Spaces, Equipment, and Technology

Living Environments Lab CAVE


The LEL’s projects would not be possible without the lab’s advanced visualization technologies. The LEL includes four display environments located in two spaces.


The fully immersive CAVE C6 is a room with four 9’6” x 9’6 walls, a ceiling and a floor — all of which are projection screens, except for the floor, which is a clear plexi-glass surface. Behind each projection screen are two projectors, which form 3D rear projected images on each screen. The system also has a 5.1 surround sound audio system and ceiling microphones for two-way communication to the development lab. The C6 uses Intersense head and wand tracking for full user-viewpoint-dependent stereoscopic (3D) viewing. Ultrasonic tracking sensors embedded into the CAVE corners provide full tracking of the head and wand. An IP-based camera is mounted in the rear of the CAVE with the ability to record and stream video of the happenings in the space to other parts of the Discovery Building.

Dev Lab

The development lab, or dev lab for short, includes three display systems: a single “Powerwall” 3D interactive rear-projected display (9’6” x 9’6”), a 63” 3D HDTV, and a ceiling mounted front projection display.


DSCVR is an immersive 3D tiled VR display system consisting of 20 consumer-grade 3-D televisions arranged in a half cylinder driven by 10 Alienware PCs with nVidia GeForce graphics cards. User tracking is accomplished via a Microsoft Kinect 2 depth camera and interaction occurs via a tracked PS3 dual analog controller. Total resolution of the display system is 41 megapixels.

Other Visualization Equipment

The LEL possesses a Faro Focus S120 LiDAR scanner to enable rapid acquisition of real world environments. The lab also uses two Oculus Rift dk2 and two Oculus CV1, six Microsoft Kinect RGBD cameras, a Leap Motion, HTC Vive, and a 63” 3D HD television. A common middleware framework developed in-house allows for immersive visualization of a variety of data types across all three laboratories on different VR software.

Data Sets

Visible Human Project Complete 3D representations of the male and female human bodies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
Taliesin Estate Currently 3D Scans and Quad Copter Videos, to be turned into a 3D Point Cloud, of the estate of architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Underwater Ship-Wreck Video footage courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to study underwater point cloud reconstruction
Two Galaxies Colliding Time-varying cloud point data set of 2500 time-steps over 2-3 minutes from the University of Wisconsin- Madison Astronomy Department.
Sequential Textual Information Various data sets of textual information over time that can be visualized using the WordCAKE tool
DC Smith Greenhouse 3D Scan of DC Smith Greenhouse located on UW–Madison campus. Resulted from first Model This! contest winners.
Little Norway Stave Church 3D Scan of famous church from 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Once located in Mt. Horeb, WI, now being shipped back to Norway.


File Formats

Point Cloud  pcd, e57, PTX, PTZ, XYZ
Molecular File Protein Data Bank Format and various other molecule coordinate/structure files
Volumetric Image DICOM, TIFF stacks, RAW, interfile, vevo and others
Graphics / Game Engines Unity 3D, Ogre 3D, and OpenSceneGraph
ParaView supported formats VTK, H5part HDF5 Particle files, and more
Autodesk Formats FBX, Revit, 3D Studio Max, Maya, etc.
360 degree video-mp4