Diving into the HiDiVE

Duke University will soon be home to virtual reality environment that few others in the world can match. The system includes projection screens on all four walls, the ceiling and the floor, each featuring 1920 x 1920 pixel resolution. The six-sided cave automatic virtual environment (CAVE), called the High-fidelity Duke immersive Virtual Environment—or HiDiVE for short—will cater to scientific research projects and public tours beginning Sunday, March 8, 2015, during the Fitzpatrick Institute of Photonics’s open house.

The HiDIVE replaces the eight-year-old system Duke previously had in place called the DIVE. Beginning last September, the DIVE shut down for renovations to upgrade its resolution and tracking system. Whereas the old system had one projector devoted to each wall with a resolution of 1050 x 1050, the new HiDIVE has two projectors for each wall that overlap a small amount, raising the resolution to 1920 x 1920.

In addition to the added resolution, the system’s refresh rate now runs at a native 120Hz—a noticeable improvement from the previous system.

According to Regis Kopper, director of the HiDIVE, there are very few comparable systems in the world. Most others either don’t have a full 360-degree immersion setup, have a lower resolution, or have walls comprising multiple panels that create distracting seams in the image.

“Now that Duke’s virtual reality system has four times as many pixels as before, it will open up a wide range of research opportunities that weren’t possible before,” says Kopper. “Text will be much easier to read, data points will be much easier to distinguish and abstract visualizations will have much more detail.”