Dazzled By Science: 3D System Takes You There

CHICAGO (February 20, 2013)--Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have created a real-life holodeck that allows astronomers to fly over the surface of Mars and "Star Trek" fans to walk around a life-size recreation of the Starship Enterprise.

The system, called CAVE2, has an 8-foot-high screen that wraps around the viewer 320 degrees.

A panorama of images gives a dizzying sense of being able to touch what's not really there.

The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy in the United States.

CAVE2's co-inventor Jason Leigh said the system could change the way surgeons are trained and improve patient care.

It could be used to model global weather systems and the way new drugs bind to proteins in the human body.

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