Oct. 1, 2012 09:36 PM
Inside the massive glass structure is LITE's premiere venue, its Total Immersion Space. Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise's mission is completely focused on immersive technologies and ways that we can implement those technologies to help Louisiana's businesses, schools, research facilities and our community at large, and also by being an educator on the advances of technology today.

Immersive technology, or virtual reality, has become a lot more common over the last decade, especially with the growth of 3D technologies for the entertainment industry. Movies, video games, and even our home televisions now have the capabilities to provide content in 3D, but the functionality of immersive technologies can go even further than where they are today.

So a great starting point is to truly understand what immersive technologies are, and how they can be useful to you. For starters the dictionary definition of immersive is the "generation of a three-dimensional image that appears to surround the user." This means that an environment is created to simulate either a physical or fictional world. These images can be created by either data that already exists, such as Computer Aided Design drawings of buildings or ships, or simply by the imagination of someone that sees the need to create the virtual environment. Add in the use of 3D glasses and motion tracking sensors, and you now have the ability to immerse' yourself into that virtual world - just like you are really there.

When looking at current ways that immersive technologies are being heavily utilized, the Depart of Defense has been using virtual reality for training for many years now. Starting in 2008 the U.S. Marine Corps started to work on the development of the Future Immersive Training Environment, called FITE. Gen. James N. Mattis, who led the U.S. Joint Forces during that time, said that if they could implement the FITE they could "elevate the quality of training available to these ground forces so they could make better, faster, more ethical decisions in the complex and chaotic environment they fight in."

In addition to the work that DoD has already been doing in immersive technology and training, the technology is also being used for the simulation and viewing of large and complex data sets, advanced medical research and to optimize the design process; and as I mentioned earlier, LITE is working to get those technologies into the hands of Louisiana's businesses, students and community members.

Though there are many reasons why LITE's involvement in immersive technologies makes sense, one of the main reasons is because of the technology that is available in the facility. LITE has four advanced and high-powered visualization venues that all have the capabilities of incorporating immersive and 3D technology to any project or presentation. Our first venue is the Theatre, which seats up to 165-people and can provide a cinematic-quality experience for all visitors. The next venue is the FLEX Collaboration Room that gives an experience similar to the Theatre, but on a smaller scale and with a curved screen that gives an additional element of immersion. LITE also houses an Executive Conference Room that seats about 25 people and provides an environment to use the technologies with a smaller group. It also houses a videoconferencing system that will allow you to communicate and share data with anyone, anywhere in the world.

Our final venue is the one that has peaked in interest of many of our community members for quite some time. It is not uncommon for a member of the LITE staff to receive a call asking, "What exactly is in the big glass egg on Cajundome Boulevard?" Inside the large glass structure is LITE's premiere venue, our Total Immersion Space or TIS. The TIS is comprised of a six-sided virtual reality CAVE that has six projectors, six screens and six computers that all work simultaneously to give the user a complete immersive view of their data.

The LITE venues have been designed in a way that gives many different options to customers. Whether you are looking for a venue to give a simple presentation or looking to do a larger scale event with immersive technologies, we have the venue and staff to help. Though the venues are not the only way that we embrace our mission of immersive technologies, we are very fortunate to have a premiere facility with state-of-the-art technology.

So what is next for LITE, and how will we utilize our technology and expertise to follow through on our mission? Our focus is to bring these advanced technologies to you so that you can do your business better, learn more effectively, and understand why these technologies are important. LITE has been working on a number of projects that are doing just that.

Our most recent endeavor has been using the same technologies that are used in video games, along with the training environment and creating Immersive Virtual Learning Environments. We have used this IVLE in both the transportation and oil and gas training industries, and the feedback has been exciting. With this technology we are creating training environments that allow our users to completely "immerse" themselves into their environment so that they are learning more effectively and staying safer when they actually enter into the real environment.

Additional work has been completed with the Picard Center, the USGS National Wetlands Research Center and UL Lafayette, and all of these projects have had the focus of using immersive technologies to help people work, train and learn more effectively. As we continue to move forward we are excited with the next round of projects that will come.

To take a virtual tour of the LITE facility visit, www.lite3d.com and click on the Virtual Tour link, or contact a member of the team to view LITE's projects.

Dr. Kam Ng (pronounced ing) is CEO of LITE. He most recently was deputy director of research for the Office of Naval Research and holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Marymount University. For more information on LITE, visit www lite3d.com; send questions regarding LITE and its technology and venue spaces to learnmore@lite3d.com.

Also in Technology

Read the Flipping Paper!