Getting Physical in Four Dimensions

Developers: Daniel J. Sandin, Joanna Mason, Louis H. Kauffman, Milana Huang, George Francis

Funding: NSF, DoE

The goal of this application is to provide a more intuitive understanding of hyperspace. It enabled users to physically interact with objects in four dimensions.

A series of classical 4D objects are projected into the 3D CAVE through simultaneous projection of both 3D slices and perspective projection. There is also a mode that enabled the user to directly draw 4D surfaces of revolution by drawing a 3D curve. The user controls both the 4D projection point and the 3D viewing point, in addition to rotation and translation, in four dimensions.

A sub-cultural goal of this project was to enable users to develop an intuitive understanding of hyper-dimensional worlds. Human beings have learned about the 3D world in which we live by manipulating objects within it. In this project, the goal is to let people directly manipulate 4D objects in four dimensions. Previously, 4D objects were projected into three dimensions and then into two dimensions for viewing. Virtual reality allows a much more 3D environment, minimizing the effects of 3D-to-2D projections. It also creates a more physical interface to the 4D objects and their projections and transformations, which gives participants better intuitive insight into four dimensions.

This application was a part of VROOM - the Virtual Reality Room event showcased at SIGGRAPH 94.


Date: July 1, 1994 - July 15, 1994
D. Sandin, EVL

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