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Digital Projection laser projector lights up CAVE installation

E-Vision Laser 10K chosen for temporary laboratory setup known as SIRCE

Integration specialist MPM Equipement has chosen Digital Projection’s E-Vision Laser 10K for a temporary CAVE installation at the Grenoble lab – known as Y.SPOT – operated by CEA Tech, the technology research arm of the CEA (France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission).

The installation – known as SIRCE (Smart Immersive Room for Circular-vision Experiment) – was designed by engineer and scenographer Frédéric Ravatin from CREATIME in the shape of three truncated pyramids, with a 5 sqm base (variable +/- 10% depending on the prototypes and configuration of the space). Inside, the ground and three of the faces serve as 3D-relief screens that can be used to recreate environments and objects, and even host video conferences in 3D.

All visitors are invited to wear XPAND 3D active glasses in order to give the feeling of total immersion when stereoscopic content is projected on the four synchronous and aligned screens. As the faces of SIRCE are tilted inwardly at an angle of 26°, significant perspective distortions can be induced and exaggerated in stereoscopy, making the virtual environment seem much larger than it actually is. In effect, the user is able feel as if they are looking ‘beyond’ the confines of the CAVE, recreating a larger world whose dimensions and space still appear ‘normal’ (a phenomenon known as ‘orthostereoscopy’).

“The idea was to create a virtual environment where any media and content could be shown in an immersive way,” said Nicolas Jeanselle, project manager at MPM Equipement. “We are, in effect, projecting peoples’ perception.”

For each screen, the team placed two virtual cameras roughly where the viewer’s eyes would be (around 1.6m from the ground, in this case); one for the left eye, drawn in red, and one for the right eye, drawn in blue. Each of the four projection surfaces (left, front, right, and ground) required two cameras, giving a total of eight, grouped into four ‘rigs’ of two. The left and right cameras of each rig were 6.5cm apart (the average distance between human eyes) and perfectly parallel with no convergence.

“This information is recorded, allowing us to create a synthetic model of SIRCE at the right scale, thanks to dimensions and angles taken being recorded with a laser meter,” said Jeanselle. “We then use the same cameras as if they were projectors, texturing the interior faces of the CAVE.”

Once the information has been recorded, it has to be sent in real time – using Derivative’s TouchDesigner – to five digital Projection E-Vision Laser 10K for projection on SIRCE.

“We needed a low maintenance unit capable of delivering 10,000 lumens, with a very short throw lens, which could be on axis with the centre of the CAVE,” continued Jeanselle. “Laser was also compulsory from an environmental perspective, as well as guaranteeing low noise and heat generation in the relatively small tent. Digital Projection projectors fulfilled all of these criteria and more, while being very well priced for their performance and quality. It also gave us a partner who could accompany us during the whole concept phase and beyond.”

Spanning over 3,300sqm, Y.SPOT is an open innovation centre, primarily used to develop a broad portfolio of technologies for ICT, energy, and healthcare, as well as disseminating new technologies for industry. Through its work at Y.SPOT (which welcomes collaborations with industry, SMEs, students, architects, and designers), CEA Tech is also able to provide businesses with access to key enabling technologies, as well as those developed by other CEA operating divisions.