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CAVE2 Automatic Virtual Environment

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Project Description

Location: Clayton, VIC
Client: Monash University

CAVE2 is a 2nd generation, state-of-the-art Automatic Virtual Environment that brings together e-Research related, world class immersive visualisation technologies under the one roof in the New Horizons building at Monash University.

“This is a next-generation, large scale virtual-reality environment,” says Sean Wooster, an Associate Director and Principal ICT Consultant at Umow Lai. The consultancy provided the infrastructure for the building as well as engineering services for this highly energy efficient building

“It is the largest in the world and the first of its kind in Australia and a really exciting and challenging project to have been associated with,” Sean notes.

At the outset of the project, Sean participated in a study tour that included Monash Professor Paul Bonnington, Director, e-Research and Monash’s John Sheridan, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Engineering and other team members including architect Lyons. The group visited leading visualisation facilities in the USA that informed the initial design of the CAVE space.

“CAVE2 incorporates visualization displays and virtual reality systems that create seamless 2D and 3D environments and a 320 degree wrap-around wall. Such technologies will provide new opportunities to enable researchers to step outside the day-to-day environment and engage with their research from different perspectives.

“One of the greatest challenges we faced in our work was ensuring that both CAVE2 and the New Horizons building will provide a flexible, innovative and energy efficient facility for researchers well into the future,” Sean comments.

A myriad of hi tech features are incorporated into the CAVE2 area. These include LED panels with customized edge matching that can act as one large screen for presentations to a single group or can display multiple screens for different user groups to immerse themselves in their respective research. CAVE2 can be either a virtual telescope or microscope that enables users to simultaneously see and analyse one or more complex, e-science datasets residing in cyberspace.

The 10 metre-high CAVE2 facility is located within the Clayton Innovation Precinct, one of the most significant technological innovation hubs in the southern hemisphere.

It is located on Level 3 of the $140 million Monash University New Horizons building that Umow Lai was also involved with. Both facilities were funded by the Australian Government through the Education Investment Fund.