It was a busy three days in May 17 to 19, 2012! The first project advisory board took place during some incredibly clear and mild Spring weather, bringing PIs, staff, and advisors to Davis, California and then Incline Village, Nevada. Advisory board members included Valence Davillier, VP and Director of Exhibits from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Science Center; Joe Atkinson, Director of Great Lakes Program at the University of Buffalo; Tom Moher, a computer/learning scientist from the University of Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory; Kate Haley-Goldman, evaluation expert at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado; John Baek, an education researcher from NOAA, and Donna Cox (who joined remotely via a networked iPad), Professor, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Director of the Illinois eDREAM Institute, and Director of Advanced Scientific Visualization Laboratory..
On April 5th, the Lake Viz tabletop activity group solicited feedback and friendly criticisms from the rest of the Lake Viz team and other education/museum professionals. As we progress in our grant, updates and feedback allow us to focus on the confluence of content and potential museum activities. We invited representatives from the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Davis KeckCAVES, UC Davis TERC, Exploratorium, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and the California Academy of Sciences. The team presented our current work in progress on four clusters: water, landforms and scientist tools, ecology care, and stewardship. With these clusters, we presented prototype activities for seiche waves/thermoclines, LIDAR, topography, ecology, and lake pollutants using a variety of media/interactive types such as tablet interactives, working models, augmented reality, games, an interactive sand box, and of course, 3D visualizations.
The 2012 Informal Science Education (ISE) Program Principal Investigators Meeting will be held in Washington DC from March 14-16. The conference brings together professionals actively working on improving informal STEM learning from a wide range of organizations and from different parts of the field. It provides researchers the opportunities to network and interact with each other, and with NSF program officers from ISE and other directorates. Our project is represented by Geoff Schladow, Sherry Hsi, and Steve Yalowitz. While there are no formal oral presentations at this conference, there will be a poster session. We are presenting a traditional poster that summarizes the overall project approach, and have a 3-D TV to show some of the latest 3-D fly-throughs that the group has developed. Special thanks to Peter Gold and Oliver Kreylos from UC Davis for truly pushing the boundaries to produce these.
A member of our team, Steve McQuinn, is a 3D artist, and he has produced some stunning 3D movies for the Tahoe Environmental Research Center. Below is his primer for 3D visualizations best practice. It’s still a work in progress, but I hope it slakes everyone’s thirst for insight about 3D visualizations in an informal science setting.
Brief primer on stereo 3D Best Practices
Avoid vertical disparity.
Professional quality non-immersive stereo 3D assiduously avoids vertical disparitybetween a pair of images. For computer generated stereo 3D, including non-immersiveversions of immersive technology, vertical disparity is a result of using a toe-inconfiguration for the virtual camera rig.
When the axes of two camera positions converge upon a point in a scene, other pointsthat are common to other objects in the scene are relatively shifted vertically in the rightand left views. This vertical disparity is impossible for a viewer to resolve, causingeyestrain and headaches.
The best practice for achieving the convergence of points (zero parallax) that defines the screen plane is to render from cameras with lens axes in parallel alignment, shifting the
consequent right and left images horizontally towards each other to set the desiredframe. Thus, vertical disparity is avoided. Please note that this applies only to Stereo 3D, not to immersive head tracking 3D.