Integrated Computer Augmented Virtual Environment


SUMMARY: I-CAVE is composed of five 9 x 5 foot high-resolution screens arranged in a hexagonal pattern and a surround sound system that create an immersive virtual reality experience. Hardware and software tracking capabilities are built into the systems to follow movement in the space and coordinate with displayed images for immersion of the users in the simulated environment.

DISPLAY SYSTEM: The FIU ICAVE is a five (5) wall hexagon shaped Mechdyne Segmented Immersive 3D Visualization System (Hex display system). The Hex display system is ~18 ft. 7 7/8 in. wide by ~19 ft. 5 3/4 in. long with each screen ~133 in diagonally. The projection system consists of 5ive (5) digital video projectors mounted in portrait orientation to display the images on the screens. In order to save physical space the lens is an ultra-short throw lens system that only requires ~4 ft. from the screen to display the ~133 in. diagonal image.

Projector specifications:

  • Model: Panasonic Model PT-DZ870
  • Projector type: One-chip DLP, active-stereoscopic 3D capable, mounted in portrait mode
  • Native resolution: WUXGA 1920×1200 pixels at 120Hz video refresh rate 16:10 Aspect
  • Video input: HDMI
  • Lens: Ultra Short-throw: ET-DLE030 0.30:1 lens
  • Stereo sync support: BNC 3D sync output for controlling shutter-glasses via IR emitters; BNC
  • 3D sync input for image generator external lock
  • Control protocol: Ethernet
  • Additional video inputs: DVI-D; Serial Digital (SDI),BNC(3G/HD/SD-SDI); analog
  • BNCx5,(RGB/YPbPr/YCbCr/YC x1),; DSub HD 15,(RGB/YPbPr/YCbCr); BNC,Composite
  • Power requirements: 100-240VAC +/-10% 50/60Hz single-phase
  • Max power / Thermal dissipation per projector: 1030W / 3400 BTU/hour

COMPUTER GRAPHICS: The FIU I-CAVE provides a PC real-time graphics cluster to drive the display system. The cluster consists of two (2) workstations, i.e. One (1) master head application node (w/NVidia K5200 GPU), and One (1) rendering node with three (3) NVidia K5200 GPU cards driving the graphics out to the projectors. The rendering graphics cards are synchronized with each other, the projectors, the IR emitters, optical tracking system and the shutter-glasses for multi-channel 3D stereoscopic operation. The Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 bit SP1 operating system is installed on the machines

Workstation specifications for the Master Head Node in the cluster:

  • 4 RU Tower
  • 2 CPU, Xeon, 8core/16thread, 3.3GHz
  • SSD, 2.5″, 180GB
  • ODD, BD/DVD/CD read/write, SATA, 14X
  • 8 DIMM, 16GB, DDR3-1600 registered, ECC, 2Rx4 – total of 128GB RAM
  • HDD, 3.5″, 4TB, 7200RPM, SATA
  • OS, Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
  • Rack Mounting rails
  • 1 GPU, NVIDIA Quadro K5200

And the Render workstation in the cluster:

  • 4 RU Tower
  • 2 CPU, Xeon, 8core/16thread, 3.3GHz
  • SSD, 2.5″, 180GB, SATA
  • ODD, BD/DVD/CD read/write, SATA, 14X
  • 8 DIMM, 16GB, DDR3-1600 registered, ECC, 2Rx4 – total of 128GB RAM
  • HDD, 3.5″, 2TB, SATA
  • OS, Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
  • Rack Mounting rails
  • 3x NVIDIA Quadro K5200 GPU
  • 1x GSU card, NVIDIA Quadro Sync

Each GPU in the rendering workstation drives two projectors each in clone mode. Clone Mode stereo is an NVIDIA driver setting. When this mode is enable a frame sequential stereo application is rendered such that the left eye image is displayed from one video channel, and the right eye image is displayed from a separate video channel. The Panasonic projectors require separate left and right eye inputs and then generate an active stereo signal output from those two signals. The Clone Mode configuration allows for the VR applications to output the video signal in the format the projectors expect. In this configuration all four video outputs from each GPU will be needed

TRACKING SYSTEM: To enable user-perspective-correct real-time 3D image generation, an integrated optical tracking system is used. The tracking system consist of four (4) ART optical tracking cameras (with mounts), a glasses-mounted optical tracking target, one rack-mounted tracking PC, ART tracking software and Mechdyne trackd software.

The tracking system provides a six-degree-of-freedom optical motion tracking system for the 5 sided HEX. Four (4) infrared tracking cameras are mounted to the Hex structure above the user. A tracking volume within the Hex is provided for a single standing or crouching user with a glasses-mounted head tracker and a hand-held navigation device.

The tracking system uses an active stereo wireless IR shutter-glasses and three (3) wide angle blaster IR emitters mounted to the display system structure to offer optimum coverage for the display system users. G-Sync and 3D stereo-sync cabling are provided between the workstations, projectors and IR emitters. Also, reference sync is sent to the ART optical tracking controller to eliminate any interference between the active stereo system and the tracking system.

The tracking system consists of the following components:

  • 4x ARTtrack2 IR tracking cameras, with mounts
  • 1x ARTtrack rack-mounted tracking controller with DTrack2 control software
  • 2x head-tracking optical targets for attaching to the supplied 3D glasses (one for backup)
  • 2x hand-tracking optical targets for attaching to the supplied wireless gamepads (one for
  • backup)
  • 3x IR emitter blasters to provide IR sync to wireless 3D IR shutter glasses
  • Mechdyne trackd for integration of tracking and navigation devices

Mechdyne’s getReal3D brings Unity simulation into VR. getReal3D is a plug-in that makes the Unity game engine compatible with VR equipment for more realistic training and simulation scenarios. getReal3D adds support for 3D stereo, tracking systems, cluster support, and synchronization. getReal3D integrates with Mechdyne’s trackd for hardware communication including support for numerous tracking systems.