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Development of a VR application for the visualization and navigation of astronomical data

Davide Trenti

Development of a VR application for the visualization and navigation of astronomical data.

Rel. Andrea Giuseppe Bottino. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Informatica (Computer Engineering), 2018

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The purpose of this work is to follow the development of an application that allows realistic and precise visualization of astronomical catalogs in a virtual, navigable and interactable 3D environment.The software was built with the help of ALTEC SPA - an aerospace logistics company - and the game engine Unity3D that, despite its precision and performance limitations, offers greater simplicity, updatability and stability than a self-produced graphic engine.This application could be useful for astronomers to visualize data obtained by roaming satellites - like Hipparcos or Gaia - in order to infer new information and characteristics of celestial bodies, just by analyzing their position and parameters. It can also be used as an educational virtual reality experience for everyone, by showing information about each astronomical object you can travel to. For this reasons, the application must be as much precise and realistic as simple and accessible.Hundreds of thousands of astronomical objects are contained inside the Hipparcos catalogue alone. Being stars, these objects are relatively very small and distant from each other. The Unity3D engine is not suitable to handle navigation in a galactic scale environment in a precise and reliable way, due to the limitations of the API and data types it offers. It is therefore necessary to find a way around these limitations in order to meet the requirements.This software's entire architecture is based on the concept of the scaled space technique, combined with the floating origin technique and a data type with arbitrary precision. Together, these techniques allowed to overcome the issues that arose with the use of Unity3D engine. These techniques will be described in depth in this work, along with how they were implemented whitin the visualization, navigation and interaction system of the application.

Relators: Andrea Giuseppe Bottino
Academic year: 2017/18
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 33
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Informatica (Computer Engineering)
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-32 - COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: Altec Spa
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/8000
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