Sometimes a mess of data is just a mess of data. But sometimes, as Dr. Suresh Bhavnani discovered, it is an opportunity for a new type of visualization. Ted Hall, advanced visualization specialist at the University of Michigan’s 3D Lab, set up an immersive stereoscopic projection of Bhavnani’s data in the MIDEN (Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus), a small room that surrounds the user with 3D images. An antenna headset and a game console controller give Bhavnani a position in space relative to his data, from which he can virtually navigate the web of relationships between genes and diseases. This allowed him to see new patterns and identify unexpected regularities in gene function that are very difficult to untangle in 2D.
By Josephine Keenan and Ted Hall