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[Ben]:Eventful day Discuss This [2 comments so far] View Comments
I've attended IUPUI for many years now, and the whole time I've been involved in the Informatics program, I've heard about the neat systems and amazing technology that the IT building first was going to have, and later was known to have. The teachers have waxed poetic describing the computing power and the complexity of the equipment.

Today I got to play with it.

As part of a tour one of my teachers arranged, we went over to the portion of the building in perpetual lock-down wearing GUEST badges and following a gentleman by the name of Jeff. First we saw a giant video wall that was set up for doing large-scale teleconferences. I had my picture taken with a $17,000 3-d laser camera and thrown up on the enormous screen.

Children wept.

We went and saw some really neat projects that combined technology with odd things such as a table that you could lay plastic food on and which would determine what the food represented and the nutritional value thereof. We saw a five foot tall three-dimensional visualization of a gene mutation that is associated with prostate cancer.

The coolest thing we got to see was The Cave. The Cave is a box made from four screens. You stand on one screen face another and two more fold around you so you are surrounded by screens. You wear goggles with little nodules sticking out of them whose position is tracked by the system. The screens project a virtual world around you and the goggles make it appear to be three-dimensional. We saw Quake III rendered life-size. I got the chance to play with a VR version of the Visible Human project and virtually manipulate the inside of a human head.

Folks, this that was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Pity the computer that runs it is $125,000 - and that's not factoring in the screens, projectors, etc.

I got some pictures with my phone, and we'll see how they came out tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, remember Jeff - the fellow who showed us around the place? As it turns out, he's my neighbor. Maybe I'll be able to convince him to let me play around with it again someday.
  2006-11-02
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