Tech Briefs

Multiple users can view and interact with information from multiple sources.

The Interactive DataWall (IDW) is a computer-driven, high-definition display, large enough to be visible simultaneously to multiple observers, that presents information from multiple sources and exploits advanced techniques of human/computer interaction and data fusion. The IDW originally was intended for collaborative use by a group of Air Force decision-makers who must consider large amounts of dynamic information (e.g., information pertinent to targeting during battle). Sources of displayed and otherwise utilized information can include sensors on terrestrial vehicles, sensors aboard satellites, databases, and video feeds from remote locations.

The Interactive DataWall provides a large, nearly seamless display of information from multiple sources. Multiple collaborating users can interact with the displayed information.

The IDW has progressed through several evolutionary versions and continues to undergo development in the Advanced Displays and Intelligent Interfaces program of the Air Force Research Laboratory. In its present form (see figure), it includes three liquid-crystal- display-based video projectors, each having a resolution of 1,280 x 1,024 pixels. These projectors are mounted side by side to form a nearly seamless single image of 3,840 x 1,024 pixels in a screen 12 ft. wide by 33 ft. high. The resulting single composite or mosaic display can be regarded as an extended desktopcomputer display.

The development of the IDW has involved utilization of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software, leveraged by the use of custom hardware and software as needed. In every evolutionary version thus far, the IDW display has been driven by a single central computer system configured with either multiple graphics cards or multi-output graphics cards. Each graphics-card output constitutes a highresolution source for each tile of the display. Windows can be repositioned and resized anywhere on the display. Windows that originate from multiple sources can be projected across boundaries between projectors. Windows can be maximized to fill the entire display. Many application windows can be run simultaneously on the DataWall computer; windows of current interest can be displayed in the foreground, in background, or minimized for rapid accessibility when needed.