Powerhouse Wedge
The VIZLAB's first public installation is a twowalled VE,
affectionately known as a "wedge", part of the permanent exhibition The Universal
Machine at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
The environment was a joint project between VIZLAB and researchers
from ANU's Plasma
Research Laboratory. With software and content created by
visualization programmers Drew Whitehouse, Stuart Ramsden and Ajay
Limaye, the Powerhouse Wedge
incorporates scientific visualizations of research from the ANU and
elsewhere.
The pSpacebased software creates
correct lefteye and righteye stereo images for each of the wedge's
two screens. In conjuction with IMAXlike 3D stereo glasses, objects
appear to float in front of the screens  a true immersive virtual
environment. Interactivity occurs via a joystick allowing viewers to
manipulate the 3D models in realtime.
Following a nonstereo title sequence explaining the fundamentals of
stereo vision,
 The
Heliac is a 3D model of
a real ANU experiment used to study the behaviour of ionized gases
at extreme temperatures. One day, it could be used as a source of
fusion power, the same reaction that powers stars (and our
Sun). 
 The Bucky Ball, or Buckminsterfullerene, is a very strong
molecular structure consisting of 60 carbon atoms arranged in a soccer
balllike structure. Until the recent discovery of Bucky Balls, the
only known forms of pure carbon were graphite and diamond. 
 Mathematical knots are formed by a single
closed loop which cannot intersect itself. The theory of knots is a
branch of topology and is important in theoretical physics.
Mathematicians can detect whether or not two knots which look
different are in fact the same. These knots were created by the
University of British Columbia's
Robert Scharein. 
 The Gyroid, one of several 'minimal'
surfaces filling a 3D space, creates two interpenetrating labyrinths
of tunnels. These minimal surfaces have repeating structures like
crystals. Mathematicians at ANU use these surfaces to help
analyse the geometric properties of 3D crystal lattices. 
