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VR•Medical ■ ■ ■ ■ Track By Barbara Robertson Smoke and Mirrors Because real estate in downtown Manhattan is precious, the room designated for the Cave was only 30x40 feet. To compensate for the small space, Christie used eight optically perfect mirrors to bend the light paths to the projectors so they didn’t need to be as far away from the screen as usual. “T ey had to engineer the system very tightly,” Banfelder says. “Also, it was the fi rst Cave to use HD projectors and the fi rst time they had built a structure out of fi berglass rather than aluminum. It’s fi reproof, and strong, and cheaper. It was a risk on our part, but Christie was confi dent and willing to back it up.” It took nine months for Christie to design and build the system and three months to construct the physical environment. Now, Christie’s Mirage HD3 DLP projectors send images to three 8x8-foot walls and the fl oor. Two projectors per surface produce 1920x1080-resolution Researchers have learned they can more easily share the 3D models they’ve visualized in their minds with their students by immersing the students within large, stereo 3D reconstructions inside the Cave. images that Christie’s software edge-blends and warps to produce an eff ective resolution of 1920x1920. Dell workstations equipped with Nvidia Quadro FX 4600s produce the images. “We had to get the physical alignment right for the projectors, but the software inside does the geometry correction,” Borcherd- ing says. “It was quite a project fi guring out the graphic outputs, frame locking, software, confi gurations, laying out the three-space correctly, getting the calibration. Christie provided the turnkey solu- tion, but we were very involved.” Inside the Cave, a user wearing a head tracker mounted on a pair of InterSense glasses moves the stereo 3D images surrounding him or her by changing position or with a six-degree-of-freedom wand. Other peo- ple in the Cave, all wearing shutter glasses, see what the “driver” sees. “T ere is defi nitely a learning curve [for the users],” Borcherding October 2010 29

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