- Number 327 |
- December 20, 2010
Researchers gain new perspective in the CAVE
Engineers can use the CAVE at
INL’s Center for Advanced
Energy Studies to tour a virtual
nuclear reactor, train staff,
orient subcontractors and
consider new designs.
In the middle of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at CAES stand three white walls, each 10 feet wide, and a slightly raised white floor. Projectors mounted behind the walls and on the ceiling create 3-D images that the user views with the help of specialized goggles. The system is designed to track the movement of a user's head and a handheld controller so the images can react accordingly. Researchers can crouch on top of the heat exchangers of INL’s Advanced Test Reactor or twist an enzyme to view its molecular structure from a different angle.
Since it came online in June, scientists and engineers have already used the CAVE for a variety of projects. Carbon sequestration researchers have used the CAVE to examine LiDAR scans of Idaho's Malad Gorge and determine whether it could be suitable for long-term storage of carbon dioxide. Engineering teams have toured a virtual model of the ATR in the CAVE to train staff, orient subcontractors and consider new designs. The image is so detailed they are able to see if a valve placement will scrape their knuckles, or if pipes will have to be re-routed, saving costly time, materials and labor."These are very powerful tools," said Keith Wilson, who helps operate the Advanced Visualization Laboratory. "And they're pretty cool, too."
[Kortny Rolston, 208.526.0962,