November 18, 2013

Circle 3D

When I first saw it in L.A., my thoughts quickly raced towards the educational implications of “Circle 3D”. I entered the spherical dome in front of me, and I was suddenly picked up and literally whisked out of this world to a fascinating micro-universe. Ushered into the subatomic world inside the aging bones of a senior adult suffering with osteoporosis, a disease of the bone, I felt like I was becoming a part of the movie “Fantastic Voyage”—on a personally immersive level.            
The immersive stereoscopic 3D experience that so enveloped me was not just in front of me, on a typical flat screen. No, it was all around me. Above me. On my left side. On my right. Behind me. Somehow, it voluminously filled even my peripheral vision. I was there. No, it was here—some of the subatomic particles were now floating just above my lap. Now that was up-close learning!
Next, I found myself flying through the air on a helicopter, landing on an oil platform in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. The simulation was breathtaking. The technology was providing a panoramic image, seamlessly stitched.

This surreal experience was created inside a unique dome structure, a spherical portable planetarium theater. Developed by a group of partners led by the MICOY Corporation, this technology can be described as “omni-directional 3D immersive imagery.” It can also be called spherical 3D or 360° 3D. Don Pierce, the CEO and President of MICOY, explains: “Volumetric Stereo 3d allows us to paint on a new canvas, to play on a whole new playground; it enhances visualization to the next generation.”  Pierce, who got his start when computer animation first began to be integrated into visual effects remarked: “It’s so exciting to be on the edge; to see the direction in which visualization is going.”

Volumetric stereo places the user inside the game or experience; and it is totally interactive. Pierce comfortably jests: “We should have a head start on the closest thing to the holodeck, minus tactile feeling, of course.” Pierce also believes that MICOY technology offers another unique advantage: imagine creating a stereo environment with no headaches, no convergence point, no planes, just a natural volumetric environment. “Stereo is not just in front of you from the screen, but coming from all around you,” he explains.

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