The VT-CAVE \TM-- Vision: A Bridge Between Research & Education
University Visualization and Animation Group
  Overview of UVAG / Download "One-Pager"

Information on current location:
Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center
  VT-CAVETM is the "short name" for

  University Visualization and Animation Group
  of the
  Institute for Critical Technology and
Applied Science 

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  General Information

  Featured Projects

  NSF-ARI CAVE Proposal

    Partnerships:    Off-campus

General Information about VT-CAVETM

Visit Us / Reports: 98 04 / Event Chronology / Proposed Management Plan / Business Plan (Draft) /
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VT-CAVE Images: slide1 / slide2 / slide3
A Collage of CAVETM images and some publications from NCSA & EVL

The NSF-ARI CAVE Proposal
The NSF Academic Research Infrastructure proposal was funded at $1.6M.
Web links for the CAVETM: (1) White Paper , (2) Proposal, and (3) Final Report

Comments from Ron Kriz (Contact for Scientific Applications and NCSA liaison),
Comments from Debby Hix (Contact for Human Computer Interaction Applications),

Off-Campus Partnerships:
NCSA / EVL: The CAVE(tm) proposal was written prior to the PACI proposal in partnership with NCSA as part of the University Visualization Group of the ACITC. This ACITC resource was setup to benefit both on- and off-campus: NCSA's VR-Developers Grid / EVL's Tele-Immersion SC98. There are other proposals related to the CAVE(tm) proposal, also in partnership with NCSA: NCSA-SGI Power Grid Alliance / VT's Proposal and the NSF NCSA-PACI Alliance / Virginia Tech / Event Chronology. With a discount from being a member of the NCSA-SGI Power Grid Alliance the College of Engineering bought an ImmersaDesk and created the Visualization and Animation Laboratory of Engineering (VALE) which became part of UVAG. Our PACI project was originally called "LimboAware" which became the "CAVE Collaborative Console" ( CCC). The CCC uses EVL's LIMBO together with awareness tools in a shared virtual environment of CAVE, I-Desks, and/or CAVE simulators running on desktop SGI workstations. As a PACI partner our group participated in the Chautauqua PACI Alliance Presentation, "Innovations in Science, Computing, and Grid Technology", at University of Kentucky, August 23, 1999, and again on June 13-15, 2000 at the NCSA Access Center where CCC was demonstrated. In collaboration with the NCSA Access Center and the Academic Global Excellence (AGE) program our group organized a VRML and CCC training session for instructors at the Maryland Virtual High School, March 17-18, 2000 and again for students from Montgomery Blair High School, July 17-20, 2000. Collaborations with EVL on another Tele-immersion project that originated at Virginia Tech: Ray Kass, Mountain Lake Workshop, Virginia Tech Foundation, Jacqueline Matisse-Monnier, "Kites Flying In and Out of Space". Numerous web links include: 1) Ray Kass Mountain Lake Workshop: Jackie Matisse, "Art That Soars In and Out of Space", 2) EVL's Tele-Immersion Starlight, 3) Tom Coffin's Project Summary, and 4) Research Magazine Article published by the Research Division at Virginia Tech

K-12 / Distance Learning: The Central Virginia Governors School ( CVGS) has worked with the Laboratory for Scientific Visual Analysis on developing a web based K-12 educational project called DIGSTATS. Dr. Tom Morgan, Director of CVGS, and Dr. Ron Kriz, VT-CAVE Director, submitted a proposal, " Extending the Use of Collaborative Virtual Environments for Instruction to K-12 Schools ", to SiliconGraphics Inc and Virginia Tech's Institute for Connecting Science Research to the Classroom (ICSRC). This proposal was accepted and will use EVL's LIMBO together with the PACI CAVE Collaborative Console (CCC) project to create a collaborative learning environment between Governors Schools in Virignia.  First VRML and CCC Training  Session for govern schools instructors was on June 17 and 18, 1999. Our group demonstrated CCC at the NCSA Access Center, November 17, 1999. Progress Report and Position Paper on CCC, January 16, 2000. Results of this K-12 project includes CVGS CCC web-pages that describe lesson plans and link to presentations at the TILT (2000) and VAST (2000) conferences. DIGSTATS, TILT, and K12 CAVE related projects are support by the Institute for Connecting Research and Science to the Classroom. A paper "Extending the Use of Collaborative Virtual Environments for Instruction to K-12 Schools" provides a more complete description of this project which was published in the Journal "Insight " and sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Emerginig Technologies in Education (IAETE). IAETE also sponsored Think Quest Live Event: Exploring the Future of Learning where Professor John Wenrich and Ron Kriz demonstrated CCC in realtime as part of the thinkquestlive program on advanced networks / Internet2 pavilion: "My Teacher's an Avatar". A summary of this project was featured in the VT-news article The UVAG lab resources were also used by the Roanoke County Schools Externship Program, where Arvind Chavali, a senior at CAVE Springs H.S., used the CAVE for his senior project, "Visualization of AutoCAD Model Cell Structure in CAVE Immersive Enironments"

