Spherical Display Prototype

(supervisor: Tom Knight)

Nature of project: experimental, software

Available to full-time physicists or joint students.

Project description and methodology

Much of the data that we, as physicists, accumulate has to be viewed after it has been projected into 2D. However, some loss of information must occur as a function of these projections in the form of unwanted distortion. This project proposes to construct a spherical surface as a display for the appropriate information. For example, the Cosmic Microwave Background, star-maps, Earths surface maps, spherical wave function solutions, etc.

The prototype would combine a projector and fish-eye lens to cast the projected image onto the interior surface of a spherical glass surface. The student would be required to develop the prototype and develop software to map coordinates onto the display surface for calibration.

A successful project will develop beyond the above in one/some of the following directions:
The project can be taken further by passing real-world data into the software and rendering it to the spherical display.

When considering where to take your project, please bear in mind the time available. It is preferable to do fewer things well than to try many and not get conclusive results on any of them. However, sometimes it is useful to have a couple of strands of investigation in parallel to work on in case delays occur.

Additional scope or challenge if taken as a Year-4 project: In addition to the expectation of rendering real-world data, students would have to approach the challenge of quantifying the performance of the display.

Initial literature for students:

  1. http://eclecti.cc/computergraphics/snow-globe-part-one-cheap-diy-spherical-projection
  2. https://www.pygame.org
  3. https://matplotlib.org/
  4. MP26020 Mathematical Physics

Novelty, degree of difficulty and amount of assistance required

Particularly novel application. Difficulty proportional to the extent of application (particularly the software elements). Additional assistance available for component housing prototyping.

Project milestones and deliverables (including timescale)

milestoneto be completed by
Familiarity with python and external librariesend of November
Components setup constructedChristmas
Grid projected into Displayend of February
Simple application to real dataEaster

Students taking this project will have to submit a full risk assessment form