Fakespace Systems' family of WorkWall displays is designed to facilitate individual and collaborative group work with virtual models, prototypes, and simulations for applications in product design, engineering, military planning, geological exploration, medicine and scientific research. The Passive Stereo WorkWall uses two solid state digital projectors, which provide a slightly different image for each eye, in order to create a realistic 3D effect. Other models of the WorkWall, ranging in scale up to 20-ft. wide, use CRT projectors, which require more complex stereo shutter glasses, a light-controlled environment, and regular projector alignment maintenance.
"WorkWall systems make it possible to work with complex computer-generated models in large or 1:1 scale providing insights that simply cannot be gained by looking at flat images on a standard computer monitor", stated Steve Fine, vice president of engineering at Fakespace Systems Inc. "While passive stereo has been available for a while, our R&D team has spent many months perfecting the combination of appropriate materials. The result is a display system that generates exceptional colour quality with even illumination from corner to corner and absolutely no cross-talk between left and right eyes."
The Passive Stereo WorkWall provides native 1280 x 1024 pixel resolution and greater than 1000 ANSI lumens per eye, whereas a typical CRT projector provides 250 ANSI lumens. This ensures extremely crisp, bright images that are easily viewed in ambient room light or daylight environments. The screen is mounted 17-in. above floor level to accommodate both standing and seated users, and is slightly angled to minimise the reflections from overhead room lighting.
For design and engineering teams, which use immersive visualisation for in-depth review of digital mock-ups, the new Passive Stereo WorkWall is especially useful for extended work on a daily basis. Because images are projected for both eyes simultaneously, the system greatly reduces the fatigue that sometimes accompanies the use of active shutter glasses, which display images for each eye sequentially. To create the stereoscopic effect, a proprietary polarised filtering system, on both the projectors and the stereoscopic eyewear, separates the images for each eye. The lightweight glasses, which look just like regular sunglasses, come in regular wire-frame and clip-on models.
The Passive Stereo WorkWall structure is designed to easily fit into a design or conference room with minimal facility disruption. Unlike the majority of projection-based systems, the WorkWall does not require a dedicated projection room with separate access and climate control. The system is simply inset into a wall, with an architecturally designed screen surround which allows air circulation and optional speaker mounts. For projector servicing, the entire structure rolls away from the wall for easy access to the components.
The Passive Stereo WorkWall is compatible with CAVELib device drivers, that can be used to link it to popular 3D modelling and simulation applications. The CAVELib API supports dimensionally accurate stereo viewing, head tracking, and interactive functionality. The system is also compatible with most CAD/CAM, CAE, simulation, digital mock-up, and seismic analysis software. Pricing for the Passive Stereo WorkWall starts at $117.000 U.S. Optional peripherals include head tracking and motion tracking systems, room control systems, audio systems and a variety of devices for navigating through and manipulating virtual models and environments.
Fakespace Systems markets the visual computing industry's broadest range of immersive displays for designers, engineers and researchers working with three-dimensional models and complex graphical data. In addition to the WorkWall family of flat wall displays, these include the CAVE immersive room environment, the RAVE reconfigurable environment, the ImmersaDesk family of workbench-type virtual model displays, and the conCAVE in-office visualisation system. The company also provides a variety of interactive devices for manipulating computer-generated visualisations, and a number of best-of-class subsystems from third-party vendors.
More details on the conCAVE system are available in the VMW June 2000 article In-office conCAVE display system provides immersive viewing to interpret complex graphical data.