By John McHale
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -Engineers at Fakespace, Inc. in Mountain View, Calif. are using a large three-dimensional display to help U.S. Navy aircraft designers test future aircraft weapons and subsystems in a visual real-time combat scenario.
The Fakespace 3-D system is called the VersaBench virtual model display (VMD). Company officials are delivering VersaBench for the Visualization Architecture Technology (VAP) program of the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.
Engineers working on the VAP at the Patuxent River Crew Station Laboratory eventually will switch to a portable tabletop display, then place it in the cockpit for field use, explains Richard Dunn, director of the Crew Station Technology Laboratory. Patuxent River specialists are using immersive displays for battle-management research.
"Our requirements for a command-and-control visualization system included positioning flexibility, brightness for daylight viewing, limited footprint, and accessibility from all four sides," Dunn says.
VersaBench - a version of the Fakespace Immersive Workbench technology - uses a bright digital-light-processing projector, which puts out more light than traditional cathode ray tube projectors, explains David Eggleston, the Fakespace vice president of sales and marketing.
Fakespace engineers also added a passive stereo-viewing tool, which uses a polarized screen and eyeglasses to simulate right eye and left eye viewing angles.
Designers located the two solid-state projectors under the unit`s table, and achieved a stereoscopic viewing effect by generating a slightly different image for each eye.
Using digital instead of analog projectors was a new step for Fakespace designers who previously used digital with their Immersive Workbench technology. "We took the Crew Station`s requirements and were able to integrate the projector and screen surface into one complete unit that can switch from horizontal to vertical views easily," Eggleston says.
For the VAP project, Navy officials will use the VersaBench as a 3-D visualization system within the EDGE Whole Earth Visualization Package, developed for NAWCAD by the Vision International Group of Autometric Inc. in Springfield, Va.
Navy engineers are developing the system for a command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence project that will use satellite-generated imagery to help commanders not only plan and rehearse battle scenarios, but also to analyze the results of simulated battles, Eggleston says.
VersaBench will display populated urban scenes integrated with large expanses of real terrain that specialists extract from the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
To support the NAWCAD`s requirements for multiple viewing perspectives, Fakespace engineers developed a mechanical design that enables the viewing surface to automatically adjust across a broad range of positions, he says.
VersaBench places the projection system below the viewing surface, which creates a small footprint, and enables users to view from all sides of the display surface, he says.
For more information on VersaBench and Fakespace contact David Eggleston by phone at 650-526-3975, by mail at Fakespace Inc., 241 Polaris Avenue, Mountain View, Calif. 94043, by email at [email protected], or on the World Wide Web at http://www. fakespace.com.
The Fakespace VersaBench virtual model display, pictured at right, is a 3-D display that will help the U.S. Navy test future aircraft weapons VersaBench is a version of the Fakespace Immersive Workbench.