The mini-dome workstation was conceived as an offline production and teaching station, where we would begin learning about hemispheric projection while our planetarium was constructed. It became clear that anyone working in domes who did not have regular access to a full-size planetarium would have a use for such a tool, to preview perspective, lighting and animation.
While there are simulation domes, inflatable planetariums and partial hemispheres (sometimes called portals) that could be used as authoring stations, these systems generally cost $25,000 - 100,000 and may not include computers and software in that price. The fisheye projection lens alone for such a system can cost over $10,000.
Our goal in this design was a system that could be assembled for $10,000 or less, including computer, software, projector, fisheye lens, and dome screen.
This section describes the individual elements of the workstation, the steps to assemble it, and some possible improvements. See links to the subpages below, or click the triangle arrow in the sidebar.