02/10/2015 | AGRARIAN, ENGINEERING AND MATERIAL SCIENCES
Scientists develop innovative virtual simulation technology in Tandil
A research team created the first computer assisted virtual environment of Argentina, a system to promote professional training in different priority areas of the country
The CAVE facility combines software and hardware so as to make users feel totally immerse in a world that seems to be real but it is virtually generated. Photo: CCT Tandil

Coordinated by CONICET post-doctoral fellow Cristian García Bauza, a group of researchers, fellows and Media.Lab teachers at the PLADEMA Institute of the Universidad Nacional del Centro of the province of Buenos Aires designed, programmed and built the first Argentine CAVE (Computer Assisted Virtual Environment), called Rubika for the several possibilities of the Rubik’s cube.

The CAVE facility combines software and hardware so as to make users feel totally immerse in a world that seems to be real but it is virtually generated. It is a room-sized scenario where the walls, the floor and the roof are screens on which a virtual envirnoment –100% generated by computers– is projected. It is used mainly to enhance the training of professionals in priority areas. Firstly, it will be used for the drilling of oil wells with the possibility of extending it through defence, medicine, odontology areas, among others.

The CAVE was totally developed in the city of Tandil, in Media.Lab, one of the research areas that belong to the PLADEMA Institute, which is a multidisciplinary centre devoted to the research and development of computer graphics, virtual reality and human-computer interaction applications. It focuses specifically on the research and implementation of innovative techniques for the design of training simulators, systems that allow workers to be trained on the use of machines and vehicles through some exercises that make students feel they move in the real world.

RUBIKA project began in 2014, with the development of the first prototype; and by the end of 2015, the research team aims to install nine CAVEs in different universities of the country. The project is undertaken by Cristian García Bauza with the technical coordination of Marcos Lazo, CONICET post-doctoral fellow, and Juan Pablo D’Amato, assistant researcher, all of them members of the scientific community of the Scientific and Technological Centre of CONICET Tandil. This development is really significant due to the knowledge production necessary to create it, what places Argentina in the world as one of the countries with the capacity to implement complex technology.

In September, through teleconferencing, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner addressed the nation in a live televised speech and presented the CAVE. She highlighted the development and quality of the scientific production of the Universidad Nacional del Centro (UNCPBA). During the speech, Cristian García Bauza spoke with the president and said “It is possible to make it when scientists are provided with support. These developments are virtual training scenarios; we began with drilling oil wells and will continue with defence, medicine, odontology, and other applications.”

  • By Yesica Etcheverry. CCT Tandil.