Ulysses, Data Explorer

Global Nominee

Ulysses, Data Explorer received a Global Nomination.


Do you have an idea that doesn't fit any of the other challenges? This is the place for you, whether you want to design and develop an app, create a data visualization, hack on an Arduino... or anything else you can think of!


Ulysses is a VR platform based on the HTC VIVE hardware and the Unreal engine. It allows the user to explore a large volume of a simulated Universe, almost 100 million light years per side, containing hundreds of galaxies.

This large volume was originally simulated and analyzed using national supercomputing facilities, as part of a research project funded by NASA and the NSF. The ROMULUS project used 100 million CPU hours and included the effects of dark matter, dark energy, star formation and super massive black holes

With Ulysses, users not only 'fly' through space, but through a intuitive UI Ulysses allows the scientist to examine the structural properties of each galaxies, such as their individual morphology, stellar mass and rotational velocity. The user can select elliptical, spiral and dwarf galaxies and examine their distribution in space and how different galaxy types relate to each other.

Ulysses was built with simplicity and flexibility in mind and it can be used with other scientific datasets, especially does with large, multidimensional content that was limited by traditional 2D representations Such datasets will incredibly benefit from a VR environment.

Ulysses can also be used to enhance the user experience in the classroom or at planetariums.

As the character described in the Odyssey, who first moved outside the boundaries of the then known world, we think of Ulysses as one of the first VR applications to explore scientific data in new and efficient ways.

Resources Used

HTC VR googles, Unreal engine, Photoshop, Excel.

Made inSeattle, WA USA
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How they did it