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Proceedings Paper

Exploring Virtual Worlds With Head-Mounted Displays
Author(s): J. C. Chung; M. R. Harris; F. P. Brooks; H. Fuchs; M. T. Kelley; J. Hughes; M. Ouh-young; C. Cheung; R. L. Holloway; M. Pique
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Paper Abstract

For nearly a decade the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been conducting research in the use of simple head-mounted displays in "real-world" applications. Such units provide the user with non-holographic true three-dimensional information, since the kinetic depth effect, stereoscopy, and other visual cues combine to immerse the user in a "virtual world" which behaves like the real world in some respects. UNC's head-mounted display was built inexpensively from commercially available off-the-shelf components. Tracking of the the user's head position and orientation is performed by a Polhemus Navigation Sciences' 3SPACE* tracker. The host computer uses the tracking information to generate updated images corresponding to the user's new left eye and right eye views. The images are broadcast to two liquid crystal television screens (220x320 pixels) mounted on a horizontal shelf at the user's forehead. The user views these color screens through half-silvered mirrors, enabling the computer-generated image to be superimposed upon the user's real physical environment. The head-mounted display has been incorporated into existing molecular modeling and architectural applications being developed at UNC. In molecular structure studies, chemists are presented with a room-sized molecule with which they can interact in a manner more intuitive than that provided by conventional two-dimensional displays and dial boxes. Walking around and through the large molecule may provide quicker understanding of its structure, and such problems as drug-enzyme docking may be approached with greater insight. In architecture, the head-mounted display enables clients to better appreciate three-dimensional designs, which may be misinterpreted in their conventional two-dimensional form by untrained eyes. The addition of a treadmill to the system provides additional kinesthetic input into the understanding of building size and scale.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 September 1989
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1083, Three-Dimensional Visualization and Display Technologies, (11 September 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.952870
Show Author Affiliations
J. C. Chung, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
M. R. Harris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
F. P. Brooks, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
H. Fuchs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
M. T. Kelley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
J. Hughes, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
M. Ouh-young, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
C. Cheung, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
R. L. Holloway, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)
M. Pique, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1083:
Three-Dimensional Visualization and Display Technologies
Scott S. Fisher; Woodrow E. Robbins, Editor(s)

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