INTRODUCING VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS
What are Virtual Environments?
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
Become smaller than an atom or larger than the universe. Journey back in
time and space to the birth of galaxies, watch ripples of gravity as black
holes collide or travel through the human bloodstream. Build a city of
cathedrals, mosques, and pyramids or listen to the sounds of chaos. All of
these are possible within virtual environments.
Human Interface Technology Laboratory
Computer visualization is reshaping how scientists evaluate and explore their data and promises
to transform how students learn. Within the past four decades, dramatic advances in graphic display
and high-end computing have made it possible to transform billions of bits of data into interactive,
three-dimensional images that you can manipulate in real time. Here, all the display and feedback
devices that make this possible are collectively termed "Virtual Environments. "
Electronic Visualization Laboratory
Imagine if you could step into your computer screen. The images once suspended on your flat screen now pop into three dimensions.
You could explore them from above, below, or inside. You could stand before the sink in the kitchen you just designed or feel
the rumblings from a simulated volcano.
The experience of venturing inside a computer-generated "virtual"
world, of immersion in data, is what happens in "virtual reality" or "VR."
Through various display devices, data are transformed into 3D images you not only see but also hear or even touch.
New Ways to Perceive and Explore Data...
To find out more, check out the following documents. You'll discover how the techologies underlying virtual environments have evolved; their prospects and limitations; and how they are changing science, business, and education.
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NCSA and EVL. Last modified 11/27/95