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Just how real is the virtual reality of today? Old Dominion University's Center for Advanced Engineering Environments (CAEE) in Hampton will hold an open house and a series of demonstrations on May 1 to allow the public to experience the latest in 3-D immersion and other interactive visualization technologies.

Imagine a full-sized, very realistic holographic image of a person in New York being beamed into a boardroom in Los Angeles. The virtual visitor presents a 3-D image of a product and delivers a marketing speech while making eye contact with the audience in the boardroom. This is possible today with technologies from EON Reality, a California company that is a partner of CAEE and the world's leading interactive visual content management software provider.

EON is teaming with the ODU center, which is in the Peninsula Higher Education Center, for the development of strategies and applications that will expand the usefulness of EON technologies. EON IPresence, EON TouchLight and EON ICatcher will be demonstrated at the open house.

"Our objective with the open house is to display visualization environments that do not exist anywhere else in the region," said Ahmed Noor, the director of CAEE and William E. Lobeck Professor of Aerospace Engineering at ODU.

The public is invited to come to the center at 600 Butler Farm Road between noon and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1. Visitors are asked to register at http://www.aee.odu.edu/openhouse2007.php and select a tour session beginning at noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.

IPresence is the technology for tele-immersion with eye-to-eye contact that allows the virtual conferencing described above. It seamlessly merges reality with high-resolution computer graphics and video.

TouchLight is 3-D display technology that allows a person to interact with 3-D visual content. This could involve a customer examining a 3-D image of an automobile, turning it front to back in order to get a view from every angle. The process, which can be used in interactive training as well as marketing displays, was developed by Microsoft Corp. and licensed to EON.

ICatcher is a cost-effective example of immersive stereoscopic 3-D flat-wall imaging for larger audiences. Objects referenced by instructors or marketers seem to float out from a display screen for people within the ICatcher environment, each of whom wears special eyeglasses.

Noor said effective integration of 3-D advanced visualization, display and interaction technologies pioneered by CAEE also will be demonstrated at the open house. He believes the products to be shown at the event can inspire young students, revolutionize learning and boost marketing and training efficiencies for private companies, the military, homeland security, and institutions such as medical schools and other enterprises.

"The rapid pace of creating new information is faster than our ability to learn it," Noor explained. "CAEE is working on the synergistic coupling of advanced 3-D
visualization, display, interaction and other technologies to enable learning at the speed of sight, thereby alleviating the problem."

He noted that graduate programs at ODU include instruction in visualization and other aspects of modeling and simulation.

Noor and the center have worked with NASA on numerous projects, including virtual space exploration, training in virtual environments and systems testing using simulations. More information about CAEE and its projects can be found at http://www.aee.odu.edu/index2.php. More information about EON Reality is at http://www.eonreality.com.

This article was posted on: April 23, 2007

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