Virtual Reality

York U Adds Immersive EGG for Research

Researchers at a Canadian university have tapped an immersive system to learn more about how the vestibular system regulates balance and motion in extreme and even ordinary environments. York University's Centre for Vision Research installed Christie Digital's Edgeless Graphics Geometry (EGG) 3D stereoscopic visualization system in its multi-sensory integration lab. EGG, shaped like the inside of an egg, allows a person to sit at the screen and feel immersed within the environment.

"If you're in an unusual environment, like space or underwater, where some of your senses are compromised or give distorted information, we want to know how those senses that remain are able to continue to work. How the senses combine together will help us when driving, flying aircraft or operating in the more extreme environments of space or deep-water diving," said Laurence Harris, director of the center and a professor at the university, in a press release.

The new set-up delivers a seamless and large field of view that gives the researchers functionality they currently lack. For example, an environment that includes walls where edges meet up provides "unwanted visual stimuli" and makes tracking of a participant's head movements difficult. Head-mounted displays, on the other hand, provide relatively low resolution and deliver a limited field of vision.

"We were looking for a device that would project a very large field of view, with high resolution and good stereo over the whole field and which could be presented to a participant while they are either sitting or standing. The flexibility of a full-field visual stimulus is what we were looking for," he added. The system delivers a 110-degree field of view.

The institution acquired the system through a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant after seeing it in action at an education conference. The system includes eight Christie Mirage WU-L WUXGA 3D projectors and sits on a raised platform, allowing the research team to configure it for participants who may be sitting or standing.

One of the projects the center expects to research includes a study of balance and stability in the elderly "to understand the cues they use to stay upright," said Harris. "The EGG has enabled us to do experiments that we couldn't do before."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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