We were fortunate to get in a Wolfvision VC-C3D visualizer this week for an extended evaluation. I spent three days with it at MPS west where we had a demo setup. The unit is designed to be mounted from the ceiling and shoot straight down or at a slight angle. The image is then delivered via HDMI or network infrastructure to a display. Students can see the resulting image on the screen, assuming of course there is a 3D projector in place.
Rather than boring holes in our studio we used the manufactures demo rig that consisted of an aluminum “easy up” style system holding the visualizer. We connected it via HDMI to a 3D display in the room. For easy streaming, we used the Java powered web interface to connect additional displays and stream the signal to ATC for walk-in’s at the Media Lab. We also explored unicast and multicast features of the systems encoder to deliver feeds directly to VLC in other facilities. Steve Toback did a great job of actually integrating the 3D stream into the digital signage platform to display which made a few unique opportunities where the demo could be extended to other audiences. We showed the content on the MPS’s digital sign and curiosity drew many on lookers. We left glasses on the MPS counter, it was a lot of fun to see the students walk by and check things out.
As far as reviewing the system there is much positive to say. The unit installed in less than 15 minutes and did everything it advertised. It was no more complicated than setting up a DVD player. The web interface provided considerable functionality and control from remote locations or the convenience of a laptop and the streaming features were easy to use. We were very happy with everything on the system except the software application for the Apple platform, which we found to be a little buggy and problematic. We discussed this with the company who said this was an early version and they were working hard to get caught up on the Mac side.
There were some educational take-aways that we learned as well. The real value of the system with its 3D capability is in displaying dimensional objects, using flat objects like you would with a traditional document cam is somewhat of a waste. We also noted that not all presentations are optimized for overhead view. Two faculty from our physics department stopped in and challenged the system with some of their experiments. For instance, they had a spring that vibrates up and down to demonstrate frequency concepts to students but viewing this from overhead did not show the concept since the vibrations were happening to the front or rear. This suggests that for those situations the system might better be suited mounted at an angle instead of straight down.