Virtual Reality Group
Center for Computing and Communication
Lehrstuhl für Informatik 12
The aixCAVE is a five-sided immersive virtual reality environment at the Center for Computing and Communication, RWTH Aachen University. It has been constructed and installed in August 2012 by the Barco N.V. in collaboration with
the Virtual Reality
Group. With a size of more than 5 x 5 m2 for the rear floor projection, the system is not only the largest one worldwide, but raises the standards with respect to projection quality: by a sophisticated combination of high resolution, high brightness, brightness uniformity, specially coated screens, elaborate mechanical construction, and active stereo technology, a high level of immersion and an illusion of presence are achieved. The aixCAVE will be profitably and extensively used by numerous RWTH institutes and cooperation partners from academia and industry.
The stereoscopic projection is achieved via four digital projectors per wall screen and eight digital projectors for the floor screen. This results in a 360 degree view, leading to a nearly perfect immersion and facilitating natural navigation within the virtual environment. The projectors themselves have a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels and thus feature sharp, detailed representations, particularly for the interactive analysis of complex technical and physical processes.
The 24 HD-DLP projectors are driven by a 24-node visualization cluster with 48 NVIDIA GPUs of the latest generation. Each node contains 2 x Intel Xeon Westmere CPUs (6 Cores at 2.7GHz) and 24 GB RAM. The nodes have 2 x NVIDIA Quadro 6000 GPUs per slave node, one on master node. The nodes are connected by a high performance Infiniband QDR (quad data rate) network. The GPU cluster is part of the RWTH Bull HPC system.
The virtual reality toolkit ViSTA (Virtual Reality for Scientific Technical Applications) enables the development of applications for the whole range of VR input and output devices in general and the aixCAVE in particular. ViSTA is an open source, object-oriented (C++) cross-platform software library which aims at integration of VR technology and interactive 3D visualization into technical and scientific applications. Originally initiated by the Virtual Reality Group, nowadays it is continually being extended by a joint effort of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Virtual Reality Group. ViSTA is based on open standards and is scalable regarding computer platform / display technology.
Photos by RWTH Virtual Reality Group and Dieter Both