Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"ALGORITHMS: Iowa State claims highest resolution VR room"

A virtual reality installation sporting 100 million pixels is being touted as offering the world's highest resolution, and could aid medical and military research. The $4 million upgrade to Iowa State University's "C6" VR room will employ 24 Sony digital projectors to back-illuminate all four walls, floor and celling of the installation. Operators of the C6 room claimed it was the highest resolution VR installation when it was first unveiled in 2000. Since then, other VR rooms have been built with higher resolution, including a five-sided room recently installed by Fakespace Systems Inc. (Marshalltown, Iowa) and at the at Los Alamos National Laboratories' Strategic Computing Complex. Fakespace worked with Iowa State to upgrade its current C6 installation to regain the highest resolution: 100 million pixels compared to 43 million pixels at Los Alamos. The six-sided10- by 10- by 10-foot room back-projects 3D computer- generated scenes on walls, floor and ceiling. The images will be generated by a Hewlett-Packard computer with 96 parallel graphics processing units feeding the 24 digital projectors, plus an eight-channel 3D audio system and an ultrasonic motion-tracking system that changes the scene as a user turns his head.