A local multidisciplinary university, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA) has thirty recognised research departments, seven of which are associated with major French institutions such as CNRS, INSERM and INRA. These research departments are divided into five scientific units focused on life science, chemistry and engineering science, mathematics and ICT, agricultural, universe and environmental sciences, and human and social sciences, respectively.
For the past decade, imaging—in the broader sense—has been one of URCA’s main development focus in many disciplines. Under the current four-year contract as well as the State/Region Project Contract (CPER) and with the support of the Champagne-Ardenne Region, URCA’s scientific policy aims at broadening its skill sets around new information and communication technology (NICT), especially by promoting the creation of a new imaging centre called the “Centre Image” (CI).
Direct human involvement in the display process
The “consumerisation” of graphics technology using interactive display tools now enables researchers to appropriate their models efficiently. As competition continues to increase between the various players of national and international research, using such leading edge technology drives scientific innovation in the field of R&D, resulting in a major competitive edge.
This technology has reached maturity and is based on direct human involvement in the display process as it uses intelligent user interfaces to enable access to data, calculations and programs as well as communication with other users—a new trend which represents the ultimate form of display.
“The design and simulation tools provided by display technologies enable researchers to comprehend many complex problems and processes even though the laws that govern them are not fully known. The outlook and potential of immersive, interactive simulation put virtual reality in the hands of scientists,” said Laurent Lucas, Group Manager for Signal, Image and Knowledge at University of Reims’ CReSTIC (Centre for Research in Information and Communication Science and Technology).
Centre Image—supporting innovation in technological R&D
With this new Virtual Reality room, URCA enables its many teams across various scientific departments to carry out their research activities in diverse fields—engineering science, human sciences, healthcare, biophysics, etc.) while sharing available resources as required investments cannot be funded by own resources.
Resource sharing is complemented with material and human support for scientific and industrial projects around digital imaging in the field of immersive display, including:
- Making available equipment and related maintenance services
- Developing new imaging tools, leveraging interaction between various research departments within the University but also with external organisations to address their needs in terms of reduced development time
- Providing postgraduate education, staff training and user assistance
“One of the goals of Centre Image consists of developing a nationwide hardware inventory including graphic computers and interaction devices, both of which are required to design and use immersive display tools,” added Laurent Lucas. “This intentionally cross-disciplinary facility, its structure as well as its complementarity with URCA’s various scientific units show that it is a strategic initiative.” An unprecedented level of realism and comfort for stereoscopic display
URCA’s Virtual Reality needs were completely integrated in December 2008 by ANTYCIP Simulation, Europe’s leading provider of 3D simulation software, complex projection systems and related engineering services. ANTYCIP Simulation installed a comprehensive offering, including: Large screen with 4-metre base width, Room-divider, Christie’s Mirage HD6 projector, Projector stand to save space, Computer linked to remotely controllable automation system and a Tracking system delivering sensation of full immersion in the 3D environment.
The project required using a large (4- by 2-metre) flat screen; however, using rear projection also requires at least 5000 lumen brightness as well as the ability to work in a multi-window environment. With 6000 lumens, Christie’s Mirage HD6 easily met the first prerequisite. Featuring three DLP® chips, this stereoscopic 3D projector also delivers native FullHD (1920 by 1080) resolution, with active stereo capability and wide field of vision. “The 3-chip DLP technology provides top-range visual quality,” said Johan Besnainou, sales manager for ANTYCIP Simulation. “In addition to this technology, the Christie Mirage HD6 has many strengths in terms of colour gamut, resolution and brightness, making it the industry standard for active stereoscopy. This stable, complete, all-in-one projector delivers flawless 3D rendering. This is why we have decided to select this product for integration in our packaged offering. Olivier Collet, Sales Engineer in charge of the French market fixed systems, said: “We are delighted that our 3D stereoscopic projection solution meets the complex needs of such a renowned university as URCA. This shows once again our capability to innovate further and further; with this solution, we have paved the way for a fantastic world of visual communication possibilities.
About University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
Although with old roots, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA) has been existing in its current form for less than thirty years. One of the most important European universities of the Middle Ages, the original Reims University was established in 1548 by papal bull on the initiative of Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine. After being shut down in 1793 during the French Revolution, the University almost totally disappeared for one century and a half, until it emerged again in the 1960s as URCA. The only multidisciplinary university in the Champagne-Ardenne region is today located in the main cities of the area, including Reims, Troyes, Charleville-Mezières and Châlons-en-Champagne, with over 21,000 students. For more information, visit www.univ-reims.fr.