During the past summer, Computer Science Department Head Jeff Braun and Chemistry Department Head David Hobbs expanded both the 3D Visualization System and the high performance computing (HPC) cluster. Dr. David Hobbs (photographed by Walt Hinick, Montana Standard) explains how the immersive 3D visualization system is used to research molecular dynamics for a Montana Standard article.
We added optical tracking to the 3D visualization system so that the viewer can better interact with the data. The x, y, z position of the user's head is tracked with 6 reflective markers on the 3D glasses. These markers reflect the infrared light back to the tracking system cameras so both the head's position (3 coordinates) and orientation (3 independent angular coordinates) are calculated so that the 3D display is optimized as the viewer moves in and around the data. The SmartTrack system purchased from Adanced Realtime Tracking includes a wand or controller device (not pictured) that allows the user to directly manipulate the data visualization imagery.