On-Campus Partnerships: RDF-VELab / IDFL / CMSMS / BioChem / etc.

--> Contact Person

Industry Partnerships

Strategic Alliance Program: More information is provided that describes how we will work with industry when we move into our new ACITC labs.

CIT Study Award: The VT-CAVE is presently (January 1999) funded by CIT (Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology) to explore VEs as a new technology in Virginia: Project Title: " Infrastructure Development and Planning Project to Explore the Benefits of a Collaborative Virtual Environment in Virginia Universities and Businesses". The final report will be posted here at the end of May.

This planning project has already defined contacts at several universities, where companies and university faculty are exploring how they would work together using Virtual Environments.
Please contact any of these individuals if you are a faculty or industry interested in learning more about virtual environments.

Featured VT-CAVE(tm) Projects:

Center for Modeling and Simulation in Material Science -- website
Diana Farkas, Materials Science and Engineering -- e-mail

We are investigating intermetallic alloys in order to develop new structural materials for high temperature applications. The goal is to develop new alloys with increased strength and ductility. NiAl is a prime candidate and we are simulating the behavior of cracks propagating in this material.

The phenomena that occur at the crack tip are three dimensional in nature and the CAVE visulazation will help researchers and students understand the mechanisms of fracture in order to design materials with improved ductility. Using AtomView in CAVE allows us to virtually walk around the atoms at the critical region of the crack tip. Recently we have combined AtomView with the CAVE Collaborative Console (CCC) and created CCC_atom where researchers can collaborate by sharing views, analyzing and interpreting results of their supercomputer simulations at their desktop workstations or in an immersive environment of a CAVE. AtomView has been used in a collaboration between Virginia Tech & Paul Scherrer Institute where the CAVE is used to study the formation of partial dislocations from grain boundaries in a Ni polycrystal. With the System-X tera-scale computer at Virginia Tech, the UVAG has created a "real-time" "computational-steering" Atomview application.

Click on images to enlarge with a brief description

Download Crystal Lattice VRML 1.0 file (176K)

Interior Design Program -- website
Joan McLain-Kark, Principal Investigator -- e-mail
Co-Investigators: Lennie Scott-Weber, Anna Marshall-Baker, Eric Wiedegreen, Jeanette Bowker, and Bob Parsons.

We have researched computer simulation including modeling, rendering, animation, and virtual reality (VR) as potential methods to improve the interior design process. Simulation early in the design process can detect errors in design including those that cause physical or psychological harm.

Unlike most VR equipment which generates low resolution images, the CAVE provides a high-resolution virtual environment which is ideal for testing detailed designs. The CAVE could be used for virtual prototyping of interior components or entire environments. Our particular interests are in simulating designs for environments that coincide with the research expertise of the investigators. These include design for elderly (e.g. assisted living, nursing homes), neonatal units in hospitals, educational facilities, and office environments.

