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The DVE 3D CreateSpace: Science Fiction or Your New Immersive Collaboration System

January 23, 2012 | David S. Maldow, Esq.
dve_createspace.jpgDVE has just announced their new DVE 3D CreateSpace offering. We spoke with Dr. Steve McNelley, (Co-Founder of DVE), to get the inside scoop (check out Howard Lichtman's previous interview with Steve). This complete room solution features the DVE Immersive Podium (see the standing figure at the top left of the image above). The podium provides a volumetric augmented reality version of the presenter. In other words, participants in the meeting room will see an image of the remote speaker who appears to be 3D, and in turn, can view and interact with physical meeting participants. The YouTube video below demonstrates the DVE Immersive Podium in action at the 2010 Las Vegas Infocomm show.

Steve explained that DVE has a number of government and aerospace clients that are deeply involved in research, development, and engineering. These organizations rely heavily on collaborative teamwork and training. They needed a way to bring a person into a room as if they were right there, along with a large community screen to view quality video and computer images next to the augmented reality image of the presenter. DVE is creating customized training and collaboration room solutions to meet these requirements.  The room also can be configured to meet military training, as well as command and control specifications.

Although it appears that the DVE Immersive Podium is really the centerpiece of this offering, after speaking with Steve, I am of the opinion the DVE "Creation Stations" are equally important. As shown in the image above, each physical seat in the room comes equipped with a dual monitor work station. These systems are loaded with 3D content creation software and set up for easy sharing with other Creation Stations (in the same room, or at other 3D CreateSpace locations). This makes the solution extremely valuable for collaboration teams in aerospace, animation, medical, government, education, and any of the engineering disciplines. Each individual can be involved with, and collaborate simultaneously on, any other individual's work.

It should be noted that this goes well beyond the standard 5 fps screenshare you have come to expect from standard videoconferencing and telepresence solutions. DVE offers full-on animated 3D modeling with the ability to view sequences at 60 fps. When digging into engineering issues like the airflow over a wing, or the inner workings of an engine, the advantage of 3D modeling collaboration over standard collaboration are obvious. Please see the video below of the DVE Immersion Room for some examples of 3D models displayed via DVE technology.

Augmented Reality - The DVE Definition
DVE has been at the forefront of augmented reality (AR) collaboration for decades so we took this opportunity to ask Steve for his definition of the term. Steve stated that in his opinion there are two types of augmented reality, which I will describe below.

Natural Augmented reality layers projected video images of participants into a real space as in this scene from one of the Star Wars films.

1. Natural Augmented Reality - This type of AR uses technology to layer a video image in the physical space of an actual room. This gives the appearance of placing the actual object (or person) within the room, as opposed to placing a two dimensional image of a person on a monitor. The DVE Immersion Podium is an example of this type of augmented reality. The remote participant appears to be physically standing in the room, at the podium.  Another example of this type of technology is the holographic images of the Jedi's participating in the Jedi Council meetings the Star Wars movies (see above).

Superimposed Augmented reality adds animated objects or digital data  to a screen to provide additional information or a compelling visual effect.

2. Superimposed Augmented Reality
- This type of AR uses a video camera to record accurate images of the room, and then adds animated objects or digital data to the screen, logically superimposed upon the real images. For example, in the image above a customer holds a Lego set in front of an AR device. The camera captures the image and a computer superimposes the animated object. So the customer looking in the screen will see herself holding the box, with an animated version of the completed toy hovering above it. Check out this video of the Lego AR in action. Starbucks has even used this technology for a holiday promotion, displaying AR images on customers' iPhones superimposed over their coffee cups.

About the Author
David Maldow is a visual collaboration technologist with the Human Productivity Lab and an associate editor at Telepresence Options. David has extensive expertise in testing, evaluating, and explaining telepresence and other visual collaboration technologies. David is focused on providing third-party independent testing of telepresence and visual collaboration endpoints and infrastructure and helping industry participants explain complicated subjects through white papers and other end-user facing publications.

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