This paper prepared for ITS 2001
In 1915, N.A. Cobb had a vision of nematodes:
The Virtual Nematode uses 3-D animations and virtual reality environments as visual teaching aids for several concepts in plant parasitic nematology. The end product is intended to supplement a lecture. Visualization may enhance a viewer's perception and retention of the information presented. This may be particularly important in teaching scientific or technical material containing complex concepts. Current and future advances in information technology provide unique opportunities for innovative teaching approaches.
A Nematode’s Perspective
The Virtual Agroecosystem
The Virtual Agroecosystem is an ongoing project to create virtual reality (VR) worlds for the visualization of agroecosystem concepts and processes, particularly those related to plant pathology and weed science. The Virtual Agroecosystem is a 3-D model based on a working farm in eastern Virginia. Once completed, the farm will be explored in real-time and hyperlinks lead the user to more detailed virtual worlds for specific topics. For example, navigating down a stairway that leads into the soil profile causes a new scene to appear that illustrates weed seed distribution for different tillage regimes. Here is a Flash version of weed seed distributions. For the Virtual Nematode, a patch of symptomatic plants will link to a nematode scene. The VR worlds are experienced in a VR environment such as the CAVETM technology at Virginia Tech or VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) for the world wide web. The Virtual Nematode is the latest addition to the Virtual Agroecosystem. Other Virtual Agroecosystem scenes include
* flt = OpenFlight format for VR
Creation of 3-D Models and Animations
3-dimensional models and animations were created on a desktop computer using 3-D Studio Max® software from Kinetix. This powerful software allows the user to create 3-D geometry, manipulate it's form and texture, modify the objects in numerous ways, and then animate the scene. The possibilities are limited only by one's imagination, experience, and knowledge of the tools in the design environment. Finally, the scene can be rendered or exported as various formats, including still images (e.g. jpg, gif), animations (e.g. mov, avi), and virtual worlds (e.g. wrl, iv). Additional software used includes Adobe Photoshop for design of textures for 3-D objects and Adobe Premiere for video editing.
I have attempted to balance the level of realism with a cartoon-like simplicity in these visualizations. However, there is no substitute for reality. Constructive comments are always welcome.