Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum’s Space Visualization Laboratory


Developers: Andrew Johnson, Jason Leigh, Robert Kooima

EVL has been working with the Adler Planetarium over the last several years to deploy EVL’s advanced visualization display technologies and applications into the museum setting. Initially, the projection-based 3D display system called GeoWall was installed, providing viewing of stereo photographs from the surface of Mars, and for conducting user studies of space-science-themed video games.

More recently (5/10/07), with the opening of Adler’s Space Visualization Laboratory (SVL), a more formal collaboration between Adler, EVL, UofC and Northwestern University colleagues has been established. SVL’s mission is to develop cutting-edge space science exhibits and enhance public education and outreach efforts for all participants via a working laboratory on the main exhibit floor that features a variety of scientific visualization applications and display technologies - many of which came out of EVL.

EVL Ph.D. doctoral candidate Robert Kooima, formerly a computer programmer at NASA, has been working jointly with Adler to teach SVL researchers how to use his scripting language Electro, a user friendly software for developing graphical applications on tiled and stereoscopic displays; and to help test and debug two new virtual-reality applications: Mars Transporter, a user controlled virtual flight around Mars, and StarFlight, a tour of the constellations in the Hipparcos star catalog.

Various next-generation displays systems such as EVL’s high-resolution tiled display wall will be evaluated for main show floor adaptability as well. Tiled display walls are gaining prevalence in the academic community for networked scientific collaboration. Tiling LCDs creates an impressive ultra-high-resolution display that can be connected via ultra-high-speed research and education networks for fast data retrieval and viewing. In the SVL setting, the tiled wall is especially well suited for real-time exploration of high-resolution imagery.

Email: spiff@uic.edu

Date: December 1, 2006 - Ongoing
Adler’s Space Visualization Laboratory - R. Kooima, EVL

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