An OS X GeoWall

Filed under: , by: Aaron Price on Thursday, January 1, 2009 @ 11:29 PM

This is a description of the 3D toys I setup in my office at Tufts. I use this for development of stereoscopic visuals. The entire setup cost almost exactly $5,000. It was funded by a small faculty support grant that my advisor and I applied for at Tufts.

The system:
MacPro 2 x 2.66GHz w/2GB RAM and 2 NVidia GForce 7300GT
OS X Leopard
MacAlly iShock FFB Controller
2 x inFocus IN26 projectors
30 plastic glasses, a silver screen and two 5" polarizing filters from Berezin Stereo (I found them pleasant to work with)

For a stacker, I bought a $20 adjustable wire frame cabinet from Target. And I needed an additional DVI->VGA converter from Office Max for $25. I also have setup a small table top fan (which I had extra) to blow on the front of the projectors. I attach the filters to the front of the cabinet with clothes pins that used to hold up a paper airplane in the office.

For software, I'm using Art of Illusion for my 3D modeling needs, Quantaga for my VRML needs, GIMP for illustration/drawing, and "viewer" to display the stereo pairs. All is freeware.

The nice part of the setup is that it is largely open source and is semi-portable. I mean semi in that you do need to be in some type of decent shape, but otherwise it's easy to move around. This spring I plan to bring it into a middle school classroom for a few days. That will be the big test. Can it withstand the jostling of tweens?

This setup was based on the excellent GeoWall concept, introduced to me by the fine folk at the Adler Planetarium Space Visualization Laboratory.