X-SITE - 50 Mega Pixel CAVE

Overview

The Freiberg X-SITE (eXtreme definition Spatial Immersion and interacTion Environment) is an innovative Virtual Reality CAVE that provides visualizations in ultra-high resolution of 50 million pixels. Similar to other CAVE-like displays, 3D visualizations of interactive virtual worlds are projected on multiple wall-sized, seamless projection screens. As distinctive feature of the X-SITE, images on the projection walls are generated through the coordinated operation of 24 full HD projectors. Even in very close distance to the projection walls users experience smooth, detailed images but not individual pixels. The combination of extreme definition visualization quality and reduced space requirements makes the X-SITE a one-of-a-kind Virtual Reality room.

Mission

Visualization plays a vital role for research in natural sciences and engineering where scientists increasingly rely on simulations to verify models, processes, and prototypes. The X-SITES’s extreme definition visualization capabilities are the perfect match for highy detailed simulations run on today’s supercomputers.In addition to mere visualization, Virtual Reality aims to provide intuitive interaction capabilities based on the evaluation of the user’s body movements in 3D space. Therefore, X-SITE utilizes a comprehensive tracking system for monitoring the user’s body and hand movements as well as hand-held 3D interaction devices. Through this, scientists can explore simulations in innovative ways.

The general research goals of the X-SITE are twofold:

  1. to advance research in the design of extreme-resolution Virtual Reality displays (i.e. displays that greatly enhance the user’s sight when inspecting and exploring virtual worlds)
  2. to promote Virtual Reality as a research tool in natural sciences and engineering (i.e. to provide tools for generating novel in-sight into scientific models and processes as well as improved fore-sight e.g. when designing new machines)

Above all, the X-SITE aims to excite the inspiration of researchers and students by empowering them with an exceptional tool for better imagining, visualizing, understanding – and ultimately shaping the future.

Technology

The setup of the X-SITE began in November 2008 with the installation of an extreme resolution, multiple projection screen display. Several upgrades have occurred since then, including the installation of tracking and interaction devices, addition of stereo capabilities, … and even more pixels. Salient technical features of the present configuration are:

  • 4 seamless projection walls (front, left, right, floor), side walls approximately dimensioned at 3 x 3 m. The elongated left projection wall is dimensioned at approx. 6 x 3 m.
  • A total of 24 HD projection units, each featuring a 1920 x 1080 resolution (plus one 1400 x 1050 unit for floor projection);  this results in total at  about 50 million pixels, by far exceeding traditional CAVE-like displays.
  • Automated geometric calibration of tiled display walls for seamless image generation (software edge blending and image warping).
  • Reduced spatial requirements: Projection screens are set up at only about 1 m distance from the physical wall. This compares favorably to traditional projection based displays that typically require at least 3 m space behind the projection screens.
  • Active stereo.
  • Optical tracking system with 12 infrared cameras.
  • Interaction: head tracking, fly stick, data glove, optical finger tracking, full body motion capture, iPad, …

 

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