Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 1st November 2001

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173.01 Visualization & the Joint Strike Fighter

SGI visualization technology provided modeling and simulation breakthroughs during the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program's concept demonstration phase, allowing Lockheed Martin to reduce program risk and costs. The Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin a JSF contract potentially worth $200 billion, the largest military contract ever awarded. Affordability is the focus of the JSF program. To help reduce costs, Lockheed Martin used visualization technology to find the best ways to design, build and maintain the JSF. SGI(TM) visualization systems allowed Lockheed Martin to design the JSF virtually, long before metal was bent for demonstration aircraft. "We focused on eight key high-payoff initiatives, which include a combination of process change, hardware and software," says Mary Ann Horter, program director for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Virtual Product Development Initiative. "In some areas we saw reductions in cycle time and cost savings in excess of 70 percent to 80 percent. Virtual simulations have been key components in helping us meet these targets."

URL: http://www.sgi.com

173.02 BP Center for Visualization, Colorado, USA

The BP Center for Visualization, offering advanced visualization capabilities for a variety of business and research sectors, has opened at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Made possible through a $10.6m gift from BP, it features an Immersive Visualization Environment (IVE), consisting of a 12x12x10-foot screened space. Using SGI Reality Center visualization solution technologies, the IVE projects high-powered computerized images, allowing scientists and engineers to interact with a natural or artificial environment by viewing it close up and from different angles, manipulating data in real time. Dr Geoffrey A Dorn, is executive director for the BP Center for Visualization references the high image quality and real-time management and display of large volumes of data demanded by not only oil and gas but other industries such as medicine and aerospace.

URL: http://www.colorado.edu/Research

173.03 E&S SATS Certified to Begin Training

Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation has announced that the E-3D Sentry Aircrew Training Services (SATS) have been formally certified by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to begin training. The training facility is operated by Quest Flight Training Ltd, a joint venture private finance initiative (PFI) company formed by Quadrant Group plc, and Evans & Sutherland for the Royal Air Force. Located at RAF Waddington, the SATS simulator uses an E&S ESIG-4500 visual system. The certification, which was successfully completed on schedule, represents Evans & Sutherland's first PFI. The PFI contract, which will be in effect for a minimum of 25 years, is expected to generate more than $60 million in revenues. A formal opening ceremony will be held at the SATS facility at RAF Waddington on November 13.

URL: http://www.es.com/

173.04 Nike Uses 3D on the Web

Nike, an early adopter of Viewpoint Experience Technology in March of 2000, is utilizing the full range of Viewpoint's technology and is showcasing its new techlab product line of heart rate monitors, two-way radios, watches, portable audio players and other advanced electronics for athletes. The site uses new features from Viewpoint to display and explain the new products. Nike customers can learn about the new products through narrated virtual tours that utilize Viewpoint's combination of photo realistic 3D and integrated Flash playback. The result is a complete sales presentation in file sizes barely larger than static 2D images of the same products. "At Nike we strive to innovate in everything we do, which also includes what we do on the Web," says Amanda Houston, Merchandise Director of nike.com. "There's no question in my mind that utilizing rich media in e-commerce is the way of the future."

URL: http://www.viewpoint.com/
URL: http://niketown.nike.com/3d/techlab/index.html

173.05 Procter & Gamble Use 3D in Consumer Research

Cycore and MarketTools Inc are partnering to co-develop, market and sell their technology solutions. The two companies have agreed to integrate Cycore's Cult3D software with the MarketTools' zTelligence research platform to enable researchers to present realistic, 3D images within online research studies. MarketTools clients such as Procter & Gamble have already discovered the value 3D product models can bring to their online research initiatives. "In conjunction with zTelligence, Procter & Gamble is using Cycore's Cult3D for Internet consumer research as a better way to show new product concepts and packaging," says Stan Joosten, IT manager, corporate consumer & market knowledge, Procter & Gamble.

URL: http://www.markettools.com/
URL: http://www.cycore.com

173.06 Sony Developers Use FilLMBOX

For two and a half years, the development team at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Team Soho' London office has been building a game for Sony's Playstation 2 console. What makes "The Getaway" unusual is not so much the setting but rather how that setting is used. The team at Sony Team Soho has recreated about 70 square kilometers of London's streets, buildings, sidewalks, and alleyways. The team of over fifty at Sony Team Soho used FiLMBOX to break new ground in motion-capture for game development. For in-game character animation, the team used FiLMBOX to clean motion-capture data from an Ascension system for direct export to the Playstation 2. When creating cutscenes, the team at Sony Team Soho was able to capture and apply the motion-capture data straight to the character models (created in Alias|Wavefront Maya) inside the actual in-game scenes. The Getaway is due for release December 1, 2001.

