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9/30/2010
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Google Releases Plans For DIY Surround Video Booth

Immersive video structures known as Liquid Galaxies can now be built by anyone with the necessary materials and technical skills.

Google on Thursday said that it has open-sourced its work on its Liquid Galaxy video immersion installations and made the necessary Linux scripts and mechanical designs available so that anyone can build one.

Google's Liquid Galaxy consists of eight 55-inch LCD screens arranged within a semi-circular booth for the purpose of creating a surround video environment.

The company often builds Liquid Galaxy booths at events it attends or hosts, such as the Google IO developer conference in May, to show off an immersive version of Google Earth. There's currently a Liquid Galaxy at the Tech Museum in San Jose, Calif.

Google engineer Jason Holt acknowledges that building one's own Liquid Galaxy isn't a trivial task. "Not everyone will have the know-how to network computers together and get view synchronization working," he wrote in a blog post, "but we tried to make it as easy as possible."

Those disinclined to create their own custom frames from Google's mechanical design specifications have the option of contacting Google's materials supplier, End Point, instead.

Reference materials posted on Google Code say that in addition to running Google Earth, Liquid Galaxies can also be used for video games, such as open-source first-person shooter Cube 2: Sauerbraten.

Liquid Galaxies are the result of a 20% time project: Google encourages its engineers to devote 20% of their time to projects of personal interest to them outside the scope of their job responsibilities.

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