Multimodal Experience Testbed and Laboratory

metalThe METaL (Multimodal Experience Testbed and Laboratory) lab is a human-scale immersive environment for development of natural interaction techniques in virtual reality. Key to the lab is an integrated haptic force-feedback device from Haption. 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.
  • IMG_8421Computational 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 a NVIDIA G-Sync II card to provide framelocked rendering of active stereo graphics.
  • metal_claw-target-transparent_75The 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.

Video Overview of METaL