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Chinese University Pioneers Theater-Sized, Advanced Visualization
Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Chinese University Pioneers Theater-Sized, Advanced Visualization
HUST Installation Helps Government and Administrators with Research and Collaboration

Cypress, Calif.  – (July 5, 2011) – Christie® has taken the global dimension of its higher education solutions to the next level with the deployment of an innovative ‘teaching’ theater at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China. Under the direction of HUST, Christie and its local partner – Chess Computers – installed the technologically-advanced Visdec Electronic Decision Theater at the university with a 240-degree, floor-to-ceiling curved advanced visualization display. It is the largest such installation in China and one of the biggest in the world.


By displaying graphical and text content from separate sources simultaneously, it is helping university, government and business representatives who use the facility make better decisions for a range of programs, including urban planning. The initial concept was based on the Decision Theater at Arizona State University (ASU) but the China initiative took a different path on the technology infrastructure, products used and overall size.

“The system is sponsored by HUST, Public Management College of HUST, the Federal Ministry of Education, and HUST alumni,” explained Madam Wang, chief project architect and manager, Decision Theater. “The purpose of the system is to assist public management decision-making. The 3D capability of the system is to be used on urban planning and urban development. For a fast-developing country like China, it is critical to solve urban development and planning issues with advanced technology. Our theater will help the decision makers to analyze, modify and improve upon their strategies, designs, plans and decisions.

“Our thinking was to achieve the following: We want what others don’t have; what others have, ours must be better. That was our strategy,” said Madam Wang.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology is ranked in the top ten universities in China. Founded in 2000 by the merger of four post-secondary institutes:  Huazhong Technical University, Tongji Medical University, Wuhan Urban Construction College and Wuhan Technological Leadership College, the facility emphasizes scientific and technological innovation. Officials wanted to construct a first-rate platform for scientific and technological innovation, and to enhance the competitiveness of scientific research. 

Technically-Challenging Project is State-of-the-Art

A technically challenging project, the Visdec Electronic Decision Theater utilizes Christie’s integration expertise to create a seamless, high resolution “think tank” display with advanced visualization capabilities for enhanced decision-making, process analysis and team collaboration. The display incorporates advanced computational power and a sophisticated rear projection display with eight warped and blended Christie Mirage HD6 projectors and Christie Spyder X20 video processing.

The eight projectors are mirror-bounced and rear-projected to create one of the largest curved screen displays of this magnitude in China or elsewhere. The screen, of semi-rigid material, is close to 60 feet wide, over 8 feet high, and all one piece.

The system boasts a conference theater design with a seamless, rear-projected image that can operate in stereo or non-stereo mode. The theater is spacious and offers a vast display area for singular applications, or the option to run multiple applications on separate areas of the display canvas to operate in collaboration on the screen. From the beginning, HUST officials made it clear that they saw enormous value in building the Decision Theater and in collaborating with ASU and other international institutions on joint projects related to everything from energy and the environment to urban planning and public health. 

With rear-projection, the projectors are installed behind the screen, eliminating shadow effects and decreasing operational noise so users can concentrate on the display. Capable of both 2D and 3D viewing, the display provides excellent image quality and impressive off-axis viewing. The project blended North American design with integration and installation support through Christie’s local China office. The project offered a break-through opportunity in China for both Christie and Chess Computers.

“Christie’s solution was well-prepared. The attitude and effort that Christie showed, in addition to the product and solution quality really impressed both the customer and us. The decision to go with Christie was easy,” states Joe Zhang, general manager of Chess Computers, Shanghai. “The use of the Christie Spyder X20 in the HUST system is very critical. It enabled the capability that HUST required for the 8-channel stereo sync.”

Added Madam Wang, “The advantages of the Christie design are the size, the curvature, the height, and the radius. Viewers can sit in and get the best viewing experience.”

The design and installation process was a huge undertaking. The building where the HUST Theater is located hadn’t been completely constructed and modifications were ongoing at the time of installation. The concept design for the projector locations and mounting had to be revised as the room was built.

For now, the focus is using the Decision Theater to assist government in making scientific and analytical decisions. But it will also give the institution the competitive advantage in such areas as water management, pollution control, disaster management and public safety.