Seeing the Big Picture of Data

Create: 01/03/2018 - 17:03
CineMassive Stanford HIVE

Photo: Stanford University

Stanford University has built a digital video wall like no other. With support from SAP, the university created the HANA Immersive Visualization Environment (HIVE) system. It was set up to accommodate Stanford’s cluster of 30 Linux-based PCs and to allow researchers working at different work stations to push content to the wall. With this impressive video tool, researchers can see, study and solve problems in every realm of knowledge, from biology to cosmology and from engineering to art.

The interactive wall, which is open free of charge to all Stanford University students and professors, features a 10 ft. by 24 ft. wide display, with a 13440 x 5400 resolution. It contains 72 million total active pixels.

Finding the Right Video Solutions Partner

In exploring who would be best to implement the technology for the video wall system, Stanford reviewed several options. The university decided upon CineMassive, a solution provider headquartered in Atlanta, GA, that configures video wall solutions to support critical U.S. military operations. CineMassive created a video display and big data solution tailored to the needs of Stanford University’s extensive list of research programs.

Stanford HIVE CineMassive

Photo: Stanford University

CineMassive provided a curved CineView LCD video wall composed of a 7x 5 array of 55″ displays. A multi-HD display canvas was created with the help of an additional column of displays within the CineView structure, fully accommodating the cluster of Linux PCs. Within the HIVE, the viewer feels as if they are in a small move theater. The only difference—rather than having one screen displaying a single image—is that the system has multiple screens that can each be programmed to display different images adjacent to one another.

From Cardiology to Art to Explosives

The university is using the HIVE for a variety of projects, including:

  • A simulation of the formation of the early cosmos, created by the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • The Stanford Virtual Heart, an immersive and interactive virtual reality experience focused on congenital heart disease
  • Detailed, 360-degree views of Michelangelo's sculpture of David, created by Marc Levoy, the VMware Founders Professor of Computer Science and of Electrical Engineering
  • A simulation of the structural damage inflicted when an improvised explosive device explodes under an armored personnel carrier, a presentation narrated by Charbel Farhat, who is the Vivian Church Hoff Professor in Aircraft Structures at Stanford and the director of AHPCRC

Margot Gerritsen, director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME) and associate professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford, described the necessity for the video wall system in a recent statement.

“Researchers are creating tremendous amounts of data through computations, simulations, measurements, sensor readings and so forth," Gerritsen said. "A laptop screen doesn't do that justice. We have to have a way to visualize data in ways that allow us to see the big picture and also zoom in on the detail.”

With the help of the CineMassive video wall technology, Stanford researchers have a tool that gives them the ability to collaborate with ease and explore new innovations at previously unheard-of-levels of clarity. They have given the adage of “seeing is believing” an IoT-forward spin, to seeing is understanding.

Discover Collaborative Visualization Technology

  • Check out the current research and demos at Stanford HIVE.
  • Learn the basics of CineMassive’s video wall systems and explore its library of visualization technology resources.

About Author

Melanie McMullen
Melanie is an expert technology writer who specializes in covering the IoT, cloud, mobile computing, and emerging technology markets. Melanie has held top editorial and content development positions at, Internet Business magazine, and LAN Magazine. She has written hundreds of global business technology articles and blogs and co-authored The Standard for Internet Commerce.

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