iDome gallery

Written by Paul Bourke

The following provides specifications, example applications, and general potographs and information related to the iDome .... a personal hemispherical dome environment. While the iDome can use a fisheye lens on a data projector, the projection system used below is based upon the spherical mirror, an innovation by the author.

Mac OS-X

Panodome: Spherical image courtesy of Giorgio Marchetto (Interno chiesa di Posina)

Panodome: Spherical image courtesy of Giorgio Marchetto (Laghetto Main dalla chiusa)

Karratha - Iron ore ship loader

Karratha - Iron ore ship loader

Inside the Earth with land removed

ASTC 2007 - Fulldome Geometry series #1

ASTC 2006 -6dF galaxy survey

Molecule from Crystal Explorer, courtesy of Joshua McKinnon

Molecular simulations from VMD

Sarah Kenderdine, Museum Victoria

Mawsons hut, Peter Morse

Mawsons hut, Peter Morse

Sarah Kenderdine, Museum Victoria

Sarah Kenderdine, Museum Victoria



International Space Station

International Space Station

Virtual environment for jogging

Earlier images from a lower resolution projector

Written by Paul Bourke
April 2006

"Standard" truncated dome

Projector located behind hole at the base of the dome

Calibration test pattern - polar grid

Movie playback: VIP courtesy of Isabella Buczek and Bob Weber

Movie playback: Moonlight courtesy of Andrew Quinn

Interactive panoramic, courtesy of Peter Murphy

Background microwave radiation visualisation

Plane of the MilkyWay galaxy

Fisheye from Hampi, courtesy of Sarah Kenderdine

Quest3D by John McCormick


First orientation for the spherical mirror projection in an upright dome

Written by Paul Bourke
May 2005


The following illustrates a modified version of my spherical projection for planetarium domes for an upright dome. In this case a truncated dome, a common arrangement when using a fisheye lens and a standard data projector. The projector here points towards the floor where the spherical mirror is positioned. Partial or almost complete dome projection can be achieved.

Dome geometry

Simulation (derives warping mesh)

The images to be projected are fisheye and are warped (using textures applied to a mesh in OpenGL). The only trick then is to derive the texture coordinates, this is achieved by writing a simulator that replicates the optical geometry of the physical system. Rays are traced through points on the image plane, they are reflected by the mirror and the intersection on the dome determined. Using this information the (u,v) texture coordinates for the point on the image plane can be calculated.

Projected image
Resulting image on the dome, dimensions based upon Visiondome3
[Click on image for a larger view]
Regular grid

Polar grid test pattern

Less coverage (better pixel efficiency)

More coverage (poorer pixel efficiency)

Brightness correction

Real demonstration

The following show the system in operation on a 3m diameter fibreglass dome. The application is called "panodome" and allows a panoramic, cubic, or spherical map to be interactively navigated, the fisheye and warping is computed in real time on the laptop shown (Mac OS-X).

Dome/projector/mirror geometry

Panorama courtesy of Greg Downing

Astronomy example: view of the milky way

Optimal mirror shape

As can be seen by the simulations and photos above, the mirror doesn't reflect light onto the whole dome surface and only a limited area of the projected image is used. One might ask whether there is an optimal mirror shape that both fills the dome and uses as many pixels as possible. As a simpler problem (considered because of the simpler fabrication) is to consider an oblate spherical surface. In the following a raytracing program is used to capture the image on the oblate mirror, the dome is created as a longitude/latitude frame, the camera (red cone) is located where the projector would normally be mounted and camera frustum is arranged to match the projector frustum.

The parameters are carefully chosen to full the dome and maximise the area on the mirror. The image as seen with the camera is shown below. From symmetry if the following image is projected it will fill the dome as shown above.

iDome using 4 projectors

Written by Paul Bourke
August 2010

The iDome was initial created using a fisheye lens (iCinema, UNSW) and then mostly used a spherical mirror projection. The following illustrates how multiple projectors may be used. One constraint was to limit the number of projectors to 4, this is because 4 projectors can be reasonably driven from a single computer thus avoiding the complications when one moves to a cluster. In the following two cases a 4x3 aspect projector is imagined (eg: SXGA+ [1400x1050]) and the lens employed is a 1:1 throw (distance to width).

Asymmetric configuration

Symmetric configuration