The DOME has been a part of the campus since 2010. It was created to assist in the evolution of informed, educated, and digitally-enabled storytellers so that they can actively maintain, represent, and fortify Native arts and culture for future generations. During that time, the DOME has become an inspiring space for many artists to stretch from immersive spherical film production to interactive immersive storytelling. The IAIA courses ensure that IAIA students will learn how to leverage the power of this technology for their Native communities in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms. IAIA is also presently developing a minor program in computer programming called "Programming for the Arts." It provides an opportunity for students to think critically and learn about the machines and mediums that they use on a daily basis and learn how to utilize computers creatively to make digital art.
In 2016, IAIA received a one-year grant of $499,980 from the Department of Defense (DoD) to update and augment the DOME's existing equipment. The new equipment includes high resolution projectors and speakers, computers, immersive 360 VR simulation and theater equipment, to create a spatially accurate three-dimensional sound system and an immersive high resolution 4k display system. The DOME enhances IAIA's capacity to deliver cutting edge technology training, enhance STEM components of IAIA's liberal arts curriculum, and support students' application of their creative capabilities into high-technology STEM fields
in a state-of-the-art environment.
This equipment also supports a
project, entitled "Interactivity and Simulation in Immersive Virtual Environments," that builds on prior successful research, to deliver interactive immersive displays. The primary research objective is the development of simulation and real-time interactivity for immersive technology through the use of gestural interfaces and sensors. Fulldome projection and interactivity have been extended to arbitrary display surfaces and head-mounted displays.
Wireless motion capture suits, depth sensors, biofeedback instrumentation, and other interactive components will aid in the use of immersive natural user interfaces. 360º video/audio recording technology has been integrated into a flexible immersive production pipeline for both students and researchers with RED 5k and 8k video cameras for high resolution fisheye video capture.
During the initial phase, expansion was made to the immersive 15.1 sound system with a spatialized ambisonic-based 24.4 professional Genelec immersive sound system. This gives the IAIA Immersive Laboratory a 39.4 3D audio system. The DOME now contains five new Barco F50 WQXGA VizSim (2560x1600 Resolution) projectors that deliver a 4k dome projection. Projectors are also able to do 3D video projection.
The DOME is in a Black Box; a 41'W x 41'W x 31'H theater, and the DOME itself is 24'W x 12'H. Throughout the semester the DOME hosts live performances, immersive experiences, and immersive films and music, with live visuals programmed by a VJ.
Recently installed, is a VR studio with HTC Vive headset, controllers and motion sensors for a total immersive simulation for students and researchers to try out their immersive experiences, as well as Playstation gaming setups. A Meta Motion GS-Cobra Wireless Suit and 13-sensor Gloves motion capture system lets users capture movement and control interactivity in the Digital Dome. Interactivity and simulation can also be controlled with XboxOne Kinect sensors and HTC Vive sensors and controllers.
The new sound system includes a RME Madiface Pro 24 bit 128 Channel, with RME M-32 DA/AD for 32 channel high resolution 3D audio. The system also includes Ircam SPAT ambisonic software and uses Splash playback software from SAT in Montreal Canada.
The DOME's audio recording system includes a variety of Shure and Sennheiser microphones with the Sennheiser Ambeo ambisonic microphone and the 8 channel ambisonic Zoom F8 recorder/mixer.
The audio editing tools and devices in this system includes Avid Pro Tools, Reaper DAW, Adobe Audition, Lodgic Pro, Ableton Live 9 Push II, Max/MSP, Super Collider, MOTU Mach Five digital sampler, Waves DSP Plugins, Mixstudio, SPAT Revolution, and a for performance a JBL Powered 15" Two-Way PA System with Tascam DM-3200 live mixer.
Video, image, and interactivity software includes Unity, Autodesk Maya, Max/MSP, Touch OSC Editor, Red Giant Trapcode, Red Giant Effects Suite, Photoscan photogrammetry software and Adobe Master Suite.
Video cameras and lenses for DOME productions include: RED EPIC-W 8K S35 and Scarlet Dragon 5k video cameras, Canon EF 8-15mm Fisheye lens, Canon Zoom lenses 16-35mm and 24-70mm, Canon Cinema Prime EF 6 Lens Kit, Sunex fisheye lens, CINEGEARS Single-Axis Wireless Follow Focus Express, several Canon EOS Digital Rebel T5 and 360FLY 4K Video Cameras.
The computers that drive the DOME are: Mac Pro 12-Core with 2.7Ghz, 64GB, 1TB Flash HD with Dual AMD Firepro D700, a Custom Intel Broadwell-E Core i7 Quadra PC Workstation; a Rackmount GTX 1080TI VR workstation, and an i7 7700k 1080TI custom desktop VR enabled computer.
Additional DOME specs include Sky-Skan DigitalSky planetarium software. The development of a unique interactive Virtual Museum environment for the IAIA Museum Collection is in progress, and will be publicly available in 2018.
The DOME and its Immersive Virtual Environment are just some of the assets that insure that IAIA is a school that provides world-class arts and technology education for Native and non-Native students from around the world.
Recently the DOME hosted Artist-in-Residence Zack Settel, of SAT/Montreal University, Montreal, who worked in the Immersive Laboratory in the IAIA Digital Dome in early November of this year. The Immersive Laboratory will be executing collaborations with universities, professionals, and interactive video/audio researchers world-wide in the upcoming months.
During his residency, Settel presented his work to IAIA students and the digital arts communities of Santa Fe and New Mexico, as part of the IAIA Artist in Residence Series, specializing in interactive immersive art forms. He presented seminars on artistic approaches and methods, along with techniques, such as real-time audio rendering for high definition audio systems.
At the end of his residency, Settel had this to say: "Having just finished a two-week residency in the Digital Dome at IAIA, I wanted to express my gratitude to IAIA for having had the chance to work in such a professional and well-equipped facility. The number of digital domes in the world that can host artistic residencies is small, and of those facilities, there are even fewer that are equipped to deal with high-end periphonic (multidirectional) audio. Coming from a music background, my experiences working in the dome with a top quality audio pipeline were unparalleled...As much can be said as well for the graphics pipeline. Clearly, the dome's design and technical deployment have been well informed by the needs of pioneering artists working with real-time 3D immersive audiovisual rendering systems. Thanks to IAIA's flexible and effective scheduling of the residency, I was able to work for hours on end, with a level of focus and application that is rare. In short, IAIA's digital dome, community and staff offer a unique blend of "top-end" and "chill" - very hard to find in other facilities, yet so essential to the creative process. Many thanks IAIA."
The next Artist-in-Residence that will be developing an immersive experience at IAIA will be David Stout from University of Texas. He will be in residence in the IAIA Digital Dome in March 2018.