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Vol.32 No.4 November 1998

Interaction in 3D Graphics

Karen Sullivan
Computer Graphics Cover Editor

November 98 Columns
From the Editor Entertaining the Future

Karen Sullivan
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The Front Cover

Digital Image Design (DID) has created special purpose input devices for use in tasks usually addressed by software alone. Digital Image Design Incorporated’s “first attempt at technology-free thinking was addressed by an input device called ‘the Monkey,’ an electronic version of that wooden artist’s model instrumented with sensors, that can control an on-screen human model.” The front cover shows an image of DID’s Monkey 2 device.

For more information, please see W. Bradford Paley’s article, “Designing Special-Purpose Input Devices” in this issue or contact: W. Bradford Paley, Digital Image Design Incorporated, 72 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012; tel: +1-212-343-2442 ext. 229; Web site.

The Back Cover

The Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) is a graduate research laboratory specializing in VR and real-time interactive computer graphics. EVL is a joint effort of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Engineering and School of Art and Design, and represents the oldest formal collaboration between engineering and art in the country offering graduate degrees to those specializing in visualization.

In 1991, EVL conceived and over several years developed the CAVE™ virtual reality theater, a room-sized, high-resolution, projection-based system that enables users to experience excellent immersion in full 3D imagery (see top image on the back cover). The CAVE is a multi-person, room-sized, high-resolution, 3D video and audio environment, and specifically requires a 1000 sq. ft. room with 13 ft. ceiling in the middle; a two to four pipe SGI Onyx rack; and, four Electrohome three-tube projectors. Graphics are projected in stereo onto three walls and the floor, and viewed with stereo glasses. As a viewer wearing a location sensor moves within its display boundaries, the correct perspective and stereo projections of the environment are constantly updated, so the image moves with and surrounds the viewer to achieve immersion.

In 1994, the ImmersaDesk™, a smaller, software-compatible, drafting-table-format version of the CAVE, was developed (see bottom image on the back cover). In 1997, EVL designed and built the ImmersaDesk2™, a rugged version of the ImmersaDesk that folds up into its own shipping crate. It features a movable display screen that enables variable angles of view as well as height adjustment, and improved accessibility by people with disabilities.

Karen Sullivan
13901 N. Florida Ave. #E79
Tampa, FL 33613

Tel: +1-813-265-3799

The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.

EVL’s current research focus is tele-immersion — having users in different locations around the world collaborate over high-speed networks in shared, virtual environments as if they were together in the same room. Related research interests include scientific visualization, new methodologies for informal science and engineering education, paradigms for information display, distributed computing, sonification, human/computer interfaces, every citizen interfaces and abstract math visualization. Major funding is provided by the National Science Foundation.

See their web sites for further information on EVL and CAVE/ImmersaDesk users and applications.

CAVE™ photo courtesy of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago. CAVE is a trademark of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

ImmersaDesk™ photo courtesy of the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, University of Illinois at Chicago. ImmersaDesk is a trademark of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.