URL: http://www.kaydara.com

173.07 Digital Manufacturing Solutions (Automotive & Aerospace)

Delmia Corp, a Dassault Systemes company has launched Version 5 Release 7 (V5R7) of DELMIA Digital Manufacturing Solutions, the first release providing complete integration between all Delmia software applications on top of the PPR - Product, Process and Resource model. The solution for Automotive Final Assembly takes advantage of the PPR integration to provide an end-to-end solution. This solution combines "Delmia Process Engineer" for process planning with V5 DPM Assembly and V5 Human Modeling for 3D process detailing, simulation and validation. To support the needs of Airframe Assembly in the Aerospace industry, the V5 DPM Assembly solution has delivered a number of enhancements such as the full use of tolerance information in the process planning and better use of the Pert and Gantt charts.

URL: http://www.delmia.com

173.08 Easy 3D for the Web

Activeworlds has released a product which permits mainstream internet users to create personal 3D homepages. The 3D homepage concept will be similar to many of the popular 2D homepage building web tools, which permit users to create web-pages by completing simple fill-in-the-blanks web forms.

URL: http://www.activeworlds.com

173.09 Mental ray for Maya

Alias|Wavefront's recently unveiled mental ray for Maya technology will be available as an optional plug-in renderer for Maya before the end of the year. mental ray for Maya, a tightly integrated rendering solution, is currently in the beta stage of its development. In addition to this integrated rendering option, Alias|Wavefront will also offer mental ray Stand Alone rendering licenses.

URL: http://www.aliaswavefront.com

173.10 StudioTools Course Offer

An offer by Alias|Wavefront entitles anyone taking a StudioTools CAID (computer-aided industrial design) software course by the end of the year to receive a 30 percent discount off a second course. The offer applies to all four-day StudioTools certified courses available in North America. The first course must be completed by December 31, 2001, and the second course must follow within six months.

URL: http://www.aliaswavefront.com/

173.11 Video Cards: Focus & STMictroelectronics

FOCUS Enhancements is to support a 3D PC graphics accelerator board based on STMicroelectronics' KYRO II graphics chip and the FOCUS FS450 video encoder chip. The new design will result in video cards that deliver high quality TV output signal available on a 3D graphics accelerator card. The reference design will be available in Q4 2001. Advanced graphics chips, such as the KYRO II, are typically used on add-in graphic cards for video games, animations and other demanding video applications. They allow computers to display rendered images with significantly more detail and colors supporting complex 3D animations in real-time without slowing down overall system performance. Smooth, high quality, lifelike images are essential for users to be able to immerse themselves in virtual reality role playing, and the KYRO II and FS450 deliver this level of video quality and performance.

URL: http://www.st.com/
URL: http://www.FOCUSinfo.com

173.12 Sony Patent

Sony has received US Patent 6307564 for "A method and apparatus for displaying a three-dimensional picture is disclosed. The picture display apparatus includes a display device for displaying a three-dimensional picture, a pointing device for pointing a position in the picture displayed in the display device, a holding device for holding the control information of a plurality of possible stop points pre-determined in a three-dimensional space, and a control device for causing the three-dimensional picture to be displayed on the display device based on the control information of the possible stop points in the three-dimensional space held by the holding device. The possible stop points correspond to positions in the picture pointed by the pointing device. The producer of a virtual reality can easily reflect the intention of a three-dimensional virtual reality, while the-user can easily walk in the three-dimensional virtual reality."

173.13 Patent: Controlling and Automatically Animating

US Patent Number 6307576 has been assigned to: "A method for controlling and automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expressions of three dimensional animated characters using weighted morph targets and time aligned phonetic transcriptions of recorded text. The method utilizes a set of rules that determine the systems output comprising a stream of morph weight sets when a sequence of timed phonemes and/or other timed data is encountered. Other data, such as timed emotional state data or emotemes such as "surprise, "disgust, "embarrassment", "timid smile", or the like, may be inputted to affect the output stream of morph weight sets, or create additional streams." The inventor is Maury Rosenfeld.

