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Graphics Software Technology

What is a CAVE Good For? 54

ynakai asks: "Today, I had the fortune to be allowed to play with demo applications in a CAVE. This technology is stunning, but what is the killer app? A staffer said that despite the potential use as a teaching tool for medical students, the system is rarely used now except by digital artists (who admittedly create some stunning experiences - try the VRML versions of some). Surely Slashdot can think up better ways to make use of a multimillion dollar room of fully immersive 3D interaction, besides FPS games?"
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What is a CAVE Good For?

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  • What it will wind up being used for, as with every other computer technology, is solitare and porn.
  • The first obvious answer is pr0n.

    Driver education would probably be a good use.
    You would only need to cover the passenger compartment windows with screens.
    Of course the animatronic backseat driving mother-inlaw could drive up costs
    and the suicide rate.
    • Then when you finally disconnect (say, after a week) for food or something, people will ask you questions about the news and when you're dumb founded cause you havn't watched tv in a week they can say "have you been living in a cave or what?" and you can say "actually, yes I have!"
  • "Surely Slashdot can think up better ways to make use of a multimillion dollar room of fully immersive 3D interaction, besides FPS games?"

    Better, yeah probably, but cooler, I dunno. Also, if you were a nerd in charge of coming up with idea for applying this technology, and it was already paid for, why on earth would you give up the best gaming rig on the planet. I'm sure there are a lot of great ideas, but everyone is afraid of losing their UT03K "test lab".

  • There simply isn't anything about using spreadsheets or word processors today that is enjoyable. They are the epitome of redundancy and boredom.

    Taking these to the 3rd dimension and immersive could make the profession of accountant and secretary more attractive to young college graduates.
    • How would taking charts, graphs, and grids of numbers into 3D make it more attractive? I think a better solution would be for hi resolution 3 or 4 ft LCD screens. It would be "cheaper" implementing it to. How many accountants or secretaries would get a CAVE system? Unless it improved productive like ten fold, not many.
  • Second Life [secondlife.com].
  • fully-immersive pr0n
  • Where have the CAVE people been getting their funding from? Surely they've applied for DARPA money. Battle field visualization is the obvious use for this technology.. as is air traffic control.
  • by bats ( 8748 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @09:40PM (#7159077) Homepage
    My company, CEI, Inc., makes a product called EnSight that's used in CAVE environments. EnSight is a general purpose scientific visualization tool used in a broad variety of fields. Take a look at the pretty pictures on our website [ensight.com]. Fields include astrophysics, professional motorsports, crash test simulations, industrial production simulation, biomedical, aerospace vehicle design, etc. Really high end visualization happens in a CAVE environment with 3-D goggles and head tracking equipment. This lets you move around through your simulation, look at things from different perspectives and even look from inside out. Most of these things are driven by big SGI boxes, but clustered (read linux) solutions are becoming more viable.

    EnSight -- See what you're missing! (Please mod accordingly for cheese content.)
  • It's not a bad thing to have around when you want to wow somebody...
  • you can download a vrml plugin here:

    http://ca.com/cosmo/ [ca.com]
  • CAVE experience here (Score:2, Informative)

    by Robbat2 ( 148889 )
    From working with a CAVE enviroment in a research lab for 2 years, I came to the simple conclussion that other than for developing and utilizing some custom 3D (with immersive stereo glasses, head tracking etc.) applications, and showing off your work on a big screen (with 3D of course).

    There is a definate wow factor to it that helps in promoting the research, but for the most part it becomes stale fast.

    Another shameless plug here, a custom math visualization system I spent quite a while in the developmen
  • I can think of a lot of answers, but they all involve high market penetration.

    Who would have guess that computers would someday be used for Instant Messaging in the 1970's? First computers have to be cheap, then penetrate the market, then get hooked up, then the software be developed, etc. I can imagine immersive setups or MMORPGs or really useful collaboration tools or all kinds of other things that require a lot of people to own the hardware or a lot more bandwidth.