NCSA hosted a Visual Supercomputer Institute where professors Joan McLain-Kark, Dennis Jones, and Ron Kriz worked on a team project to convert AutoDesk 3DStudio files into a CAVE walk thru. Some images below provide a summary of this team project. The original AutoDesk model was created by Jongran Lee, HIDM Department, as part of her Ph.D. dissertation: "Comparing the Effectiveness of Computer Simulation on Computer Monitor vs. Virtual Reality as Communication Tools in Interior Design"

How to get started in the CAVE and converting 3DS files to CAVE format


Click on images to enlarge

Download Dr. Lee's Ph.D dissertation

Download ACITC-UVAG VRML 1.0 file (5.3Mbyte)

Below are other models and renderings done by students in the Advanced CAD class taught by Joan McLain-Kark spring 1997. These were done in 10-12 hours using 3D Studio software by Autodesk. These models can also be brought into the CAVE where 6-8 people can be "immersed" in the environment or feel very close to experiencing the actual environment.

Click on images to enlarge: From right to left: Jung Park / Eric Sweet / Chris Turner

Architecture's RDF VELab: -- website
Dennis Jones, Principal Investigator -- e-mail
RDF VELab Co-Investigators: John Dicky, Jim Jones, Robert Schubert, Mike O'Brein, Mehdi Setareh, Brian Squibb, Wallid Thabet.
Project Co-Investigators: Jason Carwile, Jeremy Kane, Paul Tavernise:
Cybercore History Project: Select Modules / Monastic Architecture Between Cluny and Citeaux : Paul Tavernise, Project Manager.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies has completed numerous CAVE related projects. Please contact Professor Dennis Jones for details. The project featured here was a student project. The cathedral at Cluny France that was destroyed in the French revlolution was the largest and perhaps the most magnificant cathedral in Europe. The images below capture some of the views a visitor would see while walking thru the cathedral.

QuickTime Movie (20Mb) Narthex Interior Nave Section
Click on images to enlarge: From right to left: QuickTime Walkthru Points / Narthex Interior / Section of nave 

Robotics and Automation Laboratory: -- website
Dr. Michael Deisenroth, Principal Investigator -- e-mail
Granduate Research Assistant: Jeff Sugar
CAVE Programmer Support: John Kelso

The Robotics and Automation Laboratory is part of the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Center in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. Professor Mike Deisenroth and Jeff Sugar, M.S. project proposal, created a prototype of the NASA SSRMS (Space Station Remote Manipulator System) which is a robotic arm that would be used in the construction of the NASA International Space Station. This project was a demonstration of the type of collaborative design projects that will be become part of the NASA Intelligent Synthesis Environment where engineers will use virtual environments such as CAVEs, I-Desks, and VE simulators running on desktop workstation all connected across high speed networks. The images below capture some of the views while manipulating the arm in the CAVE Simulator. For more information contact Mike Deisenroth.

Click on images to enlarge: From right to left: SSRM Schematic / Intl Space Station QT-Movie (11Mb) / SSRM QT-Movie (3Mb)

Virtual Environment for Ship Mounted Cranes
(a collaborative project)

Nonlinear Vibrations Laboratory: -- website
Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM)

Ali Nayfeh and Ziyad Masoud

University Visualization and Animation Group (UVAG)
Lance Arsenault (CS), John Kelso (CS), and Ron Kriz (ESM and UVAG Director)
-- e-mail

Embedded in the floor of the CAVE at Virginia Tech is a six degree of freedom MOOG 2000E motion platform. This project was funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) MURI and DURIP, PI: Ali Nayfeh and CoPI: Ziyad Masoud. Design and construction of the CAVE floor support structure for the MOOG motion platform was coordinated by Ron Kriz: Progress Report (16 Jan 2001) and Final Report. Reconstruction of the CAVE, modification of the floor, and creation of the DIVERSE software APIs (DTK/DPF/DGL) were created by Lance Arsenault, John Kelso, Chris Logie, and Andrew Ray. Mohammed Daqaq used DTK and DGL to create an interactive crane ship simulator in the CAVE, Masters Thesis: Virtual Reality Simulation of Ships and Ship-Mounted Cranes. The current (2005) CAVE Linux computer system, DADS, and the CAVE interface to the MOOG (DADS-MOOG) was created by Patrick Shinpaugh, Andrew Ray, and Ron Kriz, which was funded by the College of Engineering and Virginia Tech Foundation CAVE Renovation Account.

