Cubee: Thinking Inside The Box

An interactive cubic fish tank VR display that is suspended to enable viewing from all sides and free manipulation. The compelling interaction metaphor of objects inside a box can be used to evaluate interactive realism in dynamic simulations.

Enhanced Life
Cubee encloses a small virtual space inside the physical boundaries of a cubic display. It uses the metaphor of objects contained within a physical box to achieve an engaging interactive experience.

To build a novel interactive display system that provides a unique physical experience with computer-generated, physics-based animation. Cubee brings dynamic simulation into the participant's physical space and supports interaction that maintains a coherent relationship between the virtual and physical worlds.

The display extends head-tracked perspective rendering by allowing interaction with a multi-display system that renders virtual objects behind the display plane as if they are inside the box. This differs from the conventional approach, in which virtual objects float in front of the display, and enables the seams of the LCD panels to be used as occlusion cues to help realize the "inside the box" metaphor. Cubee's design affords a large movement space around the entire display, which enhances motion parallax cues for a strong 3D effect.

Cubee's surrounding view space allows for full inspection of a 3D object as the participant physically moves around the display or rotates the physical display to view all sides of the object, both of which are physically coherent interactions. Participants are not required to use a mouse or other input device to manipulate objects in the virtual scene: movement of the display causes the objects to respond just like real objects in a real box.

Real-time dynamic simulations of any variety, including multiple rigid bodies, fluid, sand, smoke, or other natural phenomena are uniquely suited to this type of display. In the near future, Cubee displays could become the de facto standard test bed for examining and evaluating the realism of physics-based computer animation.

Emerging Technologies Sketch

Ian Stavness
The University of British Columbia
Stavness (at)

Sidney Fels
Florian Vogt
The University of British Columbia