Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 24th January 2002

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Users, Applications & Projects
01 Farewell, Old Friend
02 Simulation for Wearable Robotic System
03 Modine Plan to Reduce Design Time & Errors
04 Charging for Cultural Heritage Resources

Products & Services
05 System for 3D Object Capture
06 Virtual Try-Out Space Integrates Optimization Solution
07 English Language Version of Shade
08 Version 1.5 of PeopleShop
09 Rhythm & Hues 3D Models
10 Viewing System for Internet Users
11 Support for 3D Imaging in Director 8.5 Shockwave
12 LightWave 3D Importer
Companies & Markets
13 Discreet: Combustion 2 Shipping
14 NVIDIA: Announcement - but not yet
15 Geomagic: Congratulations
16 Interactive TV: On-Demand Services Prime the Pump

Standard & Patents
17 Patent: Life Imaging Systems
18 Patent: Weather Central Inc

Events & Calls for Papers
Breakfast at the Design Exchange, Canada
Key to Symposium is the Keynote Speakers


180.00 Translation of VREfresh

It is now possible to read a translation of VREfresh thanks to our friends at Silicon Studio in Korea.

URL: http://www.siliconstudio.co.kr/wowboard/board.cgi

180.01 Farewell, Old Friend

For the last five years SGI Origin 2000 servers and Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visualization systems have provided SGI customers technology for high-performance computing and visualization. Introduced in 1996, the Origin 2000 and Onyx2 systems can be found throughout the world, in many industries and disciplines. These systems have been the cornerstone of SGI's foundation on which the SGI 3000 family was built. On June 30, 2002, SGI will end production of these systems. During the next few weeks, SGI customers will be contacted regarding end-of-production information for the Origin 2000 and Onyx2 products. Some upgrades and options, such as 500 MHz CPUs, IR pipes, memory, and certain XIO and PCI options, will remain available through December 2002 or as long as supply of new material exists.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

180.02 Simulation for Wearable Robotic System

Boston Dynamics has signed an agreement with Sarcos Research Corporation to provide dynamic simulation services for the wearable robotic system it is developing under a program sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). The Sarcos-led team aims to develop a human-wearable exoskeleton that will augment the performance of its user. Boston Dynamics will leverage its experience in simulating controlled human behavior in physics-based environments to model the dynamic interaction between the robot structure and the human user. It will also analyze and help manage the system ergonomics. The virtual prototyping system being developed by Boston Dynamics will simulate the human and the exoskeleton moving as an integrated system - carrying loads and exchanging forces as it moves through a virtual obstacle course.

Boston Dynamics has also been selected by the US Army Soldier Systems Center to develop software tools for virtual prototyping of next-generation soldier equipment. The tools that result from the $2.4 million contract will support the Objective Force Warrior program, the US Army's flagship Science and Technology initiative to develop and demonstrate revolutionary capabilities for future soldier systems. The virtual prototyping tools will be based on Boston Dynamics' Digital Biomechanics technology, the physics-based human simulation to model equipment on soldiers engaged in actual tasks, from walking, running, and crawling, to completing a virtual obstacle course. Digital Biomechanics uses robot-control technology and physics-based models to provide human simulation that obeys the same laws of locomotion, balance, and loading as real people do in the physical world.

180.03 Modine Plan to Reduce Design Time & Errors

Modine Manufacturing Company has selected Solid Edge as its internal mechanical 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software. Modine plans to implement more than 70 licenses of Solid Edge over the next three years in support of its product lifecycle management (PLM) strategy. Modine will initially use Solid Edge software to design commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration products as well as the machinery that manufactures them. The company also plans to use Solid Edge for other applications such as proprietary tooling, plant design as well as in designing additional products. Colette Van Beek and Sheila Schnarr, product engineers in the Commercial HVAC&R Division at Modine, indicated the software's benefits will enable reduced design time, fewer errors and an easier way to maintain accurate drawings for the manufacturing floor. "The software also provides a great new way to deliver excellent product information outside of engineering for use in catalogs and service manuals," Van Beek said.

URL: http://www.eds.com
URL: http://www.modine.com

180.04 Charging for Cultural Heritage Resources

Our sister newsletter in the EC's INFORM Project, El.pub, reports the UK's Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS) is exploring the charging models for digital content of cultural institutions in Europe. HEDS will study how pricing structures are determined for delivering digital versions of rare or unique items in libraries, museums, archives and similar public institutions; investigate how these digital pricing structures compare to those used for the delivery of the same or similar resources in analogue form; explore the thresholds that determine the point at which an organisation charges for the sale of content and other rights to their digital holdings and the reasons given for such charges. Further information and details of how El.pub readers could help in the study are available in the full news item.

