Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 30th November 2001

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Users, Applications & Projects
01 Large-Scale VR Order for Mechdyne
02 Voice Marshalling Training
03 Displays for NIH
04 Space Station Designs in 3D
05 Digital Tailoring at Brooks Brothers
06 Tennis Masters Saves Time
07 Thank you, SIA Sistemas Argentina
08 VREfresh Quote of the Issue: Dr Larry Rosenblum

Products & Services
09 "Fantastic" CAID Book
10 VRCO Release & Public Demonstrations of vGEO
11 Vega Prime of Strategic Importance to MultiGen-Paradigm
12 Avatar Lab is Shipping
13 Facial Animation from Caligari
14 OpenGL Performer Upgrade
15 Pentium 4 Processor Performance Pack
16 Added Real-time 3D Transition
17 Photo Album
18 Toon Boom for Mac
19 Healthcare & 3D
20 Visualization in ERP
21 RealityWave & SiteScape to Partner
22 Pure 3D Rendering Card Ships
23 New Release of PartsNow!
24 Virtual Studio to Broadcast

Patents & Standards
25 A Gradient-based Silhouette Projection Method

Companies & Markets
26 ShapeSnatcher to Expand in USA
27 Another Move by Sun in Viz/Sim
28 Sun at I/ITSEC
29 E&S at I/ITSEC

Events & Calls for Papers
30 Communication through Virtual Technologies
31 Creativity and Cognition


176.01 Large-Scale VR Order for Mechdyne

Mechdyne has won a contract to design and build a large-scale surround-screen VR (MD SSVR) system for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC, USA. This system will be a key component of NRL's RL Laboratory, which was founded in 1994 to research and develop emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies to advance Naval war fighting capabilities. NRL will use the system, named GROTTO (Graphical Room for Observation, Tactical Training and Orientation), for a multitude of training and research projects. Among those planned or under consideration are military operations in the urban environment, terrain and scientific visualization, 3D interaction for command and control, and ship design. This new system will replace NRL's current surround-screen visualization system which was built in 1997. The earlier system proved to be an excellent environment for NRL training and simulation applications because it provided a complete immersive experience without the encumbrance and limitations of virtual reality headsets, computer monitors, and similar traditional virtual reality technologies. Its role in NRL's research has warranted an upgrade to a larger system with updated features and functionality. The new system, which features three rear-projected screens and Mechdyne's DuraFloor, will immerse users in high-fidelity images generated by an SGI Onyx computer. A tracking system will track the position of a user's head, hand, weapon or other interactive tool and display the correct scene for that user's point of view. Providing a visualization space measuring 10'W x 8'H x 10', the GROTTO will comfortably accommodate four to five participants.

URL: http://www.mechdyne.com

176.02 Voice Marshalling Training

The art of voice marshalling, a vital skill for helicopter crewmen, will receive a major boost with the purchase of a training package. A defense contract has been awarded to Virtual Presence Ltd to bring VR technology to the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS), at RAF Shawbury, and its Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) based at RAF Valley in Anglesey. Each year 60 crewmen students are trained at DHFS, a tri-Service school, and 80 at SARTU using the Griffin HT1 (Bell 412) helicopter. The training at both units requires students to be proficient in the use of voice marshalling procedures. Students are trained to provide the pilot with directions from the vantage point of an open cabin door. At DHFS the training is over land, whereas at SARTU the training is primarily over the sea.

URL: http://www.vrweb.com

176.03 Displays for NIH

GOMID has won a National Institute of Health (NIH) contract to supply the National Library of Medicine (NLM) with desktop and wireless all-Java browsers. GOMID's iConnecter and iConnecter Mobile, for desktop and wireless, respectively, will be used by the NLM's Specialized Information Services (SIS) division for onsite and remote access to a variety of toxicology and environmental health databases. The new browsers provide an option for integrated 2D and 3D display, giving doctors or researchers a vastly improved view of complex images.
URL: http://www.gomid.com/

176.04 Space Station Designs in 3D

The Space Infrastructure business division of ASTRIUM GmbH has selected IBM and Dassault Systemes Product Lifecycle Management solutions, including Dassault Systemes' ENOVIAVPM solutions at its three design and manufacturing sites. These sites, already up and running with Dassault Systemes' CATIA 3D design solutions, are the locations for development for the international space station and are already equipped with CATIA 3D design workstations used by their design teams, which are comprised of over 100 engineers. ASTRIUM uses CATIA 3D VR models to replace costly traditional scale models of complex portions of the International space station. This enables design and production teams to analyze and review construction in a virtual environment. This information is then shared among the contributors and suppliers of the International Space Station using ENOVIA solutions. In 2000, to further support the growing complexity of ASTRIUM's space projects, including the new Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be used to deliver up to seven tons of cargo to the Space Station, the company chose to implement a pilot program using ENOVIAVPM enabling the company to control costs and reduce time to market through more efficient design collaboration.

