Mechdyne Corporation has recently announced that it has licensed the CAVE2 hybrid reality environment developed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at University of Illinois at Chicago. The licensing agreement was signed in January of 2013, and continues the strong working relationship that began in 1994 when Mechdyne licensed the EVL-designed original CAVE technology.
The term CAVE is an acronym for CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment and also a reference to “The Simile of the Cave” in Plato’s Republic, in which the philosopher explored the concepts of perception, reality and illusion.
The CAVE2 system provides a near-seamless, 320 degree, panoramic 2D/3D environment that supports information-rich analysis with stunning immersive visuals. “Although the CAVE2 advanced virtual reality technology is a next generation system, many of the legacy CAVE applications can be integrated into the CAVE2 system,” said Kurt Hoffmeister, VP of Engineering and Product Development for Mechdyne.
“With Mechdyne as an integrator of the CAVE2 design, we can point our collaborators who are interested in incorporating the CAVE2 technology to Mechdyne,” said Jason Leigh, Ph.D., Director of the EVL and Professor of Computer Science at University of Illinois at Chicago. “This enables our colleagues to receive a top-notch product with full technical support from Mechdyne,” Leigh explained.
According to Hoffmeister, “One of the biggest benefits offered by the CAVE2 system is its versatility. The system can be integrated to provide the resolution and clarity that matches human visual acuity, for an entirely new level of immersive and collaborative experience.”
A key feature of the CAVE2 design is the use of 3D capable LCD flat panel screens rather than rear projection, which enables more efficient use of facility space, compared to previous generation CAVE technology, Hoffmeister explained. “The CAVE2 design also accommodates off-axis vertical viewing angles, eliminating any 3D ghosting at the top or bottom of the large viewing area,” he added.
The development of the CAVE2 technology was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. Some of the royalties of licensing of the CAVE2 system will help fund future research at EVL, explained Leigh.
“Every day we’re hearing more and more about ‘big data’,” Leigh commented. “Advanced visualization systems like the CAVE2 provide a lens to bring big data into focus—for deeper understanding and greater insight.”
Mechdyne expects major users of the CAVE2 system will include universities, scientific research organizations, energy companies, and manufacturing and design organizations worldwide.
CAVE2 and CAVE are trademarked by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.