Visual Displays Grow Up...and Out, and Around

Reality Deck. That’s what Arie Kaufman, distinguished professor and chair of computer science at Stony Brook University, is calling his room-sized, sensaround, super-high-resolution imaging display.

With a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Kaufman and his colleagues are working to construct a unique facility that will surround a user with very high-resolution images. Reality Deck will allow users to immerse themselves in images, such as a doctor who wants to see the inside of a patient’s colon or future movie-goers who want to try the latest in interactive super-high-resolution entertainment.

“Imagine putting together a class photograph of the citizens of the United States,” Kaufman says -- all 300 million of them. It’s in the realm of possibility with his gigapixel display format (1.25 billion pixels, to be precise). If you just took the population of New York State -- at about 20 million -- you’d have enough pixels per person to identify individuals.

At least two dozen applications are already being considered by other Stony Brook investigators as well as off-campus research teams. For now, Reality Deck is a construction project, as Kaufman and his team set to build the scaffold and work with display manufacturers to get the appropriate hardware.

The 11-foot tall structure will incorporate 308 30-inch LCD displays and wrap around a 30x40-foot room. Images will be generated or funneled by more than 150 graphics processing units embedded in 85 servers.

Kaufman says users won’t need a mouse or game controllers, but can interact with the panoramic display more naturally, using gestures and voice commands. To zoom in, for instance, someone need only walk closer to the point of interest.


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