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Upgrade to Virtalis ActiveWall at Northumbria University

Upgrade to Virtalis ActiveWall at Northumbria University

Northumbria University’s School of the Built and Natural Environment has upgraded its Virtalis passive stereo visualisation suite to the Virtalis ActiveWall.

Margaret Horne, Director of the School’s Visualisation Centre, explained: “We installed our passive stereo system in 2004 and it has been very successful. However the technology has moved on and now enables us to have brighter images for a more affordable price. Virtalis is a supplier we know and trust, so we sought its advice on our upgrade path.”

The Northumbria students’ exposure to Virtual Reality (VR) varies depending on the degree course they are studying, but 400 students will use the ActiveWall in an average year, with around 60 having the skills to create their own VR environments and virtual building processes. Since VR first began being used at Northumbria, there has been common consensus that VR is an unparalleled technique to communicate complex concepts to a variety of stakeholders.

Graham Kimpton, Senior Visualiser in the School of the Built and Natural Environment, said: “Our Christie Mirage S+6K is so bright, we’ve sometimes had to turn down the brightness. It really is amazing. Our upgrade to the Virtalis ActiveWall has brought a new lease of life to the Visualisation Centre and will continue to ensure usage is heavy.  Our student drop-in sessions are especially popular. Students build up their models from 2D linework using AutoCAD, 3D StudioMax and VR4Max.”

VR technology in action at Northumbria UniversityNorthumbria’s postgraduate students are currently using the ActiveWall for a wide range of research projects, including the development of a more integrated approach to urban design using 3D computer modelling, the creation of a virtual model of part of Newcastle upon Tyne as it was in medieval times and the integration of a virtual model of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead with the geographic information systems held by those two local authorities. As so much about human perception is still not understood, one PhD researcher has built a 3D virtual maze to probe deeper into psychologists’ understanding of time and distance.

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