ST Engineering Antycip helps create infinite art journey with portable 3D CAVE

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Paris (France), 24th October 2023 – ST Engineering Antycip, a leading European provider of immersive visualisation solutions, created the bespoke, portable 3D CAVE under the skin of a mind-boggling new artwork, ATOM, just unveiled in Rennes, Britanny.

A co-production with Rennes’ Champs Libres museum, with technical support from researchers at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Grenoble, ATOM is part of a series of ten works created by acclaimed digital artist and musician Yann Nguema for the exhibition PRISM. Specially designed for immersive stereoscopic spaces, ATOM sees Nguema taking advantage of the “unprecedented creative possibilities” offered by the CAVE format to explore the “beauty and poetry” of 4D polytopes – complex geometrical objects that would be impossible to represent properly on a standard monoscopic (2D) screen.

Described as an ‘infinity CAVE’, the ST Engineering Antycip-built space is based on an immersive projection room designed by Frédéric Ravatin for the CEA, dubbed SIRCÉ, though the ATOM CAVE is considerably lighter, designed for quick set-up and dismantling for easy transportation. It can accommodate ten guests, each equipped with active 3D glasses, simultaneously.

Arnaud Doucet, director of production for Anima Lux, the production company behind PRISM, explains that the visual content for ATOM was created (using proprietary software programmed in C++) using the stereoscopic technique, with visitors viewing two distinct pictures – one in the left eye and one in the right – at any one time. “Shifting between these two images to obtain the 3D effect is more complex to implement than on a standard 3D screen,” he says. The software uses so-called generative images to create both equirectangular and fisheye videos of a very high quality (16K, or 4K in real time).

Building on the design of SIRCÉ (whose angled faces made users feel as if were looking ‘beyond’ the confines of the CAVE into a larger world whose dimensions and space still appeared ‘normal’ – a phenomenon known as ‘orthostereoscopy’), the front, left and right sides of the infinity CAVE are rear-projection screens, while the other three surfaces (rear, floor and ceiling) are mirrored to give the effect of no longer being present in physical space, Arnaud Doucet continues. “Unlike with VR headsets, here the spectators are part of the space and integrated into the 3D projection,” he comments, “giving the impression that their bodies are levitating in a virtual universe. It’s an experience both for the senses and the emotions.”

Additionally, the image quality is “far superior” to that obtained using VR headsets, he adds.

The projectors – three Digital Projection E-Vision Laser 13000 WU models – are placed around the immersive device, projecting on the left, right and centre panels of the CAVE. Digital Projection provided projection technology for the original SIRCÉ project three years ago.

The 5m-square x 3m-high space is additionally equipped with a 3D spatial sound system to provide a high degree of acoustic immersion. Original music is composed by ZeroGr4vity (aka Nguema’s bandmate in EZ3kiel, Johann Guillon).

Though designed for the ATOM project, the CAVE will in future host other projection and research projects, according to Anima Lux.

Johan Besnainou, ST Engineering Antycip’s regional director for France and Spain, says: “We are extremely proud to have been involved in this fantastic project, which combines art, technology and science.”

PRISM opened at the Champs Libres on 19th October and runs until 31st March 2024.

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