Click on images to enlarge

A. Nayfeh / Z. Masoud
Simulation: Masters Thesis
Mohammed F. Daqaq
CAVE Motion Platform System Design :
( Structure/Visual Summary)

Control of Spacecraft Simulators Using Immersive Virtual Environments
(undergraduate research)

Space Systems Simulation Laboratory (SSSL): -- website
Mike Shoemaker, Undergraduate AOE
supervised by
Chris Hall, AOE/SSSL -- e-mail
Ron Kriz, ESM/UVAG -- e-mail

The Space Systems Simulation Laboratory ( SSSL) houses a Distributed Spacecraft Attitude Control System Simulator ( DSACSS) which is under continual development. Mike Shoemaker chose to use the DSACSS to visualize potential orbital scenarios by using the Virginia Tech CAVE and the DIVERSE API. Using DIVERSE DTK Mike demonstrated that it was possible to remotely control the movement of the DSACSS remotely while in the CAVE. Results were summarized in the final report for AERO4994 and also presented at the 2004 AIAA Region I-MA Student Conference, April 16-18, Blacksburg, Virginia: ( AIAA paper 04-22682).

Click on images to enlarge

AERO4994 Research Project:
DSACSS Controlled from the CAVE
Simulation Movie

Development of Interactive Immersive Scientific Visualization Environment
for the Analysis of Complex Cardio-Vascular Flows
(Biomechanics Research Project)

Fluids Dynamics Group: -- website
in the
Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics

Ali Etebari, Graduate Student ESM
supervised by
Demetri Telionis, ESM -- e-mail
Pavlos Vlachos, ME/ESM -- e-mail
Ron Kriz, ESM/UVAG -- e-mail

The experimental investigation and analysis of complex vortical flows has always been a very tedious task. The level of complexity increases significantly in the case of spatio-temporally developing flows that involve the interaction of vortices and deformable walls (moving boundary conditions). These types of flows exist in cardio-vascular systems, e.g. flow through a mechanical heart valve inside the heart's left ventricle. The analysis of such complex systems require a powerfull and adaptive scientific visualization envrionemnt, such as an interactive immersive virtual environment. This research is the result of Mr. Ali Etebari's Masters Thesis: " Development of a Virtual Scientific Visualization Environment for the Analysis of Complex Flows", Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, November 15, 2002. Download various documents (powerpoint wall poster, BED publication, and publications in progress).

Click on images to enlarge with brief description

Five-Layer 3D
Single plane of flow
with highlighted glyph
Small-multiple format,
animation: avi / mov

Mountain Lake Workshop: Matisse -- Art that Soars
(Collaboration between Department of Art and Art History, NCSA Access Center, EVL and UVAG)

Department of Art and Art History -- website
College of Architecture and Urban Studies -- website
Ray Kass, Professor Emeritus College of Architecture and Urban Studies -- e-mail
Tom Coffin, NCSA Access Center
Jason Leigh and Shalini Venkataraman, Electronic Visualization Lab, UIC
Ron Kriz, ESM/UVAG, Virginia Tech -- e-mail

This CAVE project orginated as part of the Mountain Lake Workshop: Jackie Matisse -- " Art that Soars". Ray Kass, founder of the Mountain Lake Workshop, invited Jackie Matisse to be a featured artist and invited the UVAG to explore how the CAVE could enhance this particular Workshop project. Because of past collaborations with artists at Univiersity of Illinois, UVAG Director (Ron Kriz), introduced Ray to Tom Coffin at the NCSA Access Center and Tom expanded the collaboration to include Jason Leigh and his graduate student Shalini Venkataraman at the UIC Electronic Visualization Lab. This particular project extended beyond the original Mountain Lake Workshop where there are several different web sites and publications resulting from each of the participants: 1) Ray Kass, VT, 2) Tom Coffin, NCSA, 3) Jason Leigh, EVL. The highlight of this project was realized as an Application at iGrid 2002: "Kites Flying In and Out of Space"

Click on images to enlarge

Mountain Lake Workshop
Movie: mov

NCSA Web site
iGrid2002 Movie at SARA: mpg

EVL Web site

VBI -- Scientists Model Interaction of Viruses and Immune System:
(Collaboration between VBI, Computer Science and University Visualization and Animation Group)

