A futuristic set-up to help research the future of virtual reality
Since 2010, the ‘Computer Science Laboratory for Mechanics and Engineering Sciences’ (LIMSI), located at the campus of the Paris-Sud University, has been the proud owner of one of world’s most advanced immersive environments. Not surprising, really, as LIMSI is home to VENISE, a team that performs research into human interactions in virtual and augmented reality environments.
For many years, the VENISE group has been working on an ‘Evolutive Virtual Environment’ (EVE) that helps make immersive and collaborative interactions more natural or more intuitive. “We had been using smaller VR set-ups in the past, yet these were too restrictive to further our research,” explains Patrick Bourdot, research director at LIMSI. “What we needed was a large-sized environment that would meet quite some ‘special’ criteria: multimodality, multi-user rendering and the set-up had to be reconfigurable.” Convinced that a standard solution could never meet these criteria, LIMSI teamed up with Barco to elaborate a customized design.
Design, soft- and hardware
Barco suggested setting up a four-sided projection CAVE with flexible screens. Seven Barco Galaxy NH-12 projectors were brought in to display images onto the 5m-high HD screens, which surround a 13m² glass floor. “Barco's expertise for designing and building custom VR systems is just unique. It requires an extraordinary combination of mechanical design, software and hardware engineering to create a system like EVE. The dialogue with the teams involved, the reactivity and inventiveness of the Barco people to design original solutions to meet unforeseen demands was really valuable,” Patrick Bourdot continued.
The high-end immersive environment has been live for a few years now. Its unique features allow the VENISE group to carry out exceptional experiments. The multi-stereoscopy, for example, provides an exact visual depth perception for separate groups of people, in order to study co-localized immersive collaborations. Installed in a large room with strict acoustic constraints, the set-up also includes 3D audio facilities (Binaural and Ambisonic), as well as large-scale haptics – spread over the full 13m² floor glass screen.
Innovative equipment you can rely on
Patrick Bourdot: “We are very pleased with the system that Barco built for us. The downtime is minimal and Barco is always flexible and speedy in finding solutions whenever a problem arises. Research work is never a bullet-proof business – new ideas for novel experiments require innovative equipment that we can rely on. Barco solutions give us entire satisfaction in that respect.”
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