Visualization Projects

We do all sorts of visualization for Web and mobile devices to Immersive CAVEs and headsets for Virtual and Augmented Reality. We have produced a set of Impact videos from our 2017-2018 work:

Through ARC, we are able to service a wide variety of researchers' needs and data types; for example, in 2017-2018:

  • Realtime Web3D: CORNET3D, MirrorWorlds
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Nuclear Safety
  • Semantic Networks
  • Volumes (Microscopy, Gene expression, Paleobiology)
  • Immersive Exhibit Design (w/ SoVA class)
  • Forest Farming Graduate Class: Immersive design
  • GIS and Lidar data: 3D Blacksburg, Catawba Sustainability Center, Stroubles Creek Stream Lab

  • Nuclear Safety & Simulation with VRS Rapid (Haghighat et al); a video of the desktop demo is  here.













Mirror Worlds, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, researches human interaction by studying behavior and emotion in both the physical and virtual environment. Sensors placed around the Moss Arts Center track people in the physical space and then generate a digital version of those people at those same locations in a virtual building. People will also be able to access the virtual model of the building online and see both online visitors and the tracked representations of real people currently in the physical building. The project hopes to create a shared space, with portals between the physical and virtual, where people can interact with each other and explore the Moss Arts Center. 

Nicholas F. Polys, Benjamin Knapp, Matthew Bock, Christina Lidwin, Dane Webster, Nathan Waggoner, and Ivica Bukvic (2015). “Fusality: an open framework for cross-platform mirror world installations”. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 171-179.

CORNET-3D is a web application that provides a 3D view of the CORNET testbed with information on which nodes and radios are operational and how to access them. The application can also display 2D and 3D plots of the spectrum usage, which is sensed by the radios in real time. CORNET3D provides a visual tool for teaching students about wireless resources, the existing tradeoffs and techniques for optimal use of spectral resources in an intuitive way. Spectrum challenges, where students collaborate on or compete for the use of radio resources are currently developed.  An NSF-funded collaboration.

Marojevic, V., & Goff, R. M., & Dietrich, C. B., & Yang, T., & Hearn, C. W., & Polys, N. F., & Buehrer, R. M. (2015, June), “Wireless Communication Testbed and Tools for Authentic STEM Learning” Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, Washington.

Nikita Sharakhov, Nicholas Polys, Carl Dietrich, Vuk Marojevic, Ferdinando Romano. Visualizing Real-Time Radio Spectrum Access with CORNET3D. 19th International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D ’14), Vancouver, CA, ACM SIGGRAPH, 2014. 

As the use of geospatial and geo-referenced information models continues to grow on the Web, new services and standards are being specified to advance the cause of interoperability. This project an open method for data processing and publishing from public geodata sources to ISO and OGC standard services, examining multiple tradeoffs in the processing of geospatial and geo-referenced data with different scales and publishing it to the Web. We are currently developing guidelines for the generation of 3D geospatial models for Web-based 3D visualization, examining the advantages and disadvantages of several 3D geospatial data models by conducting performance evaluations.

Nicholas Polys, Jessica Hotter, Laura Purcell, Madison Lanier, Jordan Wolf, Cully Hession, Peter Sforza and James Ivory (2017). “Finding Frogs: Using Game-Based Learning to Increase Environmental Awareness”. In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Haitao Wang, Xiaoyu Chen, Nicholas Polys and Peter Sforza (2017). “A Web3D Forest Geo-Visualization and User Interface Evaluation”. In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Ji-Sun Kim, Nicholas Polys, and Peter Sforza (2015). “Preparing and evaluating geospatial data models using X3D encodings for web 3D geovisualization services”. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 55-63.

  • Open Semantic Network Analysis Platform (OSNAP)                     

An NSF-funded network visualization tool for OWL ontologies and GraphML!!!    Project Link

Peter J. Radics,  Nicholas F. Polys, Shawn P. Neuman, and William H. Lund. “OSNAP! Introducing the open semantic network analysis platform”. Proceedings of Visualization and Data Analysis, IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging; 2015.

  • Volume Visualization: from fossils to cells to medicine!

Understanding the anatomy of a biological specimen and arrangement of cellular/sub-cellular components is vital to understanding the function of the specimen. While the basic cellular elements such as nucleus, mitochondria and Golgi apparatus remain the same in all eukaryotic cells, physical dimensions and the components that form particular cells differ vastly based on their type. Composition of tissue affects its pathophysiological as well as mechanical properties.

We obtained different multi-channel three-dimensional cell image datasets from the Cell Image Library (CIL); a freely accessible publlic repository of cell images. These images were taken using multi-channel microscopy. Therefore, at each depth within the specimen, typically two or three images of the specimen are taken using different filters. Different filters capture fluorescence emitted by specific structures of the specimen. For example, blue filter is typically used to detect cell nuclei stained with the 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) stain while green filter is used to detect nucleli stained with ANA-N antibody. We processed these sets for interactive web delivery using X3DOM, which is an open-source technology that runs natively in HTML5 (no plugin required):  3D Interactive Cell Image Library

Polys, N. F., Wood, A., Ullrich, S., Evestedt, D., & Aratow, M. (2013). A fresh look at Immersive Volume Rendering: Challenges and Capabillities, in IEEE VR Workshop on Immersive Volume Rendering 2013: Orlando.

Mike Meyer, Nick Polys, Humza Yaqoob, Linda Hinnov, Shuhai Xiao (2017). “Beyond the stony veil: Reconstructing the Earth’s earliest large animal traces via computed tomography X-ray imaging”. Precambrian Research, Volume 298, Pages 341-350, ISSN 0301-9268,

Marquart, G. D., Tabor, K. M., Horstick, E. J., Brown, M., Geoca, A. K., Polys, N. F., ... & Burgess, H. A. (2017). “High precision registration between zebrafish brain atlases using symmetric diffeomorphic normalization”. GigaScience 6 (8).

Ander Arbelaiz, Aitor Moreno, Luis Kabongo, Nicholas Polys and Alejandro GarcÌa-Alonso (2017). “Community-driven Extensions to the X3D Volume Rendering Component”. In Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA.

  • GeoSpy

GeoSpy provides 2D and 3D visualization of geospatial data on the web. The application is primarily focused on leveraging 3D portrayals to increase the number of broadband Quality of Service (QoS) metrics, which can be attached to a single point on a map. Additionally, GeoSpy has proven to be a flexible visualization platform by giving the user a high level of customization over HTTP API data. This allows GeoSpy to venture beyond broadband mapping, and provide 3D portrayals of any appropriately-formatted geospatial JSON API.Sharakhov, N., N. Polys, and P. Sforza, “SpeedSpy: a mobile Web3D platform for visualizing broadband data”, 18th International Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D ’13), San Sebastian, ES, ACM SIGGRAPH, 2013.Nikita Sharakhov, Nicholas Polys, and Peter Sforza. 2013. GeoSpy: a Web3D platform for geospatial visualization. In Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on MapInteraction (MapInteract ’13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 30-35.GeoSpyapp

  • Broadband on the Road

Would you like to know your cellular internet access quality on the road when you plan a trip?  Broadband on the Road provides visualization of cellular service quality along routes.  It was developed as a part of the GeoSpy suite of tools.Broadband on the Road