Immersive Visualization Facility

Visualization LabEarth Science research and education increasingly demand the integration of geospatial datasets to observe and model natural phenomena. To meet this challenge, Harvard University and the Structural Geology & Earth Resources Group have developed a state-of-the-art immersive 3D stereo Visualization Facility. The facility uses two high resolution digital projectors in active stereo mode displaying on a 23 ft wide cylindrical screen. The resolution of the combined screen image is 1200 x 3600 pixels. The curved screen covers 120 degrees making the room capable of creating true immersive experiences. The room provides a full 5.1 surround sound system for clear realistic audio reproduction. The center features stadium style seating for 20.

This is a research institute, industry-grade facility, sized for research groups and small class session instructional use. It includes the following technical components:

• 23 x 8 ft cylindrical screen (120 degrees of arc)
• Two edge-blended, high-resolution active stereo digital Barco Galaxy NW-7 MKII projectors with High Brightness SLM Lenes TLD+ (1.2:1)
• XDS-200 Wall controller with XDS CC v3 XDS-Software supporting up to 6 independent stereo sources
• Primary image source -- Linux, 4 dual-core Opteron CPU, 128GB RAM, Nvidia Quadroplex D2
• Secondary image source -- ScalableGraphics Windows DTC cluster, 3 Dell Precision workstations, dual CPU, 48 GB RAM, Nvidia FX Pro 5800 & Pro 6000 GPUs
• Tertiary image source --Windows 7 Professional, Dell Precision R5500 rack-mount workstation Intel(r) Xeon(r) Quad Core 12GB5 DDR3 RDIMM, NVIDIA(r) Quadro(r) 6000
• Additional image source -- Mac OS 10.5 podium Laptop
• Stereo Graphics/Real CrystalEyes Stereo Viewing eyewear

Usage is by groups both within and outside EPS, hence the facility runs both general visualization software and specialized-domain software suites. As an integral part of the EPS/SGER EPOGEO computational cluster, there are software suites that focus on Earth and Planetary Observation, Geosciences & Geospatial analysis.

Other software examples from another domain, Egyptology, are the Virtools 3D Real-time graphics environment. Unity Technology 3.0, Autodesk 3DS MAX 2012 64-bit, ARC GIS software suite V 10.1

Some illustrative research and instructional examples include:

• Offshore Niger Delta petroleum exploration
• Southern California earthquake hazard assessment
• Amazon forest logging impact on air current biodiversity dispersal
• Architectural design walkthroughs
• DNA mobility through cellular membrane pores
• Seismic tomography of sub-African mantle plumes
• Fracture analyses of geologic structures
• Natural Disasters (GenEd)

Real-time 3D rendering of the tombs, temples and pyramids from the Giza Plateau in Egypt for the following classes (Peter Der Manuelian):

"Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt" (Gen Ed, Societies of the World 38)
"The Pyramids of Giza: Technology, Archaeology, History (seminar; Anthropology 1250)
"Digging up the Past: Harvard and Egyptian Archaeology" (Freshman Seminar 30g)
"Picturing the Past: An Introduction to Digital Epigraphy and Archaeological Illustration (Anthropology 2022)