When you are sent to do a bit of work experience in the office of a university science department you don’t normally expect much more than a bit of boring filing and some tedious photocopying. So those that turned up to the University of Warwick’s Physics department recently were a bit shocked to be taken to a small black room and dropped into a virtual reality four dimensional hypercube.
A two dimensional picture of a 4D Hypercube
© Warwick University Press Office
Instead of dreary photocopying the work experience kids were used to help University of Warwick physicist Richard Wellard solve the major problem of how to rotate a four dimensional object- a hyper cube- in the three dimensions of a virtual reality simulator.
Everyone has seen the classic two dimensional wire frame drawing of a three dimensional cube. It is also even possible to produce a two dimensional picture of a 4D Hypercube (it looks like a cube within a cube). However until now researchers have found it difficult to get their three dimensional virtual reality systems to display and rotate a 4D dimensional hypercube without straining the viewer’s understanding of how to manipulate the image well beyond the ability of most people.
Peter Dunn | alphagalileo
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