2022.01.03 Our new CAVE-type display, an ActiveCube by Virtalis, is now fully installed and working in the Appenzeller Visualization Laboratory


Software Configuration and Description

Some computers available in the research and teaching laboratories use dual-boot setups that enable them to boot into Windows 7/10 and Linux Kubuntu 18.04, whereas some may only have Linux installed.

The Windows 7/10 installation provides access to Visual Studio, OpenGL, Open Scene Graph, the Visualization Toolkit (VTK).

The Linux installation ties into a large-scale server-client infrastructure with over 10 TB of storage space. It utilizes common compilers and environments, including GNU compilers for C, C++, Fortran, Python, and Java. A plethora of libraries for developing software is available, such as OpenGL, boost, the Visualization Toolkit (VTK), the Insight Toolkit (ITK). Additional graphics related packages are available as well, such as the Delta 3D gaming engine or the Vrui VR toolkit. The documentation for Vrui can be found here with a local mirror being available here.

Most current desktop environments attempt to reconfigure the current screen arrangment using the Xrandr extension. Depending on the setup, this automatic reconfiguration is often not what is desired. All the Linux systems maintained by the AViDA group are already properly configured. This automatic reconfiguration mechanism can be disabled in some deskop environments, such as KDE. In order to do so, you can disable kscreen by adding the two lines [Module-kscreen] and autoload=false right after each other in that order to the kdedrc configuration file. This file may be located in the directory ~/.kde4/share/config. This will then disable kscreen completetly and as such disable any reconfiguration of the screens.

There are different ways to utilize the hardware and software frameworks available in the lab. The following items provide more details about these frameworks:

  • Vrui: The Vrui framwork provides ways to access 3D-capable display systems with different input devices
  • Magic Leap: The Magic Leap 1 is an augmented reality devices that comes with its own SDK that can be used with games engines Unity and Unreal
  • WebXR: Modern browsers diretly support rendering using OpenGL ES which includes the ability to render virtual and augmented reality content and other visualizations
  • Unity: Gaming platforms can be very useful for developing virtual and augmented reality software
  • AR core: Google's Android provides a direct mechanism for developing augmented reality-enabled native software