URL: http://www.astrium-space.com
URL: http://www.ibm.com

URL: http://www.dsweb.com

176.05 Digital Tailoring at Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers' store at 346 Madison Avenue in New York has introduced "Digital Tailoring" - body scanning that allows the customer to customize men's suits, sport coats, trousers and dress shirts. The scan takes 12 seconds and a 3D map is created that captures over 200,000 data points - everything from the circumference of wrists, biceps, chest and neck, to the shoulders and seat. The customer then reviews custom tailoring options with a Digital Tailoring specialist, who will guide him (not her?) through a selection of fabrics from which a suit, tuxedo, sport coat, blazer, trousers or shirt can be made. Traditional custom-made suits can take 6 to 8 weeks or longer, Digital Tailoring suits are ready in 15 business days or less. Dress shirts are delivered in ten days. The cost of a Digital Tailoring suit starts at $698, sport coats and blazers start at $498, trousers start at $198 and dress shirts start at $75. Once a customer has been scanned, their size data is maintained within a database, allowing the customer to reorder custom clothing from any Brooks Brothers store or by phone.

176.06 Tennis Masters Saves Time

Coincidental with the North American release of their new PC title, Tennis Masters Series, Microïds Canada say they have found FiLMBOX to be a major time-saver in game projects requiring the use of 3D character animation. Outlining the specifications for Tennis Masters Series, Microïds estimated it would take up to 75 man-months of work to realistically recreate over 500 precise movements of a national tennis pro. Plugging Kaydara's FiLMBOX into the production pipeline, with its motion editing, blending, and character tools, allowed the team to complete their objectives within 15 months - shaving approximately 80% off the initial estimate.

URL: http://www.microids.com
URL: http://www.kaydara.com

176.07 Thank you, SIA Sistemas Argentina

Thank you to VREfresh reader Adrian Simonovich of SIA Sistemas Argentina for bringing to our attention a link at Compaq. Follow "Ver modelo en 3D."

URL: http://www.compaq.com.ar/productos/presario/index_portatiles.html
URL: http://compaq.com.ar/productos/presario/index_desktop.html

176.08 VREfresh Quote of the Issue: Dr Larry Rosenblum

"Immersive visualization has played a very valuable role in much of the NRL VR Lab's research and development programs over the past five years, and the complexities of modern military warfare will only increase the demand for sophisticated 3D visualization tools," says Dr Larry Rosenblum, NRL's Director of VR Research and Systems. "The virtual interaction and collaboration facilitated by large-scale visualization systems greatly ease the transition from the laboratory to real-world scientific, industrial and military situations."

176.09 "Fantastic" CAID Book

Alias|Wavefront has published a CAID (computer-aided industrial design)
Alias|how-to book, entitled "StudioTools - Modeling and Presentation Techniques." The self-guided learning and reference tool comes with a CD and sells for $119.95. The book and CD are intended to give industrial designers and automotive stylists an insight into specific surface modeling and presentation scenarios using StudioTools software. It includes 25 tutorials on topics ranging from developing 3D models based on engineering criteria to creating realistic shadows. According to Robert "Bud" Kolich, Director R&D Technical Services, Fisher Price: "This book is absolutely fantastic! I'm very impressed with the step-by-step tutorial format and the activities covered here are tremendously valuable. The book is full of nuggets of knowledge that can be assimilated quickly and immediately incorporated to dramatically enhance presentations and workflow."

