Mechdyne Corporation and Scalable Display Technologies Combine Solutions to Create Immersive Environments in Multiple Projects
Mechdyne Corporation originated as specialists helping solve the world’s most complex research and development challenges with advanced virtual reality solutions. Mechdyne Corporation was founded in 1996 by Iowa State University (ISU) graduates, Dr. Chris Clover, Jim Gruening and Kurt Hoffmeister after honing their skills at ISU’s Virtual Reality Applications Center. Today, Mechdyne has provided hundreds of turnkey solutions for large-scale virtual reality and advanced audiovisual systems to help global clients remove obstacles to insight and understanding. Mechdyne’s technology is designed to enable discovery, collaboration and enhanced decision-making through hands-on interaction.
“We specialize in complex visualization and virtual reality,” said Jeff Brum, director of marketing and sales operations for Mechdyne Corporation. “These projects typically include multiple projectors and display elements. It’s part of our mission to pull together intricate components that require extensive computing and control to go far beyond a typical display. Most importantly, we strive to build systems that endure. We have systems that have been in place and operational for over 15 years. We integrate quality components to ensure our systems will withstand the test of time.”
Mechdyne has developed a range of immersive virtual reality systems, including the ARC, CAVE, CAVE2, MultiView Immersive Solutions and HMD. The immersive virtual reality systems combine cutting-edge technology, including stereoscopic displays, computer graphics and motion-tracking technology, to create a full-body sense of presence in a virtual environment. Mechdyne has standardized Scalable Display Technologies’ projection mapping and edge-blending technology to streamline integration.
“Scalable is part of the magic in our virtual reality solutions. We’ve integrated Scalable into a variety of different projects, including a recent immersive system with multiple projectors on a multi-surface wall and an immersive entertainment solution with a curved screen displaying content from multiple projectors,” said Nate Mayotte, engineering supervisor for Mechdyne Corporation. “Our systems are unique because we’re not optimizing the displays for a single view. For example, 3D glasses have a tracking system, so the content on the screen is geared towards the perfect view for the person wearing the glasses. Our systems are optimized for every person in the room, rather than a single person standing in a specific location.”
Mechdyne Corporation has a long-standing relationship with Scalable that dates back to the companies inception in the late 1990s. The core technology used in the Scalable’s technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1990s by Dr. Rajeev Surati and thesis advisor Dr. Tom Knight, Jr.
“I noticed Dr. Rajeev Surati’s Ph.D. work in projector edge-blending,” said Kurt Hoffmeister, co-founder of Mechdyne Corporation. “The concept of projection edge-blending and warping was an area that we were very interested in. We arranged to meet with Dr. Rajeev Surati and his team at Scalable nearly 20 years ago. At the time, the only available solution that came close to Scalable’s technology was available from one or two projection manufacturers. It was an external hardware box that was built specifically for a brand of projectors. The technology was very limited. In 2006, we began working with Scalable. Our first project utilizing their technology was an extensive, high-stakes integration. We integrated over 20 projectors across several walls. The projectors had to be aligned and projected seamlessly. It was a challenging project and an overwhelming success for us.”
Mechdyne’s immersive environments provide transformational awareness for organizations that need to optimize designs, unlock insights, speed products to market and inform decision-makers. “Our systems are high-visibility, high-profile and high-stakes,” said Mayotte. “Scalable gives us the confidence to know that our complex systems can support various computers, video cards and projectors. We know that the software that runs in the middle is flexible enough to allow us to do what we need to do, especially from a design perspective. We can design complex systems and add items into the light path or add mirrors to the system, and we can confidently say we have a solution to deal with the typical alignment challenges.”
Scalable produces groundbreaking software that automatically calibrates images’ color, intensity and geometry from multiple projectors, resulting in a single, seamless digital display. “An important feature in Scalable’s technology is the ability to recalibrate with a single click or automate the recalibration to schedule on a predetermined basis,” said Mayotte. “Scalable’s recalibration technology eliminates the time and resources necessary to calibrate multiple projectors manually. Their technology is very precise. It’s an essential feature because many of our systems have a complex light path. Our designs are very intricate and the light path can be affected by a curved screen, mirrors in the middle of the path, or other elements that change the traditional linearity of the images. We have built a lot of trust in Scalable’s technology and a strong relationship with the technical team.”