The Graphics and Visualization Lab (GVIS) provides expertise, technology and equipment to let users create and experience advanced graphics and visualization solutions.
We’re a special lab at the Glenn Research Center that develops visualizations and applications using advanced visualization technology and methodology. Our team is part of a scientific computing team which allows us to understand both the worlds of visualization and scientific computing in a unique way to create simulations and visualization applications. Together with the other members of the Scientific Computing and Visualization Team, we work hard to educate, communicate, and inspire.
The Lab is also part of a collection of “Creative Spaces” at the Center. It is a facility whose doors are always open for Center employees to stop by and discuss their needs, ideas, and also to experiment with the equipment.
As researchers conduct more and more experiments by computer simulation instead of in traditional laboratories or wind tunnels, scientific visualization has become a powerful and necessary research tool. Furthermore, scientific visualization has the potential to help communicate and understand data in ways that no other medium can. One of our main objectives is to work with scientists and engineers to produce custom graphics applications, animations, or multi-media presentations of their projects.
GVIS team members demonstrating virtual and augmented reality technology.
In addition to scientific visualization and experimental computational technologies, we specialize in virtual design, interactive 3D simulations, natural user interface development, and mission scenario visualizations. We utilize the latest edition of 3D modeling, game engine, and animation programs, such as Blender, Houdini, and Unity, to build and design our interactive applications. Virtual reality headsets, augmented reality headsets, Leap Motion sensors, Microsoft Kinects, and various other hardware and software is also at our fingertips. Besides experimenting with how these systems can be used to visualize data, we also push their input and output capabilities to their limits.
We support the visualization of a wide variety of 3D data and models such as CAD, point clouds, and volume data. We are capable of high-impact data visualization, web-based visualization, time-accurate data representation, and designing and testing CAD models in virtual reality.
The Lab maintains a large collection of computing, visualization, and user interaction devices including:
- Virtual reality display devices
- Oculus Rift
- Oculus Go
- Oculus S
- Oculus Quest
- HTC Vive
- Room-scale CAVE
- Augmented reality head mounted displays
- Magic Leap
- 3D displays
- Psuedo 3D displays
- Pepper’s ghost display
- Persistence of Vision (POV) LED display
- Looking Glass
- Projection devices for projected AR
- Natural user interface devices
- Leap Motion
- Microsoft Kinect
- Cameras for mixed-reality
- ZED and ZED-Mini
- Computing hardware
- High-end gaming laptops
- High-end tablets and smartphones
All of these devices are available for our users to try and test for possible application to their work.
When we are not traveling around the world to demonstrate our technology to the public, the GVIS Lab hosts tours of our home at Glenn Research Center. In addition to the visualizations listed on the Projects page, the Lab has additional visualizations for use with tours and events including:
- Apollo 11 VR experience
- Mars OnSight – a JPL created HoloLens application that lets users experience walking in Gale Crater on Mars. The data is actual data from the Curiosity rover
- Augmented Reality Sandbox
With our work, we support all six of the center’s core competencies, all four of NASA’s general mission directives, and surrounding research community.