URL: http://www.aliaswavefrontstore.com

176.10 VRCO Release & Public Demonstrations of vGEO

VRCO has released the latest version of their vGeo software package for use in scientific exploration and knowledge discovery. vGeo version 1.6 adds new customer-requested features, including support for netCDF files, 32- and 64-bit executables, an image capture tool, and a dynamic route editor, to vGeo's existing list of capabilities. vGeo is the Virtual Global Explorer and Observatory an interactive data fusion and visual analysis tool designed to meet the complex challenges faced by today's scientists, engineers, and simulation analysts. The vGeo package allows the user to navigate and interact with a time-varying, 3D world constructed from many large, multi-variate datasets including observations, computer simulations, images and model objects. This ability to provide data fusion of a variety of information allows scientists and non-scientists alike to discover complex relationships from real & simulated data. The limitless and immersive perspectives afforded by a navigated, 3D environment aid in the mental process of rapidly assimilating complex information. Public demonstrations have been given with both with SGI and Fakespace Systems.

URL: http://www.vrco.com

176.11 Vega Prime of Strategic Importance to MultiGen-Paradigm

MultiGen-Paradigm has announced Vega Prime, the next generation of the Vega product line. Vega Prime is a cross platform, extendable, and scalable development environment that includes Vega Scene Graph (VSG), a low-level scene graph, as well as a high level abstraction API which delivers a range of customizable optimization and multi-level functionality. Vega Prime features a platform independent, customizable, C++, plug-in based architecture. It also includes LynX Prime, an extensible, cross platform GUI configuration tool re-designed to facilitate the creation, modification, and configuration of Vega Prime application development. Vega Prime's single source infrastructure should allow users to develop and deploy applications on multiple platforms without modification to the code. The announcement is associated with MultiGen-Paradigm's new corporate strategy. Vega Prime also impacts MultiGen-Paradigm's professional services offerings. MultiGen-Paradigm has long standing relationships with Evans and Sutherland, Quantum3D, SGI, Sun Microsystems and others.

URL: http://www.multigen-paradigm.com

176.12 Avatar Lab is Shipping

Curious Labs, an EGISYS AG company, has begun shipping Avatar Lab, their software tool for the creation, editing, animation and publishing of character-based 3D Avatars for Adobe Atmosphere. Driven by technology from Poser, their character animation and figure design tool, Avatar Lab allows users to generate detailed, yet modest polygon count Avatars in five steps. The modular approach to the content included with Avatar Lab allows users to mix and match parts to create smooth-skinned, single-mesh 3D characters. Selecting pieces from libraries of pre-built body components, unique figures (over 200 million combinations) can be produced. Textures may be modified, props incorporated and animations applied with ease. When publishing Avatars to an end user's website, all needed components are automatically generated and uploaded via FTP, including JavaScript, .mts and .mtx Viewpoint components and an .aer Atmosphere file. Avatar Lab 1.0 for Windows will be available direct from the Curious Labs webstore for $99. An introductory price of $69 will be offered for a limited time.

URL: http://www.curiouslabs.com
URL: http://www.egisys.de

176.13 Facial Animation from Caligari

Caligari has announced trueSpace5.2 with a new Facial Animator tool that generates animated human facial muscle movements directly from speech or text input using high level animation controls. This new version of Caligari's also features Key Frame Editor animation enhancements. Facial Animator can use a generic model of a human head or a model provided by the user. The model can then be matched to a real human face with trueSpace5.2's new texture editor that uses two photographs of an actual human face and converts them into a fully textured 3D model. The new Lip-Sync capability enables users to create facial animation directly from speech by generating speech-related human facial muscle movements for the entire human face. Users can also combine speech animation with key-framed animations for high-level control of character emotions.

URL: http://www.caligari.com

176.14 OpenGL Performer Upgrade

SGI has announced the OpenGL Performer 2.5 application programming interface (API) upgrade for both SGI IRIX and Linux operating systems. OpenGL Performer is an API for creating real-time visual simulation and other high-performance 3D graphics applications. A unified interface provides the bridge between IRIX and Linux, delivering true cross-platform power and investment protection for real-time 3D markets.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

176.15 Pentium 4 Processor Performance Pack

Discreet has announced the availability of its Intel Pentium 4 Processor Performance Pack optimization software designed as a cooperative 3D initiative with Intel that harnesses Discreet's 3D animation software operating on Intel Pentium 4 processor-based systems. The Pentium 4 Processor Performance Pack is available as a free download.

