Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sevenfold Accuracy Improvement for 3-D ‘Virtual Reality’ Labs

11.12.2008
Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed software that improves the accuracy of the tracking devices in its immersive, or virtual, research environment by at least 700 percent.

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
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>