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Podcast: Tour the AlloSphere

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Podcast length: 6 minutes 28 seconds

Podcast Description

A short presentation from TED 2009, in which JoAnn Kuchera-Morin introduces a new scientific visualisaton VR environment: The Allosphere.

Presenter Biographies

JoAnn Kuchera-Morin

Composer JoAnn Kuchera-Morin works on the Allosphere, one of the largest scientific and artistic instruments in the world. Based at UCSB, the Allosphere and its 3D immersive theater maps complex data in time and space. Kuchera-Morin founded the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) and has been the director since its birth in 1986. In 2000 she began work on a Digital Media Center within the California NanoSystems Institute at Santa Barbara. Her fascinations include gestural interfaces for performance and the expression of complex data in non traditional forms.

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Podcast viewing notes

The allosphere is a three storey high metal sphere surrounding an echo free chamber. Inside it is a single suspended bridge capable of holding twenty people. The sphere stretches away on all sides, above and below them.

Every inch of surface space on the inside of the sphere is part of the display system, connected to a mainframe which syncs every component into a single display.

The talk sadly does not talk so much about the technical feats, but about five scientific projects currently using the sphere for their work.

1. The AlloBrain

Essentially analysing fMRI and other data, in a 3D model of the brain which is flown through in real-time, projected in a wrap-around inside the sphere, as the researchers immerse themselves in the data.

2. Artificial Nature

Research into self-assembly systems in nature. Again, blowing these structures up to massive scales, like being inside a microscope, interacting with them. A single cell, is shown on the video, blown up to the scale of the entire sphere.

3. Multi-Center Hydrogen Bond

A simulation at a far smaller scale; individual atoms in a cloud around the researchers. Its used to manually build new molecular structures from inside the molecule, and has been used already, to design new materials.

4. Hydrogen with Electron Flow

A single hydrogen atom simulated in the sphere, being used to analyse its spatial dimensions and probabilities - again, serious research.

5. Electron Spin

Measurign audio-visually as a complete surround experience, decoherence in electron spin.

Additional Research Links

The AlloSphere at the California NanoSystems Institute

Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE)

California NanoSystems Institute at UC Santa Barbara

Staff Comments


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