Thursday, December 07, 2006

CNSI Allosphere at UCSB

On Thursday, 30th of November, I had chance to visit a space called Allosphere at UCSB. The Allosphere is a 3-story high spherical space in which one will be able to experience fully immersive, interactive, stereoscopic and pluriphonic virtual environments. The space was in construction but one could already experience many of its features. The Allosphere is located in the California Nanosystems Institute.

Various features of the space were kindly introduced by Dr. Xavier Amatriain, Prof. JoAnn Kuchera-Morin and their colleagues. Once equipped, the CNSI Allosphere will be one of the largest immersive instruments in the world. It will contain features such as true 3D 360-degree projection of visual and aural data, and sensing and camera tracking for interactivity. The sphere will accommodate approximately fifteen people on a bridge suspended in the middle of the instrument.

During the introduction, we were standing on the bridge and following the demonstration with glasses enabling a visual 3D experience. I was also given a device with which I could "fly" in the virtual world. The demonstration consisted of the surface layers of the cortex of one of their researchers. One of the important starting points of the Allosphere had been the idea that the environment would enable researchers and artists to develop jointly new ways of human-computer interaction.

When Xavier Amatriain (blog) was describing the 3D Audio Subsystem, he mentioned about his active connections with the Laboratory of Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing in our university. The laboratory is well known, for instance, for its research on spatial sound, and analysis and synthesis of musical sounds.

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