In Minority Report, Tom Cruise plays a detective who steps into an immersive computer environment to solve crimes. The ‘data CAVE’ (Configurable Automatic Virtual Environment) brings together information from disparate souces, making it easier to see patterns and spot potential criminals.
For example, “If you were a chemist, you could walk right up to this display and move molecules and atoms around to see how the changes would affect a formulation or a material’s properties,” said James Caruthers from Purdue.
Such a system could enable scientists to deal better with the recent explosion of data now available to them.
The new approach proposed by Purdue researchers is called “discovery informatics” and would allow researchers to test out new theories and see how their ideas work in real-time using a 3D display.