The software can be used by scientists in other immersive environments with slight modifications for their individual laboratories. This advance is a step forward in transforming immersive technology that has traditionally been a qualitative tool into a scientific instrument with which precision measurements can be made.
Immersive environments such as NIST’s are typically made up of two or more 8 foot by 8 foot walls onto which images ranging from larger-than-life bodies or actual-size buildings can be displayed on the walls and the floors. The images are three-dimensional. Researchers wear 3-D glasses and hold a wand, each of whose location is tracked. Using these devices the researcher can walk around and interact with the virtual world with the help of the underlying graphics system.
While these small virtual reality laboratories have been around for more than a decade, they have mainly been used for a scientist to get inside a project and develop a feel of the object of study, explained NIST mathematician John Hagedorn. Researchers can walk inside hallways of newly designed buildings before they are constructed to ensure the proportions are correct, or inspect microscopic structures, for example.
The visuals in immersive environments are sometimes not quite accurate because of an inherent problem with the electromagnetic transmitters and receivers used to track where the user is in the space. Ferrous metals such as rebar in the walls, other metal in the room or metal walls, throw off the communications between the stationary and the small receivers attached to the tracked devices. These distortions are especially obvious when an image with lines or edges meets the virtual environment’s 90 degree angles where the walls and the floor meet. These distortions interfere with the “reality” aspect and limit the immersive environment’s value as a measurement tool.
To improve the image’s accuracy, Hagedorn and colleagues concentrated on the inaccuracy of the tracking devices. They knew there was a difference between where the tracking device said it was and where it really was. The researchers mapped two sets of data points—where they knew the sensors actually were and where the computer said they were. Using this data, they developed software that transforms the reported positions of the sensors into the actual position. “Our program,” Hagedorn said, “provides corrections of both the location and the orientation in the 3-D space.” Average location errors were reduced by a factor of 22; average orientation errors by a factor of 7.5.
“This improvement in motion tracking has furthered our goal of turning the immersive environment from a qualitative tool into a quantitative one—a sort of virtual laboratory,” Hagedorn explained. The first test with the new software was measuring a lattice structure with elements of about 2 to 3 millimeters in size designed to grow artificial skin replacements or bone. A 3-D image of the structure was constructed (see photo) using data obtained from a high-resolution microscope. NIST scientists interactively measured the diameters of the fibers and the spacing between the layers of fiber using the virtual lab. These precision measurements enabled the researchers to determine that the manufactured material substantially deviated from the design specification. On the other hand, additional measurements in the immersive environment showed that the angles between fibers in the manufactured material closely matched the design.
Evelyn Brown | Newswise Science News
Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
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.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
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.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences