Virtalis ActiveSpaces for Northumbria University
Two ActiveSpace systems have been supplied by Virtalis to Northumbria University’s new Usability of Spatial Environments (USE) Research Centre.
The new Research Centre is a joint venture between the School of the Built and Natural Environment and the School of Life Sciences and aims to carry out teaching, enterprise and research into how spaces are used by individuals and groups.
Professor Ruth Conroy Dalton, one of the two directors of USE, explained: “Virtual Reality (VR) is perceived as just being used for 3D visualisation, but the ability to track immersed people as they move through a virtual space is just as interesting when assessing a building’s usability. We’ll be deploying motion capture, ergonomics and interactive tracking, so cognitive scientists, architects and civil engineers can work together within a virtual environment to design spaces that work for different sectors of society.”
Northumbria’s ActiveSpaces boast NVIS SX Head Mounted Displays (HMD), a Polhemus Liberty Latus magnetic tracking system, an optical tracking system and two pairs of 5DT Datagloves, all powered by Dell computers and NVIDIA FX4800 graphics cards to create interactive 3D visualisation systems that provide the ultimate immersive experience.
The Virtalis ActiveSpace deploys integrated head and hand tracking solutions. This means that the perspective of the visuals alters according to the user’s position and orientation within the scene. The hand held controller allows the immersive experience to be enhanced further. The user can navigate through the virtual world, generated using WorldViz’s Vizard software, pick and manipulate component parts in real time and make decisions on the fly. Northumbria’s new ActiveSpace systems could also be fused with its existing Virtalis ActiveWall projection system to allow remote, collaborative design reviews.
ActiveSpace users have the freedom and flexibility to move around in their virtual environment, totally unencumbered. Many VR experts believe that the new generation of wider field of view HMDs, combined with tracking, give the greatest sense of immersion available today and as HMD fields of view continue to increase, the life-like sense of presence will grow still further.
Northumbria University Website