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Date added: 2020-07-17

GUT Immersive 3D Visualization Laboratory

The Immersive 3D Visualization Laboratory (I3DVL)
The Immersive 3D Visualization Laboratory (I3DVL)/ Photo" Krzysztof Krzempek/GUT

It is one of the few such laboratories in the world and the only one in Poland. It is located at the Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics and has been operating since December 2014. It serves not only Gdańsk University of Technology community, but also companies and external partners. We are talking about the GUT Immersive 3D Visualization Laboratory - the first ‘hero’ of the new cycle: #MiejcaPG/(#Places of GUT).

The Immersive 3D Visualization Laboratory (I3DVL) is one of the most technologically advanced places at Gdańsk University of Technology. It was created thanks to a subsidy from EU funds (PLN 14.6 million), which was awarded as part of the ‘Modern GUT Auditorium’ project. A little over 5 years have passed since its opening, but the laboratory is constantly making a huge impression: both on students and GUT researchers, as well as on companies and institutions that, thanks to the creation of the laboratory, periodically establish cooperation with the university and implement joint projects.

In the middle of the over 12 meters high room there is a virtual reality cave in the shape of a cube (the length of each edge is 3.4 m) and a 3D sphere. Each of these elements can work separately - depending on the needs - but they can also create an integrated system for creating in-depth visualization of 3D space in virtual reality.

 People staying in the cave have the impression of being together, and even immersion in any virtual world created - says prof. Jacek Lebiedź, head of the I3DVL and one of the originators of building the laboratory at GUT. - This impression is obtained by putting on only light 3D glasses, known even from cinema halls. So there is no need to put half a kilo of optoelectronic equipment on your head.

Virtual reality for everyone

The laboratory has a wide range of applications. At any time, the I3DVL can become, for example, a virtual battlefield - used by soldiers of special units for military exercises - and then turn into a virtual operating theatre. Then it can be a place of a virtual trip into the past in medieval Gdańsk, a simulation of a building fire (for the use of firefighters and emergency services), or a faithfully rendered ‘copy’ of the designed building, into which the architect can invite the investor of the facility.

The possibilities are infinite - says prof. Lebiedź. - From learning to use the milling machine or drone operator training, through shooting training, visit at the crime scene, or a virtual wind tunnel, to the visualization of chemical structures, or 3D medical imaging.

That’s not everything. I3DVL can also be used to treat patients, e.g., by supporting phobia therapy. For this purpose, the laboratory cooperates e.g. with psychologists and their patients, and the effect of this cooperation is, among others application supporting the treatment of anxiety of heights.

 We also examine various aspects related to human behavior, e.g. we allow people to see the world through the eyes of a person suffering from depression - explains prof. Lebiedź. - We also examine moral attitudes, e.g. by building scenarios impossible to be implemented in reality.

I3DVL from the inside. Cave and 3D sphere

The main elements of the laboratory equipment are the aforementioned cave and 3D sphere. At the same time up to seven people can use the cave, which consists of walls being large screens.

People in the cave during the simulation have the impression that they are ‘inside’ of the virtual scene - explains prof. Lebiedź. - In addition, they can also move, rotate, bend and crouch freely because the software analyzes each participant's movement and adjusts the image in real time to the head position of the simulation participant.

I3DVL has three caves. The biggest and newest one is BigCAVE, but the laboratory is also equipped with MidiCAVE and MiniCAVE - yet they are less technologically advanced and are mainly used for application preparation. In turn, in the 3D sphere, the second most important component of the laboratory, only one person can stay, but it has additional and unique capabilities.

- The 3D sphere is a walking simulator placed on special rollers, which allows the participant to walk or even run ‘inside’ the stage on a similar principle as a hamster moving in a spinning wheel - adds prof. Lebiedź. - There is also no problem to combine simulations in the cave and sphere. The latter can be inserted into the cave and we can offer the participant an even more in-depth version of the virtual simulation with the possibility of a natural walk using their own legs. This is a unique solution on a global scale.

I3DVL in numbers:

12.5 m - room height

10 tons - weight of the whole structure

300 kg - weight of each wall in the cave

3.4 m - length of the edges of the walls in the 3D cave

3.1 m - diameter of the 3D sphere

11 cm - the thickness of the glass-acrylic layer of the floor screen

PLN 14.6 million - construction and equipment costs

We invite you for short, virtual walks around the Laboratory - videos from the inside are available on the GUT Youtube channel