How Elumens Vision Station Works

Elumens Image Technology
The f-theta lens has a hemispherical optical assembly that allows it to project over a 180-degree range.
The f-theta lens has a hemispherical optical assembly that allows it to project over a 180-degree range.

VisionStation uses Elumens TruTheta imaging technology to provide an immersive experience. In other words, because the image is projected to cover a full 180-degree x 135-degree field of view, you feel like you are actually in the scene. Distractions are reduced because your peripheral vision sees the projected image instead of your surroundings beyond the screen. This differs from head-mounted displays (traditionally used for virtual reality), which completely isolate you from the outside world. The team at Elumens believe that the VisionStation is better than virtual reality because you are immersed in the experience without losing contact with your surroundings.

TruTheta combines advanced, 3-D software algorithms with the f-theta lens design to enable high-quality projection on a hemispherical screen. The goal is to create images that are consistently bright, even and in focus. To accomplish the goal, the TruTheta lens distributes pixels equally throughout the hemispherical surface, eliminating distortion.

Another view of the lens

To create the 3-D scenes, Elumens recommends the four-camera process. You set up a scene in a 3-D-animation program as usual, with a single (main) camera following the animation. Once the scene is prepared, you duplicate the original camera four times. The other four cameras are rotated 90 degrees on the camera axis to point at different areas of the scene. The four additional angles are:

  • Camera-left: The camera is rotated 90 degrees to the left of the main camera.
  • Camera-right: The camera is rotated 90 degrees to the right of the main camera.
  • Camera-top: The camera is rotated 90 degrees to the top of the main camera.
  • Camera-bottom: The camera is rotated 90 degrees to the bottom of the main camera.
The scene from each of the four different angles
Image courtesy Elumens

Once the frames of the animation are rendered from all four angles, a program called TruFrame is used to combine the four different scenes into a single scene that provides all the information necessary for 180-degree projection.

The final scene has all five angles combined.
Image courtesy Elumens
A look at the TruFrame interface
Image courtesy Elumens

Typically, frames are rendered at a resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels. The four separate views are combined to create each TruFrame frame.

Elumens is working with software developers to provide plug-ins for popular 3-D software applications that will automate the 180-degree scene creation process and replace the manual four-camera process. For example, Elumens offers TruShade for Raygun, a plug-in for 3-D Studio Max that uses the Raygun rendering engine to create hemispherical scenes without requiring you to set up multiple camera angles.

Describing the VisionStation is easy, but the description alone does not do justice to the experience of using it. When you sit in front of this system and run a 3-D simulator, the effect is amazing! You really get the sense of motion and depth as you move through the virtual world.