College of Design’s
Jay Tomlinson, Assistant Dean for Research, Extension and Engagement,
College of Design
The Design Research and Services Laboratory is an interdisciplinary unit
of the College of Design with facilities oriented toward research and teaching
of advanced computer-based imaging, modeling, and simulation. The Laboratory
draws on the strength and experience of the various design disciplines
for visualization and problem-solving by involving students and faculty
from the College of Design and the University in its research and extension
projects. The Design Research and Services Laboratory has five research
areas: virtual environments, environmental visualization and simulation,
and community design.
One of the new resources available at the Design Research Laboratory is
a state of the art Vision Dome. The VisionDome allows up to 15 people to
experience an interactive model or visualization at full scale. The 180
degree concave screen provides of an experience similar to that of an OnmiMax
theater. This immersive visualization experience provides a new level of
information critical to the evaluation of design ideas.
The Vision Dome is defined as an immersive, multi-user, single projection
Virtual reality environment. By combining computer generated 3-D models
with advanced projection equipment, Vision Dome users are immersed in a
360 degree by 180 degree virtual environment. The vision Dome allows designers
and clients to interact in real time with a 3D model of a proposed design.
This immersive experience is critical to the visualization and evaluation
of design solutions. Additionally the Vision Dome is ideal for multi-user,
multi-sensory display of environmental simulations, training, design, engineering,
product display, energy exploration and production, education, medical
services and entertainment.
Three dimensional immersive environments (3D models)) are developed in
modeling applications such as AutoCAD, 3D studio Max or Alias Waterfront.
Models are exported in VRML or Inventor format. These interactive file
types are commonly displayed over the web by using a VRML plug-in with
the browser. The Vision Dome uses advanced optics to display these files
in the 180 degree immersive dome screen. The Vision Dome uses a unique
distortion correction OpenGL library, designed to work with viewer applications
that are OpenGL compliant.
The Vision Dome plays a key role in the demonstration of three-dimensional
thinking and communication skills. While designers are trained in visual
thinking, they too tend to under emphasize three-dimensional perception.
Resources such as the Vision Dome, which bring imagined environments to
life, help nurture an intuitive understanding of qualitative issues of
design not seen through traditional methods.
Users of the Vision Dome are not required to wear goggles, glasses, helmets,
or other restrictive devices. Upon entering the Vision Dome, user views
are into its hemispherical structure, which forms a fully immersive 180-degree
hemispheric screen. Users see vivid images which take on depth and reality
inside the Vision Dome. The Vision Dome creates a virtual reality-based
environment that enhances the professional worker's quality and productivity.
The Design Research Laboratory is currently using the Vision Dome for research
initiative and projects in the fields of:
· Landscape Architecture
· Industrial Design
· Urban Planning
· GIS Modeling and Simulation