“Canadian scientists have opened a powerful computing lab they said will help speed up research into diseases like cancer and diabetes by allowing researchers to view three-dimensional models of cells in a room similar to the holodeck in the Star Trek television series. The $3.7 million University of Calgary facility is a step ahead of the handful of other virtual-reality labs used in such research because users for the first time can build models on their own computers, rather than be tied up for days or weeks programming at the site, officials said.” Read more about the Java3D-based system at ZDNews.
Scientists Develop Research Holodeck
2002-03-01 Geek stuff 10 Comments
I want one!
It’ll be used for porn within two weeks, I’d wager.
This doesn’t sound revolutionary in the least. What was the $3.7m spent on? big screens? all you really need is 3d goggles and a good machine or three for the graphics.
What i want to see is a motorised exoskeleton, suspended in the air. That way you could ‘touch’ virtual objects and feel resistance in the suit. By extension you could walk around in the virtual world, over hills, up stairs. Wow!
Add physics simulation so you can pick things up, throw them around, get hit by them… I’d love to work on something like that.
Have you ever consider all it takes to create a 270 degree viewable environment for a 10 foot chamber? It’s more than your 17″ CRT, that much I can tell!
Not only did they have to install the screen/projector itself, they probably also had to design some of the chips/controllers used to generate the images/signals to display all this stuff.
Using stereoscopic glasses might not be too attractive, but I do think that the environment they created was worth 3.7 million.
hey, you read? it’s a Canadian project, Canada Ownz!
“they probably also had to design some of the chips/controllers used to generate the images/signals to display all this stuff.”
naa.. any consumer level hardware could generate this stuff. Although it is Sun so thats not quite consumer level. I still cant see how its worth $3.7m tho. you could buy an incredible projector for $100k.. say 6 of em, an incredible computer system for $100k, the room for $100k, the glasses for $100k, the dude to plug it in for $100k… its still only $1m and thats being generous.
software engineering to be able to develop the modeling for the system on standard computer using Java 3D, probably a year with a couple engineers and related expenses.
And you also have to think that since it’s all academic, there’s easily something like 200K that went only in writing the proposals and papers, get the submissions and finally get the project approved.
Holodeck is really going too far. I used a CAVE system at Cornell – three panels, each 8 foot by 8 foot, 1280×1024 resolution, driven by an SGI Onyx. You wore lightweight LCD glasses which allow the three dimensional effect in full color (as compared to red-blue glasses). While it was fun to check out (and yes they later ran Quake on it), there was never a convincing illusion that objects were truly in the room with you. Personally I found it hurt my eyes after about ten minutes. And of course the lack of force feedback and AI routines would have disappointed all you Jeri Ryan fans out there.
Couldn’t they have just bought a few beamers, and a good fast machine?
Whats new with the cave system? It has been used for oil&gas well planning projects in norway for quite some time (years!)! And BTW: With ACTIVE stereo you DO get the feeling objects are in the air in front of you, but it all comes down to the quality of hardware… tracking (of head and pointer) is of course essential.
Cave systems are nothing new, but they sure are cool. Except for quake — I get seasick after a few minutes..