2009-03-19

My dreams arrived…now?

I went to Norrköping today to visit the Norrköping Visualization and Interaction Studio. Ow, how performance has increased since I myself worked in the area.

We were treated to a demo of the Uniview interactive planetarium software. Our guide put us in space somewhere above the Earth, and then zoomed in on the International Space Station, its real-time position computed, but then time sped up and we could see ISS move around the Earth and then various other classes of satellites were added until the Earth was wrapped in a dense cloud of orbiting dots with an almost equally dense torus of geostationary satellites further out. Then they were gone and the surface of the Earth was mapped with economic indicators for all countries, but soon we left Earth for Mars, having a look at its surface before we sped out of the solar system, the Oort cloud enveloping it, continuing out of the galaxy and on and on until we passed the boundary of the visible universe. To my surprise space was hour-glass-shaped, an artefact due to the disk of our galaxy hiding most of the universe from our telescopes—clearly there is so much more to find out for us!

In the next room, another surprise: a Mitsubishi television screen, 73" across and perhaps 0.4 m deep. The screen was back-projected from a DLP projector inside the housing and not only did it do $1920 × 1080$ pixels progressive display, but it could be switched into active stereo 3D mode, displaying a crystal-crisp image. (The skydiving video really made me consider taking up skydiving.)

How cool that all the things we dreamed of then finally have appeared!

After taking leave of the NVIS people I returned to the station by way of Hobbyhörnan, where Håkan was in such a garrulous mood that I had to all but gnaw my leg off an hour later in order to catch the bus home. (Yes, bus. Due to track repairs, rail communications between Stockholm and Norrköping are limited at the moment.)