Private Tour of the Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS) at the NASA Glenn Research Center – Part 1

Space: The Final Frontier

These are the voyages of CDPUG, on a multi-year mission to explore graphic technology in all of its forms, to boldly go where few designers have dared to go.

By Kelli Swan

On July 27, 2018, a small group of CDPUG members were treated to a very special event — a private tour of the Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS) at the NASA Glenn Research Center. This tour was open to a limited number of attendees and proved so popular that a lengthy waiting list developed.

Getting into NASA Glenn is a bit of an ordeal. Thankfully, Spike Radway and several others had done their homework. Our NASA tour guide was Herb Schilling, a computer scientist and a good friend of CDPUG member Diane Sadowski. The group met at the nearby 100th Bomb Group restaurant, and then carpooled over to NASA Glenn for the security check-in.

The GVIS Lab features virtual reality, natural user interface,scientific visualization, interactive system simulation, and augmented reality. It also specializes in developing custom data visualization solutions as well as housing the latest computer graphics and interactive display technologies. CDPUG members were able to virtually pilot a prototype X-plane designed for quiet supersonic travel. There are several other virtual simulations in the lab and a unique augmented reality walk-on-Mars experience.

As NASA researchers conduct more and more experiments using computer simulation instead of traditional laboratories or wind tunnels, scientific visualization of numerical results has become a powerful and necessary research tool. At the same time, engineers and mission planning specialists use visualization to study the details of an orbital rendezvous, the assembly of new spacecraft, or the testing of a rocket engine in one of the NASA Glenn’s facilities.

After experimenting with the various virtual and augmented displays, the CDPUG tour group finished with a view of the walk-in 3D cave automatic virtual environment, or “The CAVETM.” The GRUVE Lab is a reconfigurable, fully-immersive virtual reality facility and is the only large-scale, immersive CAVE in northern Ohio. Soon, it will be replaced with even newer technology.

Returning to “reality,” The 100th Bomb Group restaurant also proved to be a great meeting place for the traditional CDPUG after-meeting meeting.

Our thanks to Diane, Herb, Spike and everyone at NASA Glenn who made this very special event possible! For more information on the NASA Glenn Research Center GVIS Lab, visit www.grc.nasa.gov/gvis/

Kelli Swan is a versatile content specialist whose talents range from writing to digital design. Her specialties include custom black-and-white illustration in pencil, or pen and ink, and custom logo design. For a look into her unique and detailed style, visit pencilplace.com and cygnetgraphics.com.

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