UTSA opens Advanced Visualization Laboratory to promote computer-based research

VisLab

UTSA VisWall

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(May 12, 2011)--The University of Texas at San Antonio will demonstrate once again that it is a force to be reckoned with in the race to Tier One. The emerging research institution, one of seven in Texas, will unveil its Advanced Visualization Laboratory on Tuesday, May 17. The technology-laden facility will allow engineering, science and art researchers to translate large amounts of data into large-scale images to better understand complex phenomena.

>> UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to experience the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at an open house from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 17 in Multidisciplinary Studies Building Room 1.03.06N on the UTSA Main Campus.

"The Advanced Visualization Laboratory on our Main Campus is an amazing place that cannot be described with words," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "One has to visit the lab to truly understand its potential to enhance research, teaching and industry in South Texas. The haptic devices and the images on the VisWall are an unparalleled experience."

The UTSA Advanced Visualization Laboratory is anchored by a 98 megapixel, 14.5-foot wide by six-foot tall visualization wall created using two dozen 30-inch Dell UltraSharp widescreen U3011 monitors. The visualization wall is driven by a high-performance computing cluster comprised of 12 high-speed graphics-enhanced Linux workstations. An InfiniBand communications network operating at 40 gigabits per second connects the 12 computing nodes.

The laboratory's distinguishing feature is a Quanser HD2 high-definition haptic device, a sophisticated tool that can be integrated with the visualization wall and the laboratory's 3-D television to allow researchers to touch and feel the digital models they create in the course of their research.

The haptic device provides six degrees of freedom motion and five degrees of freedom force/torque feedback, making it an ideal tool to practice surgical simulations and other techniques.

Initial projects slated for the laboratory include, but are not limited to:

  • multi-scale modeling for computational biology and biomedicine
  • design and performance of autonomous underwater vehicles
  • fatigue and fracture of advanced structural systems
  • flash flooding research analysis
  • methods to predict the damage formation and failure of skeletal tissues
  • development of cancer surgical simulation and real-time monitoring systems

The UTSA Advanced Visualization Laboratory is managed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the UTSA College of Engineering and supports UTSA's missions of teaching, research, community engagement and faculty recruitment. It is funded by a three-year, $482,600 grant awarded Oct. 1, 2009, by the National Science Foundation.

To learn more or to schedule a tour, visit the Advanced Visualization Laboratory website.