Phoenix.

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