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Virtual reality


Inauguration of the “Gouraud-Phong” immersive space, a pooled platform dedicated to virtual reality

Michel Cosnard, Chairman and Executive Officer of Inria, and Gérard Giraudon, Director of the Inria Sophia Antipolis-Méditerranée research centre inaugurate the “Gouraud-Phong” immersive space, alongside Francis Lamy, Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes département and Michel Vauzelle, Chairman of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Also present are: Eric Ciotti, Deputy-Chairman of the Alpes-Maritimes General Council, Jean Leonetti, Chairman of the CASA, Deputy-Mayor of Antibes Juan-les-Pins, and Jean-Pierre Dermit, Mayor of Biot, Vice-Chairman of the CASA and Henri Gouraud.

An immersive room with variable dimensions

For a long time virtual reality has represented one of the major areas of research at the Inria Sophia Antipolis–Méditerranée centre.  In order to build on its capacities within this field with equipment that is at the cutting edge of international research, the Centre had been equipped itself with an original, highly effective immersive room. The “Gouraud-Phong” room brings together two distinct pieces of equipment: an immersive cube (iSpace) and an image wall (CadWall), which offer a high-quality visual rendering in relief (stereo), a spatialised sound reproduction and the position monitoring of different targets or optical markers. It is also possible to be directly connected to a PC room, thus benefiting from a significant computing power in order to couple high-performance computing with visualisation and interaction, and obtain a higher-performing generation of sounds or images.

Adapting to users’ needs

This pooled research platform will enable researchers from the Institute and their european, regional, academic or industrial partners to test their software or view their data in 3D.

From now on, the virtual-reality and 3D-interaction community has access to cutting-edge equipment in order to improve the technologies in which it holds an interest: for example intuitive interaction modes or rendering algorithms for applications such as video games, multimedia production or those relating to architecture and urbanism. Researchers within other fields will be able to benefit from novel means of exploring their data in 3D and exploring new ways of interacting with them. This is done in order to simulate complex phenomena, for example, – as in fluid mechanics or medical imagery -, but also, more unexpectedly, to study phobias in situ within the framework of collaborations with psychologists. The immersive wall offers researchers an initial approach to these techniques in order to progressively develop their viewing software towards total immersion. From a simple projected image to its reproduction in relief, and then to the addition of a position-tracking system or the use of higher-performing tools, every aspect is thus designed to facilitate the transition towards the cube.

About Inria

 Public science and technology institution, under the supervision of the Ministries of Research and Industry. Annual budget (2009): 217 M€ , 21% of which represent own resources. Regional research centres: Paris - Rocquencourt, Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée, Grenoble – Rhône-Alpes, Nancy – Grand Est, Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique, Bordeaux – Sud Ouest, Lille – Nord Europe, Saclay – Île-de-France.3,150 researchers, including more than 1,000 PhD students, working within more than 170 project-teams, the majority of which are shared with other bodies, Grandes Ecoles and universities. 80 associated teams worldwide. Around a hundred companies created since 1984.
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