URL: http://www.discreet.com
URL: http://www.intel.com/pentium4

176.16 Added Real-time 3D Transition

Canopus Corporation has announced the addition of real-time 3D transition capabilities to DVRaptor-RT, DVStorm, DVRex RT and DVRex RT Professional. Users can choose from a collection of five transition groups (Page Peel, Fly Away, Single Door, Double Door and Sphere) and over 30 preset transitions.

URL: http://www.justedit.com

176.17 Photo Album

Canopus (above) has also unveiled a Photo Album plug-in for its 3D video effects package, Xplode Professional. With 1400 high quality 3D cover textures and a variety of paper styles to choose from, the ability to place text directly on the cover and individual pages and seamlessly connect transitions for an unlimited amount of page turns, the Photo Album plug-in gives editors an abundance of options for producing creative still and moving image-based wedding albums, yearbooks, corporate presentations and product promotions.

URL: http://www.justedit.com/

176.18 Toon Boom for Mac

Toon Boom Technologies has released the final version of Toon Boom Studio v.1.0.1 for Mac OS X Version 10.1. The update is available for free to all licensed owners. Boom Studio can also be purchased from Toon Boom Technologies, at the Apple Store online and at retailers. Toon Boom released the final version of Toon Boom Studio v1.0.1 after a month of beta tests and user feedback. This update was developed by Software Mackiev.

URL: http://www.toonboom.com
URL: http://www.mackiev.com

176.19 Healthcare & 3D

Sectra, a Swedish medical technology and IT company, has signed a clinical solutions agreement with Voxar, a 3D medical imaging company, for the integration of Voxar's 3D imaging technology in Sectra's digital radiology systems. As a result of this agreement it will be possible to use 3D display and rendering tools from Voxar's Plug n View 3D software, as a part of Sectra's workstation for digital radiology. Voxar develops 3D imaging software that allows radiologists to generate 2D and 3D views from computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) medical scan data. The easy-to-use software makes it possible to work with large datasets and communicate findings quickly to referring physicians, improving clinical workflow and the speed and accuracy of treatment planning. Sectra's business is conducted in six countries with a total of 185 employees. Sales for the fiscal year May 2000-April 2001 reached SEK 292 million.

URL: http://www.voxar.com
URL: http://www.sectra.com

176.20 Visualization in ERP

Kewill ERP will embed AutoVue technology from Cimmetry Systems into its JobBOSS 6.0 suite of shop management applications. With the addition of AutoVue's visualization capabilities to its product line, Kewill brings to market advanced ERP and supply chain control systems. Kewill continues to offer users the ability to electronically redline/annotate their documents directly on screen and save those markups/annotations directly back into the ERP system. Kewill and Cimmetry also provide JobBOSS users with the upgrade option of adding support for 3D CAD formats such as Pro/E, Catia, Unigraphics, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and Inventor.

URL: http://www.cimmetry.com
URL: http://www.kewill.com

176.21 RealityWave & SiteScape to Partner

SiteScape Inc and RealityWave have formed a partnership and the integration of RealityWave's VizStream platform with the SiteScape Enterprise Forum and WebWorkZone environments. VizStream allows SiteScape customers to enhance their collaborative environment by accessing, visualizing and working on 2D and 3D data.

URL: http://www.sitescape.com

176.22 Pure 3D Rendering Card Ships

Advanced Rendering Technology (ART) has commenced shipments of its PURE 3D rendering card. With tightly integrated plug-in interfaces for Alias|Wavefront's Maya, Discreet's 3dsmax and Autodesk's 3D Studio VIZ, PURE claims to deliver up to 16-times the speed of traditional software-based ray traced rendering tools.

URL: http://www.art-render.com

176.23 New Release of PartsNow!

EMT Software is shipping a new release of PartsNow!, a mechanical parts library for AutoCAD and Autodesk Mechanical Desktop. Version 3.3 features millions of new mechanical parts plus a new method for downloading parts for use directly in AutoCAD program creates parts parametrically inside AutoCAD from tables based on industry standards and manufacturers' catalogs.

URL: http://www.cadalog.com
URL: http://www.emtsoft.com

176.24 Virtual Studio to Broadcast

FOCUS Enhancements' FS450 Video processor has been designed into the Darim Vision VS2000 Real-time 3D virtual set studio. The FS450 enables the VS2000 to convert virtual studio data into broadcast quality video for streaming video over the Internet, or for broadcast to NTSC or PAL televisions.

