OmegaDesk: An Instrument for Interactive Visual Data Exploration and Collaboration

OmegaDesk enables users to view stereoscopic 3D volumes while browsing - L. Long, EVL

Developers: Jason Leigh, Victor Mateevitsi, Yiwen Sun, Alessandro Febretti

Funding: NSF Award CNS-0821121

OmegaDesk provides researchers with a powerful, easy-to-use, information-rich, cyberinfrastructure instrument in support of scientific discovery. The OmegaDesk unifies ultra-high-resolution computer-enhanced collaboration workspaces and stereoscopic virtual environments with multi-touch-sensitive surfaces so that users can intuitively point, write, touch and manipulate the information displayed, and communicate and share this information with remote colleagues.

OmegaDesk provides capabilities not commercially available. It enables multiple viewers to simultaneously see stereoscopic 3D as well as 2D information from different viewpoints. It is high-resolution and multi-touch-enabled so more than one person can interact with the system at a time.

OmegaDesk development consists of several phases. All three phases are occurring concurrently to enable successive improvements.

Phase 1: EVL prototyped the design of a LCD-based multi-touch table, called TacTile.

Phase 2: While EVL’s initial goal was to construct a stereoscopic overlay for the table, EVL’s most recent prototype, called OmegaDesk, has two display screens - one is a multi-touch display and the other an active stereoscopic display, which are synchronized to work together. Several prototype applications now run on OmegaDesk. New camera-based input modalities (e.g., wand and gesture) are being developed.

Phase 3: EVL is developing an API library and device drivers, called OmegaLib, as well as confidence testing the system. OmegaLib will work with TacTile as well as OmegaDesk.

Two versions of the OmegaDesk are currently being built: stereoscopic and an autostereoscopic. The stereo version is based on a commercial product by JVC. The autostereo version is based on Dynallax. Dynallax will enable multiple viewers to see 3D without having to wear special 3D glasses. It will enable an LCD display to support viewing in several simultaneous modes, with the viewing mode selectable on a per-pixel basis. One or two users can be head-tracked with Dynallax so that 3D information is displayed from their points of view, or multiple users can share a 3D perspective, enabling group collaboration with 3D data. No commercial product exits that can do all these modes.

This latter mode, panoramic autostereo (or panoramagram), might be used for OmegaDesk. Multiple users could view this type of display, even upside-down, with limited “look-around” capability. Viewers could then stand along the two long sides of OmegaDesk and still see correct stereo views.

Email: spiff@uic.edu

Date: September 1, 2008 - August 31, 2012

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