Sciencefest Exhibits At SALA Event Center Saturday July 8: VR and Immersive Experience

Simtable demonstration. Courtesy/SALA

Fusion Reactor – SciVista. Courtesy/SALA

SALA News:

Los Alamos Sciencefest Discovery Day is back Saturday, July 8, and SALA Event Center will be collaborating with regional artists and technology companies to present multiple exhibits at SALA titled “Enter the World of Immersive Experience”.

The exhibits will be located inside SALA, a short walk from Fuller Lodge and Ashley Pond. Come in, cool off, and experience this unique opportunity to explore the possibilities of VR and immersive technology. Admission is free. Visitors to the exhibits will be able to register for a drawing for free movie passes.

The digital age has brought remarkable advancements in the realms of data visualization and virtual reality and the exhibits at SALA will provide festival-goers the opportunity to experience multiple short, interactive demonstrations:

  • SciVista will demonstrate technology that is poised to redefine how people interact with complex information in virtual reality. Their demo will take you inside a fusion reactor in virtual reality. Their VR platform, SummitVR™ is designed to integrate three-dimensional data into virtual reality, and is being used by National Labs, Universities, Engineers, and other large industries for collaborative, immersive, and interactive data visualization. 
  • In the face of increasing wildfires, a novel technology has emerged that leverages the power of visualization, simulations, and data analysis to strategize fire management. SimTable will demonstrate 3D interactive simulations used by firefighters and resource managers. Not only do the simulations rely on official data resources, but they also tap into the data provided by regular citizens from imagery, GPS, and other data from cell phones. Simtable has been used to model the spread of the COVID-19 virus, simulate evacuation scenarios for large events, and in military applications.
  • Francesca Samsel, Visualization Researcher with the Texas Advanced Computing Center(ATAC), and her husband Greg Abram, also of ATAC will use an Oculus headset to demonstrate a VR modeling and visualization of marine macroalgae biofuels research performed by LANL scientist Phillip Wolfram. Francesca is a guest scientist at LANL working with climate modeling and research teams helping them understand, humanize and communicate their science. Her work to assist scientists is driven by their need to see greater detail and interdependent relationships within the ever-expanding massive data sets they produce.
  • A series of short films focused on virtual reality technology and scientific visualization will be playing continuously in one of SALA’s theaters. The films include short explanations of technology concepts and will also feature visualizations of climate change science being performed at LANL and other National Laboratories.

“We are excited to partner with SimTable, SciVista, and Francesca Samsel to bring these demonstrations and experiences to Sciencefest Discovery Day,” SALA owner Allan Saenz said. “These exhibits are a great way for people of all ages to learn about powerful technologies in a fun and engaging way. We also plan to demonstrate our new LUMOplay system, a device that gives SALA the ability to create and display interactive digital content including educational games.”

Sciencefest Discovery Day is a free event that features hands-on activities, demonstrations, and exhibits for all ages. The exhibits at SALA will be held from 9 am to 2 pm. SALA’s regular movie schedule begins at 3 p.m. For more information, visit 

Sciencefest Discovery Day Exhibitor Profile:  Francesca Samsel 

Focusing on multidisciplinary collaboration, Francesca Samsel is an artist who collaborates with environmental scientists, and scientific visualization research teams to apply an artistic voice and language to the science that underpins understanding climate change.  Francesca, a Visualization Researcher with the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and guest scientist at LANL will be demonstrating an immersive, 3D model of bio-geo-chemistry in the Gulf of Mexico.

Across the Department of Energy National Laboratories, she works with scientists and their data,  applying her artistic training to visually reveal greater detail within their data. Her work has been presented in museums, planetariums, and informal spaces to enable the general public access to these complex climate models and at scientific conferences such as ACM, IEEE, and AGU.

Francesca is a member of the Sculpting Vis Collaborative – a multidisciplinary, cross-institutional team of artists, designers, and scientists creating new methods for visualizing important issues in climate, computing, neurology, archeology, biology that improve public-facing communication and understanding.  Her collaborators in Los Alamos have included John Patchett, James Ahrens, Mark Peterson, Wilbert Weijer, Galen Gisler, and Linda Deck. Learn more about Francesca’s work at

Francesca and her husband Greg Abram, also a TACC researcher maintain a residence and spend summers in Los Alamos to support work with LANL. Francesca is exploring the potential of SALA’s planned immersive experience theater to serve as an immersive studio space, exhibit her work, and provide a venue for educational activities in the realms of scientific visualization, virtual reality, and immersive experience.

Sciencefest Discovery Day Exhibitor Profile: Stephen Guerin, Simtable and RedfishGroup

Mathematician, Cryptographer, Theoretical Computer Scientist, Game-Theorist, AI Researcher, and entrepreneur Stephen Guerin is the Founder and CEO of Santa Fe companies Simtable and RedfishGroup. Stephen will be demonstrating a variation of a Simtable – an interactive simulation projected onto a 3D sand table. Named one of Time Magazine’s top 5 inventions in 2011 (along with Apple’s Siri) Simtable uses RedfishGroup’s AnySurface software platform for making all surfaces in a space interactive via coupled projector/camera systems.

Stephen’s mission is to enable collective intelligence in real-world systems and he believes that northern New Mexico can emerge as an international hub of decentralized collective intelligence design. Redfish’s new product in development is, a platform facilitating the real-time integration of information and imagery from public and citizen sources into useful geographic visualizations and models. These visualizations can facilitate broad community understanding and participation in managing and making decisions about the complex earth and social systems we are all a part of every day. Stephen is exploring the idea of using SALA’s planned immersive experience theater as a potential venue for a “community decision theater” – a place to bring together citizens, scientists, professionals, resource managers, and policymakers to collectively understand and explore solutions to complex community problems.

Sciencefest Discovery Day Exhibitor Profile: Thomas Vause, SciVista

Digital Designer and Marketer Thomas Vause of SciVista will demonstrate the Santa Fe company’s, Virtual Reality (VR) platform, SummitVR™, using a model of a fusion reactor and simulated plasma data.  SciVista is a data visualization company with many years of experience designing, developing, and consulting for the VR industry. SummitVR™, is being used by National Labs, Universities, Engineers, and other large industries for collaborative, immersive, and interactive data visualization. Their approach uses VR to bring the ’unseeable’ into focus, and immerse users within the data. Custom environments ranging from Outer Space to the ITER Fusion Reactor (FR) have been imagined with the SummitVR™ platform. Learn more about SciVista at

In addition to being a part of the team that developed the SciVista product, Thomas has developed two XR  apps – FWLT and Talking Tintypes with his other company, Digital Ant Media. His background includes building custom light shows and other interactive works as a musician and visual artist. He is working actively on his belief that VR will become the new way to present interactive media and communicate with others. SALA believes that their planned immersive experience theater will become a useful venue for SciVista research and marketing work, and anticipates engaging Thomas in discussion of the educational potential of the venue.

Immersive data visualization – Francesca Samsel. Courtesy/SALA

Immersive data visualization – Francesca Samsel. Courtesy/SALA

Immersive data visualization – Francesca Samsel. Courtesy/SALA

Exploring a 3D model in virtual reality – SciVista. Courtesy/SALA

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