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

176.25 A Gradient-based Silhouette Projection Method

USA Patent Number 6317139 has been awarded for: "A gradient-based silhouette projection method for rendering the surface of a 3-D object is described herein. A set of imaging points is selected for imaging the object. The object is imaged from each of the selected imaging points to generate a set of images and a set of binary silhouettes are extracted from the images of the object, with at least one silhouette per image. The binary silhouettes are each filtered to generate an equal number of gradient silhouettes. Each of the gradient silhouettes is projected to generate a set of gradient volume projections that are combined to yield a single combined gradient volume. A 3-D isosurface is generated from the combined gradient volume, with the 3-D isosurface thereby representing the 3-D object. In one example described herein, the binary silhouettes are filtered to generate gradient silhouettes by determining tubular neighborhoods for the binary silhouettes. The gradient volume projections are represented by voxels. The 3-D isosurface is determined from the combined gradient volume by applying a marching cubes algorithm to the voxels representing the combined gradient volume. A set of polygons representing the 3-D isosurface is generated by approximately determining the set of polygons representing the locus of all lines that do not intersect the 3D isosurface. The set of polygons is subsequently textured based upon texture information provided in the set of input images or from other sources. The various steps may be repeated while the object moves or otherwise changes."

176.26 ShapeSnatcher to Expand in USA

Eyetronics, Belgian-based maker of the ShapeSnatcher 3D scanning and modeling system, has signed em3 Micro Motion Inc to expand its presence in the USA market.

URL: http://www.em3micromotion.com
URL: http://www.eyetronics.com

176.27 Another Move by Sun in Viz/Sim

Expanding its presence in the visualization and simulation markets, Sun Microsystems announced with CG2 Inc plans to make CG2's MultiVis available on Sun's, 64-bit Solaris 8 Operating Environment for network servers and workstations. By making MultiVis available on Sun's Solaris 8 Operating Environment, the offering will help enable military, government and commercial simulation customers to turn 3D application into a fully immersive experience.

URL: http://www.sun.com

176.28 Sun at I/ITSEC

At I/ITSEC 2001 Sun Microsystems in particular stressed Vega Prime software toolkit for real-time 3D application development on Sun's 64-bit Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

URL: http://www.sun.com/desktop
URL: http://www.multigen-paradigm.com

176.29 E&S at I/ITSEC

Evans & Sutherland booth at I/ITSEC 2001 was worthy of review. The advanced Harmony image generator was the highlight of the exhibit, with two live presentations, "Raid on Camp Pendleton," and pilots "flying" through a photorealistic database depicting northern England. E&S also demonstrated the company's two new complete visually intensive training solutions, the Mission Command Trainer and the Air Traffic Control Trainer. In addition, the exhibit offered demonstrations of E&S' Symphony products, a line of compatible visual systems for simulation, from the most advanced image generator in the world to the simFUSION PC-based image generator.

URL: http://www.es.com

176.30 Communication through Virtual Technologies

Venice, Italy. December 10-11. The meeting will address the key issues related to emerging communications - internet, virtual reality, e-health and telemedicine, third generation wireless systems, e-learning, computer supported collaborative work - that are shaping our experience. Throughout the two days the meeting will address a diverse range of issues raised by virtual technologies, with particular reference to the social and technological issues associated with their use, as well as integrate technical knowledge and psycho-social principles related to human factors into the design of virtual technologies. Although technical characteristics of these tools change very rapidly, what will not change are their users. Thus, to ensure the widest accessibility, contents of this conference will be available both in the Future Center and live on the internet, with the help of experts who will support the students of the virtual classroom. The contents will be also available on-line for educational purposes. The conference want to help ICT managers, developers, researchers and students interested in such novel technologies in identifying some key issues to understand and exploit the full potential of this new situation.

URL: http://www.emergingcommunication.com
URL: http://www.psychnology.com

Call for Papers

Creativity and Cognition 4 (an ACM SIGCHI International Conference)
Loughborough, UK. October 2002. Call for Papers: January 10, 2002.
URL: http://creative.lboro.ac.uk/eae/CC02/CC4.html

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

Animating Expressive Characters for Social Interactions Symposium of the AISB'02 Convention: London, UK. April 2-5, 2002
URL: http://homepages.feis.herts.ac.uk/~comqlc/aecsi02

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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