Believers of this technology include the people at Mechdyne Corp., which has licensed the CAVE2 for three years and plans to market it to hospitals, the military and in the oil and gas industry, said Kurt Hoffmeister of Mechdyne.

But the size and expense of room-based virtual reality systems may prove insurmountable barriers to widespread use, said Henry Fuchs, a computer science professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who is familiar with the CAVE technology but wasn’t involved in its development.

While he calls the CAVE2 “a national treasure,” Fuchs predicts a smaller technology such as Google’s Internet-connected eyeglasses will do more to revolutionise medicine than the CAVE.

Still, he says large displays are the best way today for people to interact and collaborate.