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EVAC: a virtual environment for control of remote imaging instrumentation

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8 Author(s)
Potter, C. ; Beckman Inst. for Adv. Sci. & Technol., Illinois Univ., Urbana, IL, USA ; Brady, R. ; Moran, P. ; Gregory, C.
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The objective of this project, called the Experimentalist's Virtual Acquisition Console (EVAC), was to demonstrate a prototype system for using virtual environments that would allow a researcher access the hardware in a remote experimental laboratory over high-speed networks, in order to control remote instrumentation. We wanted to give the researcher tools that would not only allow for complete control of the imaging system but also provide the potential for collaboration with researchers at distant sites. We targeted three imaging instruments, all located at the Beckman Institute for Advanced and Technology: a magnetic resonance imaging system, a transmission electron microscope and a scanning tunneling microscope. Our goal was not to control all three instruments simultaneously but rather to demonstrate that our unified virtual environment interface could be adapted to these widely different imaging devices. In building this demonstration, we faced many problems commonly encountered in developing a remote interface to a new instrument. These included the lack of any standard interface to the devices, the necessity of dealing with proprietary software, and the problem of developing a distributed model so that the instruments could be controlled over the network. The EVAC project has illustrated the potential of a virtual laboratory over a high-speed network

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 4 )