TEDChris writes "The Allosphere, being created at UC Santa Barbara, is the most ambitious attempt yet at creating powerful 3d visualizations of raw scientific data, such as the structure of a crystal, or how quantum effects take place. Researchers watch from a bridge inside the 30-foot sphere, looking at data projected 360 degrees around them and listening to 3D sound. The first major public demo of the facility has just been posted at TED.com. Optimists would argue that many of the greatest scientific breakthroughs happened through a new visual way of imagining data. Penicillin and relativity come to mind. So this is either a killer new research vehicle, an incredible toy, or just an insanely expensive art project."