Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 1 August 2002

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The previous issue of VREfresh was a special report from Siggraph 2002 in San Antonio and can be found on the VREfresh web site.

Users, Applications & Projects

01 Call for White Papers
02 SGI & Barco Big Winners at DaimlerChrysler
03 Urban Planning
04 Boeing Use DDD at Airshow
05 Emerson to View and Mark-up 3D CAD
06 Planetarium & Astronomy Museum Upgrade
07 See Hitachi in i3D

Products & Services

08 3D InterOp Exchange and 3D Viz Exchange
09 Motion Capture on Video
10 Free e-Book

Companies & Markets

11 New Company - Old Hands
12 Meet Entertain, Representing LithTech
13 Automotive Design & Marketing: Alias|Wavefront
14 Pixar, Exluna & NVIDIA
15 One Activeworld's Merger Is Off
16 French Company Moves to Expand
17 Look Who's Buying Shares in Sun

Patents, Standards & Benchmarks

18 Meet the CAD 3D Working Group in Paris, France
19 US Patent for Multi-user VR System
20 Patent: CD Protection

People & Appointments

21 People: VRCO

Worth Watching

22 Virtual Receptionist

Events & Calls for Papers

23 VR World Congress V
24 PRESENCE 2002
25 Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002
26 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics
27 SIGGRAPH 2003

28 More Events


202.01 Call for White Papers

It takes a lot of time and effort to publish a White Paper on the technologies and techniques employed in VR/i3D. If you would like to give access to the 7,000+ VREfresh readers and 8,000+ web site visitors to a White Paper you have published, please email the URL and we will consider publishing it on www.VREfresh.com with a link to your site.

mailto: roger_frampton@cyber-wizard.co.uk with subject 'White Paper'


202.02 SGI & Barco Big Winners at DaimlerChrysler

DaimlerChrysler AG has commissioned SGI as lead contractor to update and expand their Virtual Reality Center (VRC) in Sindelfingen, Germany. The order is valued at 6.5m euro with equal allocation for the purchase of the latest SGI high-end visualization systems and the lead contractor tasks performