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Multisensory Data Investigation: Adding Touch and Sound to Geoscientific Visualization and Modeling
In this paper, we report on our ongoing research into the investigation of geoscientific data with an integrated system. This system uses three-dimensional interactive computer graphics, touch (haptics), and sound. In recent years, the resource industry has recognized 3D visualization and modeling of geoscientific data as an important part in exploration and exploitation of natural resources in order to increase efficiency. Several projects have demonstrated that the use of advanced interactive computer graphics technology (Virtual Environments) has the potential to improve productivity and lower costs in areas such as petroleum exploration or mining exploration. The fields of haptic force-feedback devices and real time sound synthesis have matured sufficiently over the last years to allow research into the integration of touch and sound into virtual environments. Both technologies have been used in a geoscientific context; however, to our knowledge, no research has been done on the integration of visual, haptic, and audio presentations into a multisensory, immersive system.
The paper outlines general aspects of immersive (3D stereo) display technology, haptic force-feedback technology, and real time sound synthesis as well as the role of sight, touch, and hearing in the presentation of and interaction with data. It presents several examples of multisensory investigations of geoscientific data worked on at the VERI. These examples include surface meshes such as Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) on which several typical properties were mapped (e.g., gravimetric and magnetic data as well as multispectral satellite imagery), 3D volume data, and 2D flow-field simulation.
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