An Immersive Virtual Environment for Special Relativity

In this paper, an immersive virtual environment is presented which allows the user to virtually explore and experience special relativity, including phenomena such as Lorentz contraction, time dilation, aberration, and finite speed of light. The relativistic-vehicle-control metaphor - a physically based camera control technique - is introduced for navigating at high velocities. Acceleration of the relativistic observer is investigated. Furthermore, tracking of both the position and velocity of the user is considered. A geometric approach to relativistic polygon rendering is described. The rendering pipeline is extended to accomplish the relativistic transformations in parallel. The implementation supports multiprocessor and multipipe systems for fast rendering and the same frame rates can be achieved for relativistic visualization as for non-relativistic rendering.