Siggraph 2007: Arc Science’s man-sized globe of light

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

San Diego (CA) – We’ve all seen paper and metal globes in schools and libraries, but Loveland, Colorado-based Arc Science has them all beat with its man-sized OmniGlobe.  Starting at a cool $50,000 the OmniGlobe displays pictures and video with internal projectors.  Check out our video for a look at this amazing ball of light.

Brad Moorman, Arc Science’s Director of Sales and Marketing, told us the free-standing globe comes in 32 and 64-inch diameter sizes.  One to two projectors shine inside the globe and the image hits a convex mirror on the top, which reflects the picture around the inside of the ball.  The larger two projector models shine one half of the image on each half of the sphere.

Speaking of CPUs, the OmniGlobe is powered by a Shuttle computer housed in the base.  Nvidia cards provide the graphic power, but Moorman told us that their stitching software relies mostly on raw CPU power to blend the two halves of the image.  Images and video projected on the globe can be rotated around the sphere, giving the illusion that the whole thing is physically spinning.

Arc Science sells their OmniGlobe’s for $50 to $120 thousand dollars.  The company also sells a half-sphere for wall mounting.  So far museums, planetariums, and aerospace contractors have been the main buyers of the expensive OmniGlobe.