Pure entertainment and critical safety
Immersive experiences are becoming everyday reality at CIVIT, the Centre for Immersive Visual Technologies. The centre has recently moved to new state-of-the-art facilities that bring together a flexible infrastructure and research expertise that covers all the areas of immersive technologies.
Speedometers and other gauges can be projected to the windshield of a car using a semi-transparent mirror, so that they merge seamlessly into their real-world environment. The project was initially funded by Business Finland and now continues in collaboration with company partners. Atanas Gotchev (in the front), Ugur Akpinar and Erdem Sahin from CIVIT demonstrate,
“Immersive technology can be summed up in two words: realism and interaction. Firstly, it creates a sense of physical presence in a virtual world. From an imaging perspective, this means lively colours, high resolutions and depth perception. Secondly, users are able to interact with the environment. They can move around as if in our real world and see objects from different angles,” describes Professor Atanas Gotchev of Tampere University of Technology (TUT).
“Besides developing immersive technologies, we’re looking to understand their relation with human behaviour and perception. A broad range of signal processing expertise, for example, in the areas of sensing and compression technologies is also available at TUT.”
Research, services, education
Funded by the Academy of Finland and TUT, CIVIT maintains an extensive network of national and international contacts. The centre’s new facilities and activities attracted more than a hundred visitors during the CIVIT Tech Day event.
“Twenty parallel cameras allow us to capture three-dimensional images at eye level and extend the perspective smoothly,“ says Atanas Gotchev.
“We have close contacts with Finnish research institutions, companies and other organizations that are working on virtual reality, augmented reality, imaging and related user experience.”
Companies have the opportunity to carry out collaborative projects with CIVIT or use the facilities in their own projects.
“For example, game developers are interested in our new motion capture studio. Others may need our 360-degree cameras or use our controlled environment to test the user experience of audiovisual applications. We also have our own Omnideck, which for the first time allows users to literally step into a virtual world.”
“Students at TUT can access CIVIT’s facilities at an early stage of their studies. We are also coordinating two EU-funded research networks that promote the growth of young international researchers from eight universities into future professionals.”
Applications for tomorrow and decades beyond
Immersive technologies are a game changer not only for the entertainment industry but also for safety and security.
“We develop solutions that offer, for example, rescue personnel, heavy machine operators and control centre staff access to crucial information that would otherwise remain unattainable. This information helps them make sound and timely decisions.”
CIVIT has a long-term approach to research. New light field displays and augmented reality applications are examples of some of the technologies developed at CIVIT that will soon be ready to hit the market.
“Augmented reality (AR) is a global trend. While we already know how to project high-quality image to AR glasses, the cost of the components has been a barrier for consumers adopting the technology. For the glasses to serve various professional or consumer markets, we need more powerful algorithms that are able to handle the necessary vast amount of data.”
In addition, CIVIT pursues fundamental research with far-reaching goals in areas such as holography that may not become a reality for another 20 years.