The METaL (Multimodal Experience Testbed and Laboratory) lab is a human-scale immersive environment for development of natural interaction techniques in virtual reality. This facility supports rapid development iteration and is comparable to virtual reality systems found in industry. Integration of haptic force-feedback with visual display, audio effects, and physical simulation permits the creation of multimodal experiences.

METaL consists of

  • Two walls and the floor of a 12'x9'x9' (4m x 3m x 3m) space.
  • An ART TrackPack 4 system tracks the position and orientation of a user's head, wand, and other objects in the space.
  • Computational resources are provided by a head node, with graphics on all walls generated by a render node. Each of these two nodes is a rack-mounted server containing dual Intel Xeon X5677 quad-core processors, 24 GB of RAM, and a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium sound card.
    • The head node contains an NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 card to power a 24" LCD display.
    • The render node connects to two NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200-D2 visual computing systems, each of which contains two NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 cards and an NVIDIA G-Sync II card to provide framelocked rendering of active stereo graphics.
  • The three Digital Projection International TiTAN WUXGA-3D projectors display active stereo at 1600x1200x1200 pixels each, producing 5.28 megapixels across 297 sq. ft. (33 m^2) of display surfaces.
  • Surround audio generated by either node is transferred over a digital optical link to a Yamaha RX-V367 receiver and played over a 5.1 surround sound system.
  • One gigabit Ethernet switch is dedicated to system control, tracking data, and internal communication, while a second gigabit Ethernet switch provides both nodes with a high-speed connection to other ISU and VRAC resources and the Internet. The system supports running under both Linux and Windows.

Project Team

Judy Vance, PhD
Mechanical Engineering
Principal Investigator