The high-performance system represents a breakthrough for medical applications, industrial design, palaeontology and other fields
Virtual wall for manipulating objects in 3D
The system is equipped with a “virtual magic lantern”, a novel tool that can be used to inspect any part of the human body—from the skin to muscles, veins and bones—in great detail.
The Modelling, Visualisation, Interaction and Virtual Reality Research Group (MOVING) at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. BarcelonaTech (UPC) has designed a low-cost, high-performance virtual wall (EsteroWall) for visualising and interacting with objects represented in stereo images. The system, which works with complex software developed by the same team, is an ideal tool for applications in medicine, industrial design, palaeontology and other fields.
The EsteroWall system, also known as the “virtual wall”, features a 270 x 200 cm (132 inch) high-resolution screen where images are projected. Other elements include two projectors connected to a central computer (PC), a reflection mirror, a rear projection screen, a positioning device, and circular polarisation glasses for 3D viewing. The large-scale stereoscopic projection system is hooked up to the same PC with a high-performance graphic card. The passive stereo system, used with 3D glasses, delivers high-quality images and allows for group viewing (up to 15 people).
The virtual wall is equipped with a number of interaction systems, including the InterSense system, which provides highly precise detection of users and their movements, and a touch screen used to interact with the projected object.
It also has a pointer with control buttons and a “virtual magic lantern”, a novel tool in the field of virtual reality. The lantern is a system for simultaneously visualising and inspecting the inside and outside of an object in an interactive manner, which facilitates detailed analysis of the object being examined. For example, the magic lantern can be used to perform a highly detailed inspection of any part of the human body, from the skin to muscles, veins and bones.
ApplicationsThe UPC team, led by Professor Isabel Navazo, originally developed the virtual wall as a teaching tool for inspecting anatomical models, but the system has a multitude of potential applications. In the medical field, the EsteroWall is a valuable tool for diagnosis and surgical planning (for instance, it can be used to plan and simulate incisions to avoid damaging organs and vital body structures). It can also help students learn anatomy and serve as a useful aid in practicals.
In the industrial sector, the system facilitates collaborative design of virtual prototypes and reduces the costs involved. Models can be adapted to needs before construction—a major advantage in ship design, marine engineering and aeronautics. The system is currently being marketed through SENER, a Spanish engineering firm.
In the field of palaeontology, the virtual wall has great potential because it allows for highly detailed visualisation of fossils. The system has already been used to create an installation for the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology Miquel Crusafont in Sabadell.
The UPC group previously developed an installation for the National Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC) that uses similar virtual reality technology for 3-D viewing of the portal of the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll. The digitised model allows users to focus in on the portal from different angles and explore new viewpoints.
Segueix-nos a Twitter