All posts by Koos de Beer

VRI Lab and Kumba VR center collaboration

Today we had a tour for a group of students of the Kumba VR centre at the University of Pretoria. The students, from the BIS Multimedia Honours module Virtual Environments, had the opportunity to look at the technology and experience it first hand. This includes the Kumba VR centre’s 3D 360-degree Virtual Reality Cylinder, which displays stereoscopic 3D visuals onto a cylindric wall that encloses the users (as seen in the photos).

This year will be the first year where the VRI (Virtual Reality and Interaction) Lab will be collaborating with the Mining VR centre in exploring VR and interaction design, pushing the boundaries of interaction design in shared physical VR spaces. The goal is to expand the possibilities of shared VR space by incorporating different VR-technologies, such as combining the cylinder with real-time individual tracking.

Recommended PC spec 2017

Hi everyone

We have set up a recommended specification for a desktop PC for 2017. The PC will cost an estimate of R 18 000 (based on sources like Takealot) and will last you for the 3 years of your studies.

I recommend you search for the best price from various sources.

The specification can be found below:

  • Intel Core i5-7500 CPU (1151)
  • Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3 Motherboard
  • Kingston Value 8GB DDR4-2133 Kit – CL15, 1.2V x2
  • MSI GeForce GTX 1060 3GT OC
  • Seagate Barracuda 3.5″ 1TB SATA6G (64MB)
  • Cooler Master Elite 311 Chassis – Black/Silver (ATX,USB3.0,Win)
  • Cooler Master B Series V2 500W
  • LG 22″ 22MP58VQ IPS Monitor
  • standard mouse & keyboard

CPU:

  • 4 physical cores
  • 4 threads
  • 3.5GHz clock speed
Motherboard:
  • SATA slots x4
  • 4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
  • Support for DDR4 3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules
  • 1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 Slot (PCIE2: x16 mode) (for the graphics card)

Memory: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage: 1TB SATA6G Hard drive

Display: 22″ full HD monitor

Mouse & keyboard: standard

Graphics card:
  • Boost / Base Core Clock: 1759 MHz / 1544 MHz
  • Memory Clock Speed: 8008 MHz
  • Memory: 3GB GDDR5
Power supply:
  • 500w
  • Connectors
  • CPU 4+4 Pin x 1
  • PCI-e 6+2 Pin x 2 (for the graphics card)
  • SATA x4 (for hdd)
  • Peripheral 4 Pin x 3
Case:
  • length: 250mm+ (to fit graphics card)
  • 120mm fan placements x2 (1 for front, 1 for rear)
  • Must fit accompanying power supply
  • Must fit accompanying motherboard

Your lecturers in 3D – VRI Lab – 3D Scanner

As you know, we acquired a 3D scanner. Today, we had some time to play around with it, so we naturally decided to scan all of the Multimedia lecturers’ faces. Below you can view each of us in glorious 3D! Do you recognise your lecturers?

Update: Yes we printed them and added them to a little stand, just for kicks!

faces

 

VRI Lab – 3D printing open to students

The VRI lab has expanded over the last few months. With the purchase of our own 3D printer as well as our acquisition of a second 3D printer from the MakerSpace we now have the capacity to print various sizes. We (and by “we” I mean Diffie Bosman) developed a queuing system to enable us to manage the printers and the models of the students.

The 3D printing queue system

The queuing system allows students to log on and upload an STL file. The students can also select the colour they want the model to be printed in. Currently the system is only usable by the honours students and the 3rd years as we are still streamlining the workflow. The uploaded file is then put through a slicer (software that changes the STL file into a format that the 3D printer can use – gcode). We use CURA as our primary slicer with two different profiles for our two 3D printers. This part of the process is done manually by one of the lecturers. The print is then added to the queue using the queuing system.

While the printing is done, students can view the printers working online. The URL for viewing the webcam feeds are only accessible while on the UP intranet (wired network). The students are charged a fee for the printing which includes material cost, an hourly rate (for printer maintenance and upgrades) as well as a handling fee (for miscellaneous purchases for the printers). The students get notified about the cost before hand but a minimum fee of R 10 is charged for each print.  The students are notified when the printing is done and can then collect their printing.

Managing the 3D printers

On the printer side of the process we use free software called Repetier that allows us to communicate with the printers remotely. Each printer has a webcam feed which allows us to check up on the prints. If something goes wrong the print can be stopped remotely. The software also allows use to upload the Gcode files directly to the printer and start the printing process remotely. This obviously requires the printer to be set up and be ready for the print to start.

Manual management of the printers are also required as the prints need to be removed from the printer. The print surface also needs to be cleaned after each print. On the large printer (The Robobeast – 350 x 350 x 300 build volume) we print on of masking tape that allows us to more easily remove the prints when they are done. The smaller printer (Duplicator – 200 x 200 x 180 build volume) has a heated build plate which also requires cleaning after each print.

Moving forward

With the 3D printing section of the VRI lab functioning we are planning to expand to our other undergraduate students. Currently most of the printing being done on the printers are by students seeing “what the printers can do” and testing the boundaries of 3D printing. This is evident in the amount of game related items, figurines and models . The honours students are using the printers mostly for prototyping for their final year projects. Below you can see some of the prints that was done up until now on our printers (click on the image to access the album).

VR and interaction lab – 3D printer / Google Photos

VR and Interaction (VRI) lab – 3D printing and scanning

Some more toys arrived today. This time around we got our hands on a 3D scanner. We are still learning to use it but watch this space for some updates.

We also printed some more stuff. This time we printed some Raspberry Pi cases for the honours projects. Below you will find the time lapse of the bottom of the case as well as a unboxing video of the 3D scanner.

Watch this space!

VR and Interaction lab – the beginning

Awesome things are happening in the multimedia department at the Department of Information Science. A few years ago a colleague and I decided to create a laboratory where Multimedia post graduate students can have the freedom to play, learn and experiment with the newest technologies.

Over the last three years this has slowly become a reality with the department buying pieces of technology. We first started with the Oculus Rift development kit 1. The year after that we purchased the Oculus Rift development kit 2. Shortly after that (after figuring out that we have no computer powerful enough for commercial VR) we purchased “The eye” which is our VR computer.

This year we bought the most equipment yet: A HTC Vive, 3D printers, a 3D scanner and some micro electronics for IoT experiments. Some of these toys arrived this week. We have been playing with some great technology! Below you will find some videos and images of what we have been doing.

Our 3D prints so far.

More updates to come!

The new multimedia blog

Welcome to the new multimedia blog. This space will be used to share interesting things with multimedia enthusiasts about what the BIS Multimedia students at the University of Pretoria are up to.

The space will showcase various multimedia productions from games created by the students, animation, short films or projects produced in our VR and Interaction lab.

You are welcome to share anything you find on this blog with the world!

Together with this blog we also have a closed Facebook group (for multimedia students and alumni only) as well as a Youtube channel.

For more information on what the multimedia degree is about, go here.

For more information on the people working in the multimedia degree, go here.

 

Project MYTUI – Development of a low cost 2.5D Shape display

This was an honours project  created by Paul Jordaan in 2015. The project produced both the prototype and a research paper. The aim of the project was:

“In order to expand research on tangible interfaces more HCI researchers need access to
working tangible interface systems. Since most tangible interfaces are still research based, they are generally very costly to produce and as such available to a limited group of researchers that have access to the necessary resources. This paper will discuss the design and development a prototype for a low cost 2.5D shape display based open source software and built with commercially available components.
By making shape displays and tangible interfaces more affordable and less complex, more
researchers will be able to build their own tangible interface and contribute to the field of
research.”

You can also watch the prototype in action below.