Looking at your data in Stereo 3D

Although 3D display for computer gaming enthusiasts has been around for a while, the release of Avatar in 3D at the theatres was a key event that highlighted the introduction of stereo viewing into the entertainment industry for the general public. During this time, a rapid development and marketing of 3D ready TV’s and BluRay DVD players by the major electronic manufacturing companies into the home entertainment market was occurring. This technology has evolved to a stage where 3D content is now available not only on DVD but over cable, satellite as well as the internet via services such as the popular YouTube! The widespread acceptance of the technology by the public and competition within the equipment manufacturing industry has led to significant price drops of stereo ready TV’s in the past several months making the technology affordable.

Can we use this technology in research on campus?

As humans we possess the ability to perceive depth and we live and work in a 3D spatial environment. It makes sense that we use the ability to view our research data/models in true 3D and analyze the spatial inter‐relationships that might otherwise not be evident when looking at a planar 2D representation of the information. So … why can’t we adopt this new commodity 3D stereo TV display technology and adapt it for advanced data visualization in research here on campus? Well we can! The Research Computing group is evaluating a 65” LED stereo ready TV for usage as a display on a specially equipped graphic workstation. Initial results are very encouraging. Given the appropriate software application, display configuration and computer graphic hardware, full stereo 3D data display is possible! The high colour contrast of the LED display results in a vivid bright onscreen image in both normal 2D and 3D stereo modes. The latest generation of these TV’s are very thin and light making them much more transportable than in the past. This display is mounted on a rolling pedestal stand for easy relocation and positioning.

3D Brian Reilkoff
Brian Reilkoff viewing terrain with ArcScene

A suite of software applications and associated project data is being assembled to demonstrate the 3D stereo display capabilities of this relatively low cost commodity TV:

  • GoCAD – Geological, Geophysical, Geographic, Geochemical, Hydrological and Environmental data modeling and visualization
  • Avizo – As above as well as Engineering design and Medical imaging data modeling and visualization
  • Paraview – general data visualization
  • ArcScene – visualization of data analyzed within ArcGIS environment
  • Additional applications being identified

We are offering demos to various interest groups and offer implementation guidance should anyone decide to adopt the technology. Its potential as a research tool is significant. Watch for further postings announcing the availability of the evaluation system for viewing and testing by the general campus research community. If you are interested in this project and would like further information contact us at research_computing@usask.ca.

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