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    Sensory Overloader: 3-D Tower Lets Researchers Climb Inside Their Data
    Wired Magazine | May 24, 2010:

    The AlloSphere

    Media Arts & Technology
    California NanoSystems Institute
    University California Santa Barbara

    Data is nothing without visualization, and sometimes a bar chart won’t do. No, sometimes you need a three-story-tall aluminum sphere with a catwalk running through the center and six hi-def 3-D video projectors that spray 360-degree images onto a spherical screen. That would be the AlloSphere, a house-sized ball of data viz at UC Santa Barbara that allows researchers to literally get inside their information.

    Choice AlloSphere projects so far have included examinations of how hydrogen atoms bond together and a giant model of the brain derived from fMRI scans. Up to 30 people can fit on the catwalk, and they get silly-looking glasses and wireless joysticks to mess around with the streaming imagery. Dozens of speakers play sound into the echo-free chamber. The result is psychedelia with research applications.

    Project director JoAnn Kuchera-Morin is as happy with the aesthetic results as she is with the science. Trained as a composer, she moved into digital geekery in the 1980s while working with computer-generated music. “We create some of the most exquisite artistic installations that are also some of the most precise scientific simulations in the world,” she says. No word on whether they’ll sync to Pink Floyd

    Wed, May 26, 2010  Permanent link

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