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The Mechdyne CAVE
A VR World Unto Itself

Through the use of stereoscopic displays, computer graphics, and motion-tracking technology, the room-sized Mechdyne CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) provides a fully immersive VR experience without the disorientation that can arise from the extended use of head-mounted displays. Enabling one or more users to interact with their virtual models for extended amounts of time provides a host of advantages, including:

  • Fast analysis and interpretation of spatially related data via expanded periphery images, including the floor.
  • “Whole-brain” engagement using full-body VR immersion, for enhanced retention.
  • Intuitive work within realistic, life-size, or scale-appropriate data for research or design. Stand inside a molecule or collaboratively design a building or work cell.
  • The ability to view and collaborate with colleagues directly, using expressions, gestures, and more.

Providing a more natural and sustained experience than headset-enabled VR, the full-body spatial immersion provided by a CAVE (and, formally, CAVE2) maximizes opportunities for information discovery, speeding the path to insight and informed decision-making. And if you need incredible image clarity, viewing content in 8K resolution is made possible through 8K projectors or LED displays. Recognizing the value of both technologies, VR headsets can be connected to a CAVE for real-time collaboration sessions, whether in the same room, a different building, or a different country. These immersive systems can work together to support different use cases. 

 

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Shorten Design Cycles, Enable Discovery & Realize Potential with CAVE Virtual Reality

A CAVE VR space can quickly generate a return on investment. Full-body, spatial immersion deepens insight and speeds decision-making. By enabling more participants to collaborate for longer periods of time than smaller VR systems, it enables a more immersive experience and greater opportunities for information discovery. The impact translates into reduced prototyping costs, faster time to market, more in-depth and trustworthy research findings, and thus more confident decisions.

Tell us about your needs. Our solutions team provides consultation services to assist with goal and success metrics to ensure your virtual reality solution delivers on all accounts.

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CAVE Configurations Create a Custom VR Environment

The CAVE can be built in many different configurations to meet a wide variety of workflows and organizational needs. The video below demonstrates different layouts, but the possibilities are nearly endless. ** Note: the seams in the display systems are to highlight the configurations. Upon installation, these seams are nearly invisible. **

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Mechdyne CAVE Features Scalable Size & Resolution with Changeable Configurations

CAVEs are typically thought of as cubes, but Mechdyne creates them in a wide range of shapes to enable experiences specific to diverse use cases. Workflow and application assessments lead to a recommendation for systems ranging from basic wall and floor (L-shape) configuration to curved walls which wrap content around users, to fully enclosed, six-sided spaces for an unparalleled immersive virtual reality experience.

  • Wall height and width can be scaled to support viewable data – for example, a double-wide front wall scaled to that of an aircraft. Screens can be put in portrait mode and tiled to create larger immersive displays.
  • Image resolution can be scaled to derive insight from specific data. Mechdyne built the world’s highest-resolution CAVE, with 100 million 3D pixels in a virtually seamless, six-sided configuration – over 100 times HD for unmatched detail. Our solution engineers have expertise with all display technologies. Now, tiling with direct-view LED panels brings entirely new possibilities.
  • CAVEs can be reconfigurable with moveable walls, changeable from an immersive room to an angled theater to a flat wall quickly and easily. Different configurations support specific data and audience needs for use cases, making the CAVE an even more valuable central hub for multidisciplinary teams.
  • Adding multiple display elements and innovative designs creates dynamic team collaboration spaces. We can automate moving walls and ceilings. We hold two patents related to reconfigurable immersive environments. We can make CAVEs portable, and have a patent on this, too. We love challenging requirements.
  • The Mechdyne CAVE has many applications, ranging from VR training to museums and entertainment facilities looking to deliver immersive visualizations.
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FAQs About CAVE

What is a CAVE VR system?

A CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) is a room-sized environment that offers a full body immersive virtual reality experience through stereoscopic displays, computer graphics, and motion-tracking technology. The CAVE provides a highly collaborative environment without the disorientation that can arise from the extended use of head-mounted displays. One or more users can interact with their data or virtual models for extended amounts of time. This maximizes opportunities for information discovery, speeding the path to insight and informed decision-making.

A CAVE can be as small as a 2-sided bench-style or corner display to as large as a 6-sided, fully immersive room environment. Images on the walls can be generated by projectors or made up of direct view LED displays (DVLED) with the capability of displaying up to 8K resolution per screen. The use-cases for the CAVE are nearly endless.

How much does a VR CAVE cost?

