Monday, September 20, 2004

Data Modelling Using VR Gloves

I was talking to some people from the genetic and pharma industries, and some of them told me how several leading pharma companies are looking for a modelling tool which they can manipulate by hand, with atleast 6 degrees of freedom. Apparently, existing systems are expensive and need HMDs and complicated VR gloves to perform such manipulations. I was looking for some cheap hardware solutions, and I came across the P5 Essential Reality Glove -

It's really cool, and lo! - it has six degrees of freedom (X, Y, Z, Yaw, Pitch and Roll), is cheap (got it off eBay for ~$20), durable and can be plugged into the USB of any system. Essential Reality's website even has a developer section, to help coders get started. What's more, they have the code up for both Windows and Linux stuff. So last week, I talked with Senthil on we could get this stuff working to suit our needs. He works at Stanford on gene modelling and visualization of such things, so his skills should really prove helpful. I've a background working for the Information Interfaces laboratory at Georgia Tech, so between the two of us, this should be an easy project. He should be back from his internship at Intel anytime soon, and hopefully this should kickstart within the next couple of weeks. Ideally, I'm looking at a portable but useful solution for visualizing large amounts of data (molecular/genetic/pharmaceutical/etc) on an ordinary but powerful system, and being able to manipulate them using a simple hardware which can simply be plugged in -- like this glove. Done right, this could prove for a cheap, off-the-shelf solution to a complex problem.