May 14, 2008

Paul Bourke's Experiments in Interactive Visual Immersion in Second Life - and more....

"Preprocessed spherical projections from inside a crystal including the Hershfield surface"
Evaluating Second Life as a Collaborative Tool for Scientific Visualization

I thought I'd devote a post to Paul Bourke's exciting work in the area of what I call "interactive visual immersion".

According to a bio on a math art website, Paul's working life "has revolved around high performance computing and computer graphics, in particular scientific visualisation: the use of computer graphics to represent scientific data with the aim of enhancing understanding of the underlying structure and processes." Paul is also interested in the use of "novel display technologies that can further enhance the understanding of large and complicated geometric datasets...These engage capabilities of our visual system not exploited by traditional computer displays..."

Paul recently participated in the the Computer Games, Multimedia & and Allied Technology 08: International Conference & Industry Symposium on Computer Games; Animation, Multimedia, IPTV & Edutainment. (CGAT'08, Singapore, April 28-30)

The above picture is from his paper, Evaluating Second Life as a Tool for Collaborative Scientific Visualization. (pdf), taken from Paul's webpage, where you can find a link to the slides from his talk.

Bourke points out that there are few software tools available that support shared, remote collaborative scientific visualization. What is available is expensive, exploratory, and/or difficult to install and operate. Bourke proposes that Second Life might prove to be a useful tool for collaborative SciViz, despite some current limitations. Second Life is a cross-platform 3D environment that was designed specifically for interaction between many people, and it allows for texture mapping, which is a plus for visualization work. Burke notes that there are limitations, such as Second Life's low geometric complexity.

Paul Bourke's website includes a page that lists all of his papers, articles, and seminars, with impressive visuals alongside each entry. Since I recently completed a visualization class and also gave a short presentation about accessible games for health, I found many of Bourke's papers intriguing:

Vertical dome (iDome): Visualisation and Navigable movies
Visualization for scientists, museums, public outreach, and education
Immersive environments and applications to gaming
Exploiting our sense of touch for scientific visualization.
Tactile Visualization: Feel your data!
Apple technology powering displays that engage the human visual system
iDome and digital projection into hemispherical domes

Take the time to explore Bourke's entire website. Look at his texture library and his "other" section!

FYI: Here is a link to the CGAT'08 list of speakers, complete with bios and abstracts.

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