The StarCAVE is a fully immersive, passive-stereo, walk-in, virtual reality (VR) environment for BIG-VR, comfortably accommodating six users at a time. It implements a pentagon-shaped floor layout, with each of its five wall segments divided into three articulated display surfaces for a total of fifteen wall projection surfaces, in addition to the floor surface. All wall surfaces are designed for rear-projection to avoid occlusions through the user, while the floor surface is front projected (top projected). Each wall surface uses a pair of circularly polarized 2K projectors, i.e. one per eye, with an additional four projectors (two pairs) lighting up the floor surface, for a total of 34 projectors. One of the wall segments is designed to slide horizontally, providing access to the center of this surround projection environment. The sliding display surface may remain open during operations or be closed for a fully immerive 360 VR experience.
Every projector pair is driven by a dedicated computer with dual graphics cards and 10 Gbps network interconnect, running Linux. One additional node is serving as the head node to control the rendering cluster, for a total of 18 nodes. For user tracking and interaction, a wireless, optical tracking system and a wand are available. A many-channel sound system enables multi-modal data rendering, advancing visual and auditory data representation.
Users wear low-weight and low-cost, circularly polarized (passive stereo) glasses to separete the appropriate left-eye and right-eye view, and one user may optionally be equipped for real-time head (viewpoint) tracking.
The StarCAVE hardware design as well as its open-source software stack, called CalVR, were entirely developed in-house.