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D. The Next Step in Virtual Reality

Narrator: This is Science Today. Mike Bailey, a scientific visualization expert at the University of California, San Diego, is excited about a new device called a BOOM -- Binocular Omni-Oriented Monitor -- a virtual reality display that will let scientists look in detail at 3-D computer models of things like molecules. In some ways it resembles the headset of a commercial virtual reality game.

Bailey: But one of the problems that head-mounted displays have is that in order to get quality graphics, you have to have very heavy monitors and you have this enormous weight on your neck. 09

Narrator: But the BOOM is attached to a mechanism like the one that holds your dentist's drill which takes the weight off you.

Bailey: And as you turn your head and look around, the angles are being read by the computer, which can then reconstruct where your eye is and where your eye is looking, and then regenerate the left and right eye views. So if you stoop over and look up, what you'll see is the underside of the object you're looking at. If you look over your shoulder you'll see something that's behind you in 3-D.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.