Laval Virtual 2011 has drawn to a close this year and by all accounts, it was an amazing event.  The conference is held in Laval, France and draws together the science and industry of Virtual Reality in a complex mash-up of new untested technologies, ideas, and established products. The energy at the conference in times past is a testament to the future of Virtual Reality and the impact it will have as it becomes part of our everyday lives (no VR is not dead!).

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the show this year, but I’ve spoken to a number of people that did attend. As expected 3D technologies were prevalent, and several reasonably priced 3D projectors were on display.  Antycip Simulation, one of the major software and system integrators in the VR space, were demonstrating a Mirage 3D projector running an excellent application called “My Ocean” that was built on Open Scene Graph and dynamically renders photorealistic, 3D ocean scenes.  Fantastic. 

I spoke with John Mould, a lead project manager at Antycip, and he told me the most interest in their booth was generated by a very portable, immersive display they are selling. He said, “The display is highly immersive, portable, and can be deployed within minutes just about anywhere.  People loved it.”  I know John and he is part of some of the coolest technology installations in the world, so it’s hard to impress him.  “The combination of low-cost projectors, great software, and auto-display alignment is transformative, people sense that.” 

The system uses Mersive’s auto alignment software to bring two HD resolution projectors together into a seamless image on a curved large screen.  This is the stuff that gets me excited as well. I’m imagining how a high-school science class is transformed when the students can experience the fluid dynamics of the ocean on a theatre-like display in 3D.  Very cool. 

John also told me that the energy (and attendance) at the show this year was probably the best it has been.  When you combine some of the changes on the display horizon with what is happening with new interaction, tracking, and rendering technologies, I wonder if some of the pioneers of Virtual Realty would be shocked by the community’s progress, or simply proud.  I’m hoping that my absence from Laval Virtual this year was the only time I’ll miss the action there.

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About Christopher Jaynes

Jaynes received his doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he worked on camera calibration and aerial image interpretation technologies now in use by the federal government. Jaynes received his BS degree with honors from the School of Computer Science at the University of Utah. In 2004, he founded Mersive and today serves as the company's Chief Technology Officer. Prior to Mersive, Jaynes founded the Metaverse Lab at the University of Kentucky, recognized as one of the leading laboratories for computer vision and interactive media and dedicated to research related to video surveillance, human-computer interaction, and display technologies.

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