Karen Duca and Reinhard Laubenbacher
Modelers and Programmers: Nicholas F. Polys, John McGee, Kichol Lee, Rohan Luktuke, Jignesh Shah
Virginia Bioinformatics Institue (VBI) -- website
Doug Bowman and Chris North
Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering -- website
Ron Kriz, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics,
and Director of University Visualization and Animation Group


Patrick Shinpaugh, UVAG Programmer and Systems Engineer
Developed the DIVERSE Adaptable Display System (DADS) used by the project.
Andrew Ray, UVAG Graduate Research Assistant, Computer Science
Developed the OpenGL interface to DIVERSE (DGL) used by this project,
which was funded by Virginia Tech Foundation CAVE Renovation Account.

PathSim is a computer model and simulation engine designed for Systems Biology investigators and Virologists to study the dynamics of an immune system under various infection conditions in silico. This project is not a CAVE project but the CAVE was used as an immersive option to display simulation results. This is possible because the X3D file format used by Nicholas Polys to create simulation model visual results, runs both on desktop computers and in the CAVE immersively using the DIVERSE OpenGL software interface (DGL) created by Andrew Ray. The Research Division created a web summary article where the DIVERSE software API was used for presentation in the CAVE. An immersive CAVE format can be insightful when studying complex properties that are associated with large structures, however most researchers require their applications primarily run on desktop computers. This project is an excellent example of how the DIVERSE API facilitates development of applications from the desktop to the CAVE, which provides researchers a choice to study and analyze simulation results both at their desktop computers and immersively in a CAVE. This "desktop to the CAVE" theme was originally proposed in the NSF-ARI proposal and continues to be the long term objective of software application and API development at the UVAG.

Click on images to enlarge

More information on this image and others
are located at the PathSim web pages
More information on this image and others
are located at the PathSim web pages

Tensor Visualization
Ronald D. Kriz, Assoicate Professor
Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, and
Director of the University Visualization and Animation Group
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Mecit Yaman, Ph.D Graduate Candidate
(Advisor: Professor M. Harting)
Department of Physics
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Tensors and their invariant equations have been used in the applied sciences to mathematically model complex multivariate relations in a concise and simple format. Often applied scientists envision these multivariate and complex relationships as "visual mental models" in a glyph format. These visual mental models are more or less clear psychical images that convey a cognitive understanding of the physical model being studied, e.g. gradients in space and time of tensoral properties convey our fundamental idea of a comoving derivative of that property where these gradients are often imagined in the "minds eye" as visual objects (glyphs) whose shapes and colors represent tensoral components that change with space and time. Because many of these ideas are common to each individuals' visual creative cognitive process, these images can be shared with others as images because of recent advances in computer graphics. Here we explore how recent advances in computer graphics can capture this visual cognitive process and communicate some of the more fundamental ideas in mechanics and the applied sciences. With regard to the fundamental idea of tensor equation invariance, it is demonstrated that the idea of quantitative mathematical invariance associated with tensor equations can be used to qualitatively envision the same invariance associated with physical laws in a glyph format. Consequently envisioning invariance enables scientists to see and understand the qualitative content of equations associated with physical laws, e.g. equilibrium in Cauchy's equation was envisioned and understood graphically as a glyph at a point or 3D gradient of glyphs surrounding that point. Some of these visual congitive processes are presented in a manuscript (work in progress), "Visualization of Zeroth, Second, Fourth, and Higher Order Tensors, and Invariance of Tensor Equations" See also, Eigenvalue-Eigenvector Glyphs .

Click on images to enlarge with more detailed information

Zeroth Order Tensors and
Tensor Equation Invariance
Three Visual Methods :

Second Order Tensors and
Tensor Equation Invariance
Sij Definitions and Refs.

Fourth Order Tensors and
Tensor Equation Invariance
NSF Visualization Contest
ICCES03 Pub & Pres
Extracting Relationships
Between Scalar Functions

Developement of Sij Glyph
Residual Stress Gradients
Developement of Cijkl Glyph
Example: Calcium Formate

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Last Revision: April 16, 2005