Cao, who is director of the human factors program in the School of Engineering, said she wants to develop more anatomical features in the models. She also hopes to develop software that will simulate more complicated virtual procedures like heart surgery and colonoscopy. The VisWall's size, resolution and 3-D capability will greatly help in her work.
"Imagine the difference between simulating a virtual environment on a computer screen and one on a visualization wall -- the difference is tremendous," she said. "That's what large-scale visualization gives us, a capacity to create a richer immersion experience."
From Particle Physics to the "Lord of the Rings"
Similar benefits could be gained by physicist Austin Napier. His work in high energy physics relies on the ability to process huge streams of data from organizations like Switzerland's CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory. Tufts' VisWall will enable him to visualize on a single display what would otherwise require multiple computers.
Tynan said she expects the VisWall to become a resource for the broad range of academic disciplines at Tufts. She envisions scientists and engineers collaborating with faculty from the arts or humanities.
Boghosian brings up the example of the character Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings." Actor Andy Serkis' movements were tracked and translated to the digital rendering of the creature in the film. Similar technology is now available through the VisWall, which goes beyond traditional 3-D rendering to create a true virtual reality environment.
"Imagine taking the ability to do something like that and applying it to drama and dance," Boghosian mused. "Imagine taking the ability to do something like that and trying to use it for facial recognition or occupational therapy or many other fields. We haven't really even begun to explore those kinds of things yet."
|Contact: Alex Reid|