NexCAVE

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NexCAVE deployed at Supercomputing (SC’09)

The NexCAVE was inspired by the StarCAVE, adopting its articulated tile layout. However, rather than utilizing the common projector-based approach of its time, it was the first design to incorporate cross-polarized LCD display tiles. The NexCAVE design is modular, scalable and portable, allowing the field of view to be expanded to a full 360 surround configuration if desired. Three different version were originall developed, including the NexCAVE-Gen1, utilizing a 3×3+1 display layout, with each display operating at HD (1920×1080) resolution. the NexCAVE-Gen2 with a 5×3+2 display layout and the NexCAVE-Gen3 with a 7×3 layout.

Our NexCAVE-Gen2 includes 17 cross-polarized display panels, arranged into five columns and three rows, with two additional panels filling part of a fourth row. The NexCAVE-Gen2 is aimed at delivering a resolution close to human visual acuity (defined as “20/20 vision”). It has an effective resolution of 9,600 x 3,240 pixels for the 5×3 segment and adds an additional 3,840 x 1,080 pixels for the partial fourth row. In stereo-mode, per-eye resolution for the horizontal direction is maintained, while the vertical resolution is cut in half.  The NexCAVE-Gen2 delivers high-brightness and high-contrast, allowing it to be used under normal lighthing conditions.

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NexCAVE-Gen-2 using a 5×3+2 tile layout

The NexCAVE-Gen2 is powered by 9 nodes with dual GPUs and 10 Gbps network interconnect, running Linux. An additional node serves as the head to control the rendering cluster. For user tracking and interaction, an optical tracking system with tracked gamepad are available. The tracking system utilizes two infrared cameras and wireless tracking targets.

The NexCAVE hardware design as well as its open-source software stacks, called CalVR and CGLX,  were entirely developed in-house.

Innovation:

  • The first, low-cost, multi-tile, passive stereo environment of its kind
  • Articulated display surfaces (rotated and stacked) approximating an equidistant viewer to screen configuration, while minimizing bezel size
  • Capable to operate under a broad range of lighting conditions
  • Modular
  • Scalable
  • Small footprint
  • Hight resolution VR, with the NexCAVE delivering a total of 35,251,200 pixels (35 megapixels) resolution

Access:

  • The NexCAVE is part of the shared-use cyber-infrastructure that our team is developing and as such is accessible to other research and development projects, demos or tours, through a recharge mechanism

Location:

  • The NexCAVE is co-located with the StarCAVE on the first floor of Atkinson Hall in room 1608a