RENCI: The Renaissance Computing Institute Engagement Center

For information scientists (and architects) interested in visualization technologies, I pieced this together from The Renaissance Computing Institute Engagement Center features three of these technologies in three different demonstration laboratories: the Showcase Dome, the Social Computing Room and the TeleImmersion Room.


The Renaissance Computing Institute Engagement Center, located on the south campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the focus of collaborations between RENCI and UNC. The Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), a multi-institutional organization, brings together multidisciplinary experts and advanced technological capabilities to address pressing research issues and to find solutions to complex problems that affect the quality of life in North Carolina, our nation, and the world. The engagement center is a gateway to the resources of RENCI, and also provides unique resources and expertise that enhance the research and educational mission of the University.

 The Showcase Dome at the UNC RENCI Engagement Center offers an immersive experience for users. The dome supports a very wide Field of View (FOV), and promotes a strong sense of immersion, meaning that the viewer feels “immersed” in the data flow. This effect can be quite useful in analyzing spatial relationships between objects. The dome is already in use as a molecular viewer, as a showcase for art projects, and as a way to view immersive medical data. Upcoming users include UNC faculty in chemistry and gene therapy, as well as more arts and humanities users.

The Social Computing Room is a unique space on the UNC Campus that features: • A 360-degree wrap-around visualization display, with a 12,288 x 768 resolution. • Surround-sound audio. • Wireless mics and 360-degree camera coverage. • UbiSense 3D location tracking for people and objects. o An extensible architecture to support sensors, robotics, and additional projection/display equipment. o Extensive wiring with Cat-6 to support connection of any type of peripheral electronic gear. o Unistrut scaffolding to support physical placement of computer or audio/video gear. o Computer closet space for installation of rack equipment and additional computing hardware.

The TeleImmersion Room at ITS Manning uses two ultra-high resolution (over 4 times HD, also referred to as 4k) projectors to enable viewing of highly-detailed images and 3D data in either standard monoscopic mode or stereoscopic 3D. The room is also equipped with HD teleconferencing equipment. The room includes support for both interactive applications and streaming of 4k video. The Teleimmersion Room includes: • Two Sony SRX-R105 4k projectors for 3D stereoscopic viewing (native resolution: 4096 x 2160) • A 10’ x 5’ rear-projected screen • 3D stereoscopic scientific visualization • Viewing 3D stereoscopic photography and video • HD videoconferencing • Membership to CineGrid, an initiative exploring digital transmission of 4k images worldwide


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