|The advances in computers and communications have increased our ability to generate, collect, and manipulate vast amounts of data relating to our everyday lives: bank transactions and airline reservations, automation of manufacturing and commercial enterprises, sophisticated simulations of physical phenomena, state-of-the-art medical treatment, and education and learning. Research in visualization, virtual reality, and human-machine interface technology will enhance human capability to use and manage data, create information, and facilitate a symbiotic relation among humans, computers, and information.|
Visualization techniques, developed with HPCC support, translate complex scientific data into concise images that help scientists and engineers uncover and understand underlying processes. Two recent examples are the application of computer-aided design and graphics to an ophthalmology project for modeling and visualization of the human eye cornea, and the custom design and fitting of contact lenses. Other efforts are pursuing "perfect realism" in computer generated images by including factors such as the effect of light on the human perception of a subject or a scene.
For remote access and use of large data sets, the Distributed Visualization Project has developed data compression algorithms that provide fast data browsing and interactive visualization capabilities. The 3-D Imaging of Complex Geologies project allows remote and rapid processing of terabyte data sets. Such capabilities have enormous potential as, for example, they allow a geologist to remotely access relevant data for seismic imaging of complex underground structures.
Virtual Reality (VR) is created by combining visualization, display and control technologies. Using computerized goggles and gloves, a user can create and be surrounded by an artificial environment that emulates real life, thus enabling selective probing and analysis of real processes. The research to enable such capabilities is led by several HPCC projects: the MDScope, shown right, is an application of VR.
Human-machine interface technology research on image understanding has led to the development of a prototype "omnifocus" electronic camera, with potential applications (medical) such as endoscopy with extremely high depth of field. In addition, manufacturing (rapid visual inspection of 3-D objects, boresight applications, workcell monitoring, and robot visual guidance), construction, environmental, space, and other field operations involving surveillance of extended sites have been improved by this technology. Other efforts include the creation of remote access capabilities such as a remotely controlled, automatically focused, network-based video microscope, and the Microtele-operation-at-Atomic-Scale Nanomanipulator. Research on new algorithms for parts handling is applied in industry for testing and visualizing ways to assemble and disassemble a structure or a machine. Theoretical investigations of robot motion planning are applicable for wheeled or snake robots operating in space and underwater environments, and have led to establishment of a space robotics spinoff for aircraft in free flight.
|MDScope allows scientists to explore the attributes of macromolecules in an immediate and visual way, and facilitates research into more complex systems that could not be readily understood using traditional methods.|