The Centre for Vision Research at Canada’s York University installed the Christie Edgeless Graphics Geometry (EGG) 3D stereoscopic visualization system in the multi-sensory integration laboratory at York, the first of its kind to be used in a research facility.
Professor Laurence Harris, director of the Centre for Vision Research, and his team were looking for a system to enable them to conduct research into the vestibular system, which regulates balance and motion. “If you’re in an unusual environment, like space or underwater, where some of your senses are compromised or give distorted information, we want to know how those senses that remain are able to continue to work. How the senses combine together will help us when driving, flying aircraft or operating in the more extreme environments of space or deep-water diving,” explains Professor Harris.
Harris and his team already have many highly sophisticated pieces of equipment for conducting research into vision; however, each has its limitations. An immersive visual environment with edges where the screens meet creates unwanted visual stimuli as well as difficulty tracking a participant’s head movements. Head-mounted displays provide only relatively low resolution and have a limited field of vision.
“We were looking for a device that would project a very large field of view, with high resolution and good stereo over the whole field and which could be presented to a participant while they are either sitting or standing. The flexibility of a full-field visual stimulus is what we were looking for,” says Harris.
First viewed at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), York University acquired the EGG system through a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant. Eight Christie Mirage WU-L WUXGA projectors with Autocal and embedded Christie Twist power the EGG. The system is on a raised platform, allowing the team to configure the system to perform research on sitting or standing participants and encompasses the full 110-degree field of view in which humans are able to see.
The Centre for Vision Research has extensive research plans for the EGG system, including experiments into the role of peripheral vision on motion and balance. He explains, “You experience self-motion sitting down, when driving a car or piloting and aircraft, but most of the time we walk. That’s particularly important because one of the projects we want to look at is the maintenance of balance and stability in the elderly, to understand the cues they use to stay upright.” Harris explains. “The EGG has enabled us to do experiments that we couldn’t do before”.