Wilder: A video wall that offers a new perspective for research
The Inria Saclay - Île-de-France research centre presents Wilder, a video wall composed of 75 screens. The Wilder video wall is part of the Digiscope Equipement d’Excellence programme and is the successor to the Wild project. As well as being bigger than its predecessor, Wilder incorporates screens with virtually invisible edges. The array is designed to allow scientists to view very large images and explore complex data with astonishing comfort.
75 screens combined in a 6m by 2m wall
The purpose of the WILDER project is to allow scientists to view very large images and explore complex data with unprecedented ease. The new video wall, made up of 75 screens covering a total area of six meters by two, is the successor to the WILD project. As well as being bigger than its predecessor, WILDER implements screens with virtually invisible edges. Now there is nothing to interfere with the impression of "floating" inside the video environment. Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, the Director of Digiscope, WILDER's parent project, describes the experience as enthralling: "Looking at a video wall, your visual uptake is much quicker. Your eyes skip from one point to another in 1/40th of second. You can move your neck and body more quickly than any computer mouse. In particular, viewers fashion a mental map of even very complex images. Your overall vision is heightened and your spatial memory is enhanced."
Simplified data interchange to serve science
WILDER not only enables tactile multipoint interchange, but also provides for remote interactions. Designed inter alia to assist scientific discovery, the video wall is also invaluable in collaborative work. Today's big challenges need to be addressed by teams. "Traditional video walls do not allow this", explains Michel Beaudouin-Lafon. "Take the example of a crisis unit set up following an air crash. You bring together a dozen experts: a meteorologist, a pilot, an air traffic controller etc. The map displayed on WILDER gives them an overview of the situation. They can organise and plan around this common reference. But there is more. Each expert is equipped with a tablet that displays targeted and specialised data: weather maps, air corridors etc. When such information needs to be shared, just pointing the screen with the tablet transfers the necessary data to a specified area." WILDER is capable of synchronising the different tablets with its giant screen, which means that the scientists get to share data on the same level.
To take the concept even further, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon is now looking at connecting with remote video walls. "We have linked our WILD prototype to the LIMSI immersive room, located about a kilometre from our lab. When their room displays a complex molecule, our wall displays the same molecule, ultimately with other data superimposed. When they move the molecule, it moves in an identical fashion on our wall. These initial tests have proved very promising." WILDER is an innovation that industry is watching very closely.
WILDER benefits from state aid provided through the Agence Nationale de la Recherche as part of the Investissements d’Avenir programme in the Île-de-France region.