"It's a very powerful way to communicate ideas," says Jason Leigh, EVL director and UIC professor of computer science. "It lets people work together, make sense of lots of information, and hopefully derive insights quicker. We've found it changes the way students work together."
The Cyber-Commons flat-screen displays are tiled on the wall to form a nearly cinematic classroom blackboard that Leigh describes as "democratic" in its use. Anyone in the room with a laptop or tablet device such as an iPad can wirelessly grab space on the Cyber-Commons wall and simultaneously display multiple images from documents to videos. Users can also call up stored images, positioning and sizing them with their fingers on a touch-sensitive display surface. That is made possible by EVL-developed software called SAGE -- Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment -- which also enables Cyber-Commons 3-D to link via high-performance networks for real-time collaboration with facilities around the world.
"CC3D puts 2-D and 3-D on the same screen at the same time," said Maxine Brown, EVL's associate director. CC3D will initially use passive stereo technology to view 3-D. While passive stereo requires special glasses, they are not expensive like active stereo glasses that cost around $100, now used with consumer 3-D TVs.
"Our glasses cost less than a dollar," said Brown, who thinks it will be a few years before "auto-stereo" technology -- which does not need special glasses -- becomes widespread and cheap. In the meantime, Brown thinks $1 glasses will be affordable to schools, museums, medical centers and businesses that are likely to use 3-D Cyber-Commons facilities.
Using 2009 federal economic stimulus grants, EVL worked with Oregon-based Planar Systems to create a 3-D LCD, ultra-thin border flat-panel display wall that gives Cyber-Commons its new, added dimension. After working together on a display prototype, Planar provided EVL with customized technology, which they call the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall. Planar, a company specializing in high quality visualization and digital signage displays, gets a new product to market.
Leigh will test UIC's CC3D facility next spring when he teaches a video game development course collaboratively with a colleague at Louisiana State University. He said EVL's focus is on scientific research and educational use in medicine, engineering and chemistry, where adding 3-D images offers real insight and understanding.
"3-D is more than Hollywood gimmickry," said Leigh. "Humans understand information much more effectively in 3-D."
Visualizing a molecule, for example, in only two dimensions can lack the depth cues needed for full comprehension.
Geoscience is another field where 3-D adds substantial advantages. Leigh cited a study of male and female students that found females had typically performed more poorly in geospatial tests. But when stereoscopic 3-D capability was added, both males and females improved and the gender difference disappeared.
"It eliminates that barrier," Leigh said.
CC3D will also serve as a technology test bed for EVL's "Next-Generation CAVE" Automatic Virtual Environment facility, debuting a year from now. CAVE, developed 20 years ago at EVL and now commercialized by companies around the world, originally used projectors and very expensive 3-D glasses. Leigh calls the new display technology for CC3D bright and "gloriously beautiful."
"We'll be the first to build an LCD, non-projector-based CAVE," said Leigh. "We calculate that the display resolution will be on the order of what matches human vision."
UIC doctoral graduate Tom Peterka, now a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, is helping in both NG-CAVE and CC3D development with an eye on possible use of 3-D technology at America's national laboratories.
Paul Francuch | Newswise Science News
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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