The cost of a CAVE varies greatly based on the data being reviewed and intended use cases. The main cost drivers are the number of screens, the type of display technology, the complexity of computing to generate the 3D imagery, and the necessary software if it is not already VR capable. Depending on configuration and components, traditional CAVEs with four walls can range from $100,000 to more than $1,000,000. Immersive spaces with fewer than four walls can cost less. An experienced CAVE designer can recommend the right solution for your use cases.  Ongoing maintenance is another consideration. With ongoing maintenance, CAVEs have generated value for more than 10 years.

When was CAVE technology invented?

The CAVE (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment) was developed in 1992 at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois in Chicago. The first CAVE has three walls and a floor, using CRT (cathode ray tube) projectors that displayed images at 1280 x 1024 resolution for a total of just over 4MP of 3D/VR data. Mechdyne became a partner of EVL and licensed CAVE technology and the name shortly thereafter.

Since the initial development of the CAVE, Mechdyne went on to create the first 100 million pixel (16 times the typical CAVE system) six-sided CAVE system. We also created the first reconfigurable CAVE, portable CAVE, and the first Direct View LED CAVE solution.

What are the benefits of CAVE VR?

CAVE immersive environments shorten design cycles, enable discoveries, and provide insights that inform decision-making. These benefits are made possible with:

  • Fast analysis and interpretation of spatially related data via realistic depth-perception and expanded peripheral viewing, intuitive navigation/interaction and more.
  • “Whole-brain” engagement complete viewing field and full-body VR immersion, for enhanced retention.
  • Intuitive work within realistic, life-size, or scale-appropriate data for research or design. Users stand inside a molecule or collaboratively design a building, factory, product design or other data.
  • The ability to view and collaborate with colleagues directly, using expressions, gestures, and more.
What are some common applications for the CAVE?

A CAVE is an immersive virtual reality collaborative space that provides value to nearly endless use cases. From product design, spatially-oriented datapoints like molecular and LIDAR data, consumer behavior analysis, visualizing heat maps to visualize the potential spread of contagions, and hands-on virtual reality teaching and training for improved safety and knowledge retention. The applications for a CAVE and its created value are ever-expanding across varied industries globally.

Are CAVE Solutions Customizable?

Some CAVE systems are promoted as standardized configurations. A standard solution may not be appropriate for specific use case requirements, possibly limiting usability and return on investment. A detailed assessment of needs should be done before a recommendation of necessary components. There are multiple elements that can be customized to ensure all applications will perform as needed:

  • The number of display surfaces
  • The shape of the display surfaces – square, rectangular, extended, curved
  • The size of the virtual space
  • The ability to have movable walls – change from CAVE to angled theater to video wall
  • The type of display technology used – various types of projection or LED
  • Graphics computing power including individual workstation components and cluster configurations
  • Software requirements – natively VR-capable software or VR-enabling plug-ins needed
  • Network connectivity
  • Interaction devices ranging from navigation wands to finger/hand tracking to haptics/force feedback, biometrics and more.

From walls with straight lines to curved wrap-around solutions, and everything in-between. Walls can be designed to be moveable to allow for different configurations to match varying use cases – all in a single system. The configuration options are nearly endless.

How does the CAVE work?

Stereoscopic displays, computer graphics, and motion tracking technology make the room-sized CAVE a fully immersive VR experience. Through the use of projectors or LED panels, the CAVE illuminates to display virtual images that allow users to analyze, collaborate, explore, and make decisions through a highly engaging and immersive experience.

What makes the Mechdyne CAVE different from others?

Mechdyne has been designing and building CAVE solutions for over 25 years. Our extensive knowledge and experience with virtual reality (VR) applications sets us apart within the audio visual (AV) industry. We have vast experience integrating both the hardware and software required to not only operate a CAVE, but to maximize its return on investment (ROI).

We begin each new discussion about immersive solutions as a discovery call – to understand an organization’s overall goals with a CAVE solution before we ever talk about the technology. CAVE systems designed for specific use cases have higher utilization rates than those built for the sake of making a sale. We view our clients as partners and strive to deliver immersive solutions that can function as multi-use case environments for many years.

How do I purchase a CAVE?

We partner with organizations to design and deliver immersive CAVE solutions that align with their specific workflows and needs. When you’re ready to explore how CAVE solutions could help your organization achieve strategic goals, reach out to talk to one of our CAVE experts.

Webinar: Making Your Visualization Center an Academic Switzerland

Listen in as Frank Klassner, Professor at Villanova University, discusses how to enroll and engage multiple departments into using and getting value from a centralized visualization center. Frank’s innovation center features a custom, reconfigurable immersive CAVE that can support many different use cases.

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Request More Information

Please fill out the form below to request additional information on Mechdyne CAVE solutions. You can also contact Mechdyne by email (marketingmatters@mechdyne.com) or by telephone (+1.641.754.4649)