What’s billed as the nation’s first “virtual reality theatre” opens today at Iowa State University. Dubbed C-6, the room is designed to immerse the user in three-dimensional images and sound.Carolina Cruz-Neira is associate director of I-S-U’s Virtual Reality Applications Center and is a professor of electrical and computer engineering. C-6 is considered a “wireless” environment. No helmets or visors are needed to see the computer-generated worlds, just a special pair of glasses.The six-million dollar facility has many applications, ranging from engineering to architectural design. Cruz-Neira says science fact is catching up to science fiction. She says some people compare the room to the “holodeck” in the later editions of the “Star Trek” series.Within C-6, images are projected on all six sides — the four walls, the floor and ceiling. It enables researchers to walk into buildings that no longer exist, walk through machinery or get a close-up view of a tornado.
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