173.14 XGL: Vero & RealityWave

Vero International, a part of the VI Group, has included the capability to export XGL files in its VISI-Series Release 9 software. The XGL export capability makes VISI-Series applications compatible with 3D industrial data collaboration technologies used in an array of Internet applications, such as those built on RealityWave's VizStream Platform. RealityWave and Vero also announced that both companies have fully-complied with the latest XGL specifications, most notable the support of part names in the XGL format. The latest XGL specifications, put out by the XGL Consortium, also include the ability to recognize points and lines. These XGL specifications continue the quest to capture all pertinent 3D data and enable it for visualization over any network connection. The XGL file format is designed to represent 3D information for the purpose of visualization. It attempts to capture all of the 3D information that can be rendered by the OpenGL rendering library. XGL uses XML 1.0 syntax, so it is easy to write and can be parsed by standard, freely-available code. These features make XGL the ideal format to use when exchanging data between two graphics systems for the purpose of visualization.

URL: http://www.vero-software.com/
URL: http://www.realitywave.com/
URL: http://www.xglspec.org/

173.15 People: NewTek

NewTek has promoted Dr Andrew Cross to the position of Vice President of Video Software Engineering. In his new position, Cross will oversee the day-to-day activities of the video software development team.

URL: http://http://www.newtek.com

Events & Calls for Papers

173.16 Digital Defense Summit

Leading government and defense officials as well as defense integrators have been meeting at the SGI Defense Summit in Virginia, USA to discuss technologies being used in a new era of digital defense. The SGI Defense Summit showcases graphics and visualization applications ranging from one-meter high-resolution satellite imagery to flight simulation and mission rehearsal programs that are currently being used in today's changing battlefield. The summit has been given a new sense of urgency due to recent events. Lieutenant General James King, former director of the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) delivered a keynote discussing the Defense Department's sensor-to-shooter concept, a "system of systems" approach to warfare that links command and control and decision support centers with sensor, communications and weapon systems. "The Department of Defense and the intelligence community must invest in new technology capabilities and people to meet the information and knowledge needs of the armed forces and national decision makers," King said. "The technology solution lies with the commercial sector to develop and speed the development and fielding of new technology. What we need now is a fused, real-time, true representation of the battlespace-an ability to order, respond and coordinate horizontally and vertically to the degree necessary to prosecute the assigned mission," he said. "In particular, the areas of imagery and ground truth geospatially referenced databases are critical for battlespace visualization."

URL: http://www.sgi.com

173.17 Last Call: VRST 2001, Banff, Canada. November 15 - 17, 2001

ACM Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) is an annual conference devoted to the technical aspects of VR. VRST2001 will be the first VRST held in North America. This year's conference has paper sessions on Tracking, Collaboration in Virtual Environments, VR Software, Algorithms, Display Devices, Distributed Virtual Environments and Applications of VR. In addition there are two panel sessions to include Rebecca Allen (UCLA), Pierre Boulanger (University of Alberta) and Diane Gromala (Georgia Institute of Technology).
URL: http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/vrst2001

VAST2001: Athens, Greece - November 28-30.
URL: http://www.eg.org/events/VAST2001

GAME-ON 2001: London United Kingdom - November 30-December 1.
URL: http://hobbes.rug.ac.be/~scs/conf/gameon2001

IST 2001 "Technologies Serving People" Düsseldorf, Germany. December 3-5.
URL: http://istevent.cec.eu.int

IEEE VR 2002: Orlando, USA - March 24-28, 2002.
URL: http://www.VR2002.org

11th annual Executive Forum on Modeling and Simulation. Norfolk, Virginia, USA. June 17-19, 2001.
URL: http://www.trainingsystems.org/Events.htm

IVR 2002 (Industrial Virtual Reality Expo/Conference 2002), Tokyo, Japan - July 3-5, 2002.
URL: http://www.reedexpo.co.jp/ivr/english

SIGGRAPH 2002: San Antonio, Texas, USA - July 21-26, 2002.
URL: http://www.siggraph.org/s2002

For more extensive information about events relevant to the European VR/i3D community, see the events pages on El.pub: for Europe: base05.htm, for the rest of the world: connone.htm

About VREfresh news
Each edition of virtual reality news is now published on a separate page, ensuring that links (particularly from VREfresh) continue to remain current. To view news from previous issues, please use the navigation buttons below.
Email alerter of news items and associated URLs, send an email with your name, organisation, country (and for the US a zip code) to the Editor via the link above.
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