    Basically, if you imagine technology a
  • .. my company has a spherical video camera whose format would translate very well to the CAVE system. Can't tell you about practical applications here, but I can tell you at least that the technology to have it use real video, not just CG video, might be interesting to somebody out there.
  • I think the "killer app" is being able to walk through a building that is just plans, before construction starts. Or to walk around a large object that is still in plans (eg. a plane or car) to see how it will turn out. Yeah, there's regular 3d render software that you can do this with on a small scale, but to do it life-size is something else. Especially with architectural plans.
  • Two words (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red ( 307103 ) <Rick.The.Red@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @10:42PM (#7159577) Journal
    Stellar Cartography. [loony-archivist.com]
  • Lots of folks like this app:

    caveQuake [uiuc.edu]

    The guy that did that work is one of the princples of Visbox [visbox.com], a company that does high end displays. They were at Siggraph this past year.

    • Surely Slashdot can think up better ways to make use of a multimillion dollar room of fully immersive 3D interaction, besides FPS games?

      I've never personally used a CAVE, but after looking over some of the reading material and the caveQuake site I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't be able to play FPS's in a CAVE.

      The head tracking sounds good at first, until I think of how much twisting and turning I actually put my gun-toting avatars through; if I had to do that with my neck I'd either be in a neck

      • Playing CQ is nothing like playing the one sitting down in front of a screen. You re-adjust when you're playing like this. There's no real movement, other than turning (your head or body) and ducking.

        I've got motion sickness justa by sitting down in front of the screen and doing just non-stop running, and that was in Doom. You're not any more prone to motion sickness with CQ than you are with a regular screen, as long as you're the one controlling the action in CQ.

  • by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Tuesday October 07, 2003 @10:50PM (#7159639) Homepage Journal
    Pornography was a driving force in the mass market acceptance of:

    Movie theaters


    Pay TV

    The Internet

    i.e. Basically all forms of rich media transmission. Do not dismiss porn as a venue to sell your new technology. It truly could be very helpful.

    • I can't vouch for the veracity of this, but someone told me that initially porn was the driving force behind DVDs. The feature to view a single scene from multiple angles made for some interesting possibilities.
  • The crew I work for makes some pretty flash software for visualising oil and gas reservoirs in 3D in an immersive environment. It's not exactly the same as a CAVE, but we have variously used active/passive stereo and domes in the past to achieve pretty much that same effects (I'm sure it would work in a real CAVE too).

    It never ceases to draw the "oohs and ahhs" from customers. The thing is, they actually find it useful, not just as some pretty eye candy. I guess you'd want to for the price of that SGI Onyx
  • Studying France? Take a class trip to Paris. OK, so that's too expensive, but if you can get the kids to a local CAVE they can get the walking tour and a good feel for the city.

    The missing bit of technology would be something that could interpolate between QTVR nodes in a scene, to allow for arbitrary motion. Yeah, that's hard, but there are few motivators as enticing as cool hardware. :)

  • Halliburton recently bought a company here in Houston called magic earth [magicearth.com].
    They have a nice dome shaped cave [magicearth.com] for 3D oil exploration.

    too bad the idiots don't have a larger picture on their website.

    All that oil money buys some really cool toys.

    • I know BP has a few of these at their major sites and use them for looking at seismic data for exploration and for some teleconferencing, I believe.
    • See my comment above. I work for Schlumberger and we acquired InsideReality a while ago. The software does pretty much what MagicEarth does. Check it out at:
      http://www.sis.slb.com/content/about/campaigns/per formance/insidereality.asp
  • Shelter, duh.

  • > What is a CAVE Good For?

    Ask OBL; he's lived in one for the past two years.

  • ... for researching the effects of visual-vestibular conflict on human balance. It's basically as good as it gets for researching vision; all the affordable (not to say CAVE isn't expensive) head-mounted displays have too narrow field of view and tend to be cumbersome.

    Another application I can think of is exploratory data analysis (or data mining if you prefer). You can have multiple visualizations of a large data set floating around and even go into the data. The thing is that humans are very good a pa

  • It's probably vast overkill, but 3d systems frequently don't lend themselves to 2d visualization that well. Take, say, a building's power system. Sure, you could pop it on someone's computer with a 3d card, but computer input devices aren't anywhere near as nice to use as actually moving over to what you want to look at.

