L. Childers, T. Disz, R. Olson, M. E. Papka, R. Stevens, and T. Udesh, "Access Grid: Immersive Group-to-Group Collaborative Visualization," Preprint ANL/MCS-P821-0500, May 2000.
Immersive projection displays have played an important role in enabling large-format virtual reality systems such as the CAVE and CAVE-like devices and the various immersive desks and desktop-like displays. However, these devices have played a minor role so far in advancing the sense of immersion for conferencing systems. The Access Grid project led by Argonne is exploring the use of large-scale projection based systems as the basis for building room-oriented collaboration and semi-immersive visualization systems. We believe these multi-projector systems will become common infrastructure in the future, largely based on their value for enabling group-to-group collaboration in an environment that can also support large-format projector based visualization. Creating a strong sense of immersion is an important goal for future collaboration technologies. Immersion in conferencing applications implies that the users can rely on natural sight and audio cues to facilitate interactions with participants at remote sites. The Access Grid is a low-cost environment aimed primarily at supporting conferencing applications, but it also enables semi-immersive visualization and, in particular, remote visualization. In thsi aper, we will describe the current state of the Access Grid project and how it relates and compares to other environments. We will also discuss augmentations to the Access Grid that will enable it to support more immersive visualizations. These enhancements include stereo, higher performance rendering support, tracking, and nonuniform projection surface.