The guys behind the StarCave have created a new VR display using flat HDTV.
From this Physorg article :
The technology, dubbed “NexCAVE,” was inspired by Calit2’s StarCAVE virtual reality environment and designed and developed by Calit2 Research Scientist Tom DeFanti, Virtual Reality Design Engineer Greg Dawe, Project Scientist Jürgen Schulze and Visualization Specialist Andrew Prudhomme.
“It’s always been our dream to make a projector-free LCD flat panel CAVE,” DeFanti says. “The trick was to get the form of the huge StarCAVE into the space of a living room. We took a speculative leap by overlapping 9 panels, and it turned out better than we thought.”
“The NexCAVE’s technology delivers a faithful, deep 3-D experience with great color saturation, contrast and really good stereo separation,” explains DeFanti. “The JVC panels’ xpol technology circularly polarizes successive lines of the screen clockwise and anticlockwise and the glasses you wear make you see, in each eye, either the clockwise or anticlockwise images. This way, the data appears in three dimensions. Since these HDTVs are very bright, 3-D data in motion can be viewed in a very bright environment, even with the lights in the room on.
“Lights-on is something that just wasn’t possible with the StarCAVE.”
The NexCAVE’s data resolution is also superb, close to human visual acuity (or 20/20 vision), DeFanti says. The 9-panel, 3-column prototype that his team developed for Calit2’s VirtuLab has a 6000×1500 pixel resolution, while the 21-panel, 7-column version being built for KAUST boasts 15,000×1500-pixel resolution.
The costs for the NexCAVE in comparison to the StarCAVE are also considerably cheaper. The 9-panel version cost DeFanti’s team under $100,000 to construct, whereas the StarCAVE is valued at $1 million. One-third of that cost comes from the StarCAVE’s projectors, which burn through $15,000 in bulbs per year. Every time a projector needs to be relamped, the research team must readjust the color balance and alignment, which is a long, involved process.
Since the NexCAVE requires no projector, those costs and alignment issues are eliminated.
“The fact is, with the StarCAVE, there’s lots of tuning involved if you really want to get it right. It’s like tuning a piano,” DeFanti says. “With the NexCAVE, you don’t have to tune once it’s built.”
The NexCAVE’S tracker (the device used to manipulate data) is also far less expensive — it’s only $5,000 as compared to the StarCAVE’s $75,000 tracker, although its range is more limited.
“Our next goal is to make an autostereo NexCAVE,” says DeFanti (meaning the screens won’t require the use of special glasses). “And someday we hope to have organic LED screens with no bezels.
They say that the seams are not visible since you are so immersed! Sounds like a nice display to me.
I just bought myself a Samsung RZ 2233 120H LCD screen and the nVidia 3D Vision kit with stereo glasses and it rocks!
Now I want to have 9 to build myself a NexCAVE =)