    It might be interesting in computer vision -- you can actually produce an environment to desired specifications (or over a gradient of worsening conditions) to test in.

    Commercial 3d virt
  • I've heard of immersive environments being used to cure certain phobias. Acrophobia, in particular, was "curable" with a few treatments in a VR environment. An immersive interactive environment can be used to let people play out/explore/explain out their anxieties...
  • What is a CAVE Good For?

    How cool would Batman be without it?
  • The CAVE is a projection based virtual reality system developed at the Electronic Visualization Lab; it was created by Carolina Cruz-Neira, Dan Sandin, and Tom DeFanti, along with other students and staff of EVL.

    Staff of EVL? Boy does that lend itself to typo abuse.
  • The Ars Electronica Center [www.aec.at] in Linz has a CAVE installation [www.aec.at]. I had the chance to use it on a guided tour. Graphic quality was not too great, esp. when compared with todays FPS, but the experience was really cool!

    I'd say the main areas of use for a CAVE system are design and construction, for example cars or houses. Anything that needs to been seen with the spatial component but is too expensive to build as a prototype. Just imagine building a house and then having to tear it down again because in the comp
  • For a lot of applications headsets are probably better. When I tried the CAVE here I was blown away by the immersion, to the extent that I bashed into the wall. And that's the connundrum at the heart of the thing - if you have something so immersive, that allows you to turn around and look at the virtual environment, many uses you might have for it would involve walking. Effectively you have something halfway between 3 (rotations) and 6 (rotations + translations) degrees of freedom - you *can* translate
    • Actually, there exists a walking surface that is essentially a conveyor belt that can move in both directions simultaneously - it was created for DARPA's "dismounted soldier" project (think of two belts overlapped at right angles to each other, and the belts consist of multiple rollers running parallel with the direction of travel of the belt - ie, perpendicular to the end rollers for the belts). The system also had hydraulic rams to change the incline of the "terrain", as well as motors and such to provide
  • A very simple application that should be simple to write is a simulation of Flatland. See firsthand what it's like to move and interact while immersed in a 2D environment.

    Another fun thing would be flying! Without a plane, of course, the way Superman or the Flying Nun used to do it. In the spirit of Douglas Adams, you'd start off by throwing yourself at the ground and missing.

    It also shouldn't be hard to arrange a walking tour for architecture students through a city that includes hundreds of architectura
  • Until the games industry starts branching out into other occupations other than "lone military man behind enemy lines," driver (usually race but they are branching now alittle), pilot, or sports, then you won't find alot of use for it. What we need are games like crime scene detective, archaeologists (other than Indy).

    Most outdoor type of work though would be alot cheaper performed outside somewhere. The advantage of a CAVE system is that you could have a standardized model that everyone practices or test
  • Surely Slashdot can think up better ways to make use of a multimillion dollar room of fully immersive 3D interaction . . .

    I started to reach for the keyboard at this point, but then:

    . . . besides FPS games?

    D'oh! Well, if you're going to add that little proviso, then no, I can't think of anything . . .
  • I've always thought the ideal development environment would be a virtual chamber.

    Most IDEs and editors feel visually constraining. (Think how useful your desk would truly be if you had to interact with it through a 12x13 hole.

    I want the complete document in front of me, with another complete document sitting right next to it. (I actually used to print out code, lay it out on the floor, and debug with a pencil.

  • Big wraparound projection screens provide a much better effect than the cube of flat screens. The CAVE approach only looks right from one viewpoint anyway, so you may as well use a wraparound screen in front of a desk.
  • The problem with trading anything is the vast arrange of variables - current actual holdings, hedges, debt, tax, cost-of-carry - which can all vary depending on the variety and type of security/commodity.

    Make an app where you can see it all and manipulate (via hooks to a trading to trading system/spreadsheet/e-trade) everything and you are on a winner - even 0.1% increase in profitability matters when you do a lot of trades

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