The CAVE artists

Cover photo from “The CAVE artists,” Nature Medicine, Vol. 20, 2014. D. Barnes in Monash University’s CAVE2™ navigating thru a connectome map of neural brain connections - Nature Medicine

Institutions: UIC Department of Psychiatry, Monash University

Nature Medicine, Vol. 20, 2014

The article “The CAVE artists” was recently published in Nature Medicine, Vol. 20, 2014, pp. 228-230, doi:10.1038/nm0314-228. The article was published online March 4, 2014.

SUMMARY In the era of big data, biomedical databases are brimming with protein structures, image collections and genomic sequences. As the data mount, new “cave automatic virtual environments”, or CAVEs, are being built to help researchers pick through the files. Dyani Lewis meets the pioneers behind these large-scale visualization labs to see whether immersive virtual worlds can cut through the complexity.

The article notes that these large-scale visualization facilities are not widely used in the biomedical world. It cites the CAVE2’s multimillion-dollar price tag. But, then gives several success stories of “CAVE dwellers” who have had “aha” moments viewing patterns in CAVE devices that were not previously apparent.

One of the researchers featured in the article is Olusola Ajilore, a neuropsychiatrist at UIC. Ajilore is using the CAVE2 in Chicago to study whether impairments in white matter integrity underlie depression in the elderly. According to the article, “Scientists like Ajilore are only too happy to be leading the charge. ‘I think there’s a huge upside in having new ways of visualizing large data sets,’ he says. ‘If we have innovative ways of being able to visualize that data and understand that data, hopefully that will lead to better discoveries.’”

The article also has a table of notable CAVE™s, CAVE2™s and similar displays.


Date: March 4, 2014

Document: “The CAVE artists,” Nature Medicine, Vol. 20, 2014, pp. 228-230, doi:10.1038/nm0314-228

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