URL: http://www.elpub.org/base02t0047.htm#cfc
URL: HEDS http://heds.herts.ac.uk

180.05 System for 3D Object Capture

Eyetronics has released ShapeCam, a hand-held system claimed to make 3D object capture almost as easy as taking snapshots with a digital camera. ShapeCam includes a digital camera and a specially designed flash device mounted on a lightweight frame. It allows users to freely move around objects of almost any size, capturing 3D geometry and textures by simply taking pictures. Photos captured with the portable hardware are processed and assembled in 3D within Eyetronics' ShapeSnatcher Suite software. The process produces 3D digital models that recreate the shape, colors and textures of the original object or person.

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

180.06 Virtual Try-Out Space Integrates Optimization Solution

ESI Group, provider of virtual prototyping and manufacturing solutions, has announced the availability of PAM-OPT, its new optimization solution. PAM-OPT automates the trial and error process of design and manufacturing optimization. Integrated into the Virtual Try-Out Space, PAM-OPT is adapted to non-linear outputs encountered with ESI Group's simulation packages. As an example, in the automotive industry PAM-OPT helps safety engineers optimize safety restraint systems, which is a complex task involving many constraints, by simultaneously tuning design parameters of airbags, seatbelts, knee bolsters and the steering column.

URL: http://www.esi-group.com

180.07 English Language Version of Shade

ExpressionTools Inc has released Shade Personal R5/E, an English language version of their high-end 3D graphics application. Shade Personal R5/E is a version of its Shade line of 3D modeling, rendering and animation products.
The price for Shade Personal R5/E is US$499, which is sold worldwide through the ExpressionTools Web site. As the second iteration of the Shade product series for the overseas market, the Chinese version of Shade has been on sale since December 2001 in Taiwan and Hong Kong through Ulead Systems.

URL: http://www.expressiontools.com
URL: http://www.ulead.com.tw

180.08 Version 1.5 of PeopleShop

Boston Dynamics has released version 1.5 of PeopleShop, its software for creating i3D scenarios that feature realistic people. New features such as improved decision logic, joystick control of individual characters, and expressive faces enhance the desktop software's value as a powerful tool that both technical and non-technical users can use to create real-time, human-centered simulations. PeopleShop's GUI allows the user to create training scenarios without doing any programming. This lets subject matter experts modify scenarios or create new ones without reprogramming the simulator or going back to the simulation vendor.

180.09 Rhythm & Hues 3D Models

Rhythm & Hues, an Academy Award winning film and production studio, will offer 3D models from its inventory on Turbo Squid. The Rhythm & Hues models, which will be sold both individually and as collections, include a variety of models such as: animals, military, office, household, and transportation items.

URL: http://www.turbosquid.com

180.10 Viewing System for Internet Users

TDV Technologies Corporation has announced the immediate availability of a 3D viewing system for the Internet. The TDV system transforms still and moving computer images from standard 2D visuals to 3D images. The TDV3D system includes wire and wireless glasses, receiver, connecting cords and infrared transmitter, install system software, and 2D-3D Adobe plug-in (for still graphics). In order to access the Stereovision 3D experience on the TDV Web portal, each customer must purchase the TDV Viewing System which retails for $99.00.

URL: http://www.tdv3D.com

180.11 Support for 3D Imaging in Director 8.5 Shockwave

Macromedia has released an updated version of its Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio software used to create Shockwave content. The company said it plans to release a version of the Shockwave Player for the Macintosh OS X operating system. Macromedia also said the free update to the studio and existing players adds Windows XP compatibility and support for 3D imaging.
The free studio updates can be downloaded.

URL: http://www.macromedia.com/go/dir851/

180.12 LightWave 3D Importer

MindAvenue has launched LightWave 3D Importer for AXELedge 1.5 for Mac and PC. Professional LightWave designers can import all content directly into AXEL, where they can take advantage of an end-to-end Web authoring solution that requires no programming. AXELedge offers a set of interaction capabilities, as well as animation, modeling, relations and constraints, previewing and publishing features - housed within AXEL's drag and drop technology for interactive 3D Web content creation.

URL: http://www.mindavenue.com

180.13 Discreet: Combustion 2 Shipping

Discreet is now shipping combustion 2, the latest version of its paint, animation and 3D compositing software. Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2001, the combustion 2 software features were designed to provide artists with new capabilities and improved performance, all within a workflow environment designed to make complex visual effects creation faster and simpler. Discreet is offering full-day combustion workshops for $99 per person that provides hands-on training for visual effects artists, video editors and 3D animators.

URL: http://www.discreet.com

180.14 NVIDIA: Announcement - but not yet

Look out for NVIDIA launching "the next generation in graphics processing" in San Francisco, USA on February 5th. The company is promising to "bridge the gap between science and art" to make your PC come alive.

180.15 Geomagic: Congratulations

Raindrop Geomagic has achieved positive cash flow from operations over the last 12 months. Raindrop Geomagic provides 3D photography solutions for rapid manufacturing, mass customization and quality assurance. Significant sales, partnerships and awards in 2001 included a $1.8m software licensing and development contract with Align Technology, a strategic licensing and development arrangement with PTC, a development and co-marketing partnership with Minolta Corporation's Instrument Systems Division for new integrated technologies for reverse engineering, rapid surfacing, rapid inspection, and 3D photography, a $350,000 small business innovation award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue research into 3D photography technology, an OEM reseller agreement with Perceptron, a laser scanning system for Boeing with software development of a prototype, rapid inspection system for certain manufactured airplane parts, a development, marketing and sales agreement with 3D Systems, an OEM reseller agreement with Laser Design Inc, a manufacturer of 3D laser digitizing systems used for rapid inspection applications as well as licensing of software seats to automotive manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, BMW and Mazda.

URL: http://www.geomagic.com

180.16 Interactive TV: On-Demand Services Prime the Pump

After several years of hype and false starts, the worldwide interactive TV (iTV) market is finally beginning to take shape, according to Cahners In-Stat/MDR. The research firm reports that despite the fact that iTV still must overcome some formidable obstacles, including a broad misunderstanding of exactly what iTV is, the market is poised for growth, particularly in North America. In-Stat/MDR found that of all the different iTV applications, "on-demand" applications, like video-on-demand and personal video recording, have sparked the most industry interest due to their great potential for adoption by today's TV viewers. The number of television households using on-demand services worldwide will jump from 1.3 million in 2001 to over 33 million in 2005. North American Video-on-Demand service revenues are forecasted to grow from $86 million in 2001 to over $1.75 billion in 2005.

URL: http://www.instat.com

180.17 Patent: Life Imaging Systems

Life Imaging Systems has been awarded US Patent Number 6334847 for: "A depth-limited image processor employed in combination with a three-dimensional ultrasonographic system whereby, from a model representing at least a portion of a three-dimensional volumetric array, a user selecta a ray-depth from at least one face of the model thereby forming a "thick-plane" region of interest. All voxels within the "thick-plane" are processed successively according to a user selected imaging technique along the depth of the ray. The results of the processing are projected onto corresponding screen pixels to produce an enhanced three-dimensional image. In another embodiment, an adaptive depth-limited image processing means is employed whereby voxels are first checked against a user selected condition. voxels meeting this condition are then processed as above to produce an enhanced three-dimensional image. The user selected imaging technique may include, but is not limited to, Texture Mapping, Maximum Intensity Projection (MIP), Conditional MIP (CMIP) and/or Ray Summation (Raysum)."

180.18 Patent: Weather Central Inc

Weather Central Inc has been awarded US Patent Number 6335765 for: "A virtual three-dimensional presentation in accordance with the present invention includes three layers, a three-dimensional background layer, a two-dimensional video insert layer, and a three-dimensional foreground layer. A surface, the Z-sphere, is defined in the virtual three-dimensional space of the three-dimensional scene with reference to the aim point of a virtual camera looking at the three-dimensional scene being created. The three-dimensional foreground layer scene may include a key which defines the transparency of objects in the foreground layer. The two-dimensional video insert layer may be generated by positioning a presenter, or other object, in a chroma-key set. The two-dimensional video insert layer may be distorted before being composited with the background and foreground such that elements of the two-dimensional video appear to move across a three-dimensional floor of the three-dimensional scene."

180.19 Events

Breakfast at the Design Exchange, Canada

The Liberty Village New Media Centre (LVNMC) is sponsoring a "kick-off" event of the year as eBiz Toronto, in partnership with the Design Exchange (DX), presents Ed Kilroy, CEO of IBM Canada. Mr Kilroy will deliver a lecture on the state of e-Business. You can learn more about IT solutions for the marketplace in this Design Advantage Breakfast Lecture Series produced in collaboration by DX, DXNet, eBiz Toronto and the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA). This event also marks the official launch of eBiz Toronto as an organization. (The Design Exchange also has a Reality Center!)

URL: http://www.ebiztoronto.org/launchevent.html

Key to Symposium is the Keynote Speakers

7th International Conference on 3D Web Technology, sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH and the WEB3D Consortium in cooperation with Eurographics, is being held in Tempe, Arizona, USA from February 24th to 28th. The symposium will focus on the frontiers of 3D technologies and multimedia. Keynote Speakers are Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland, Peter Ryce, Macromedia and Michael Kaplan, Adobe Systems.

URL: http://Web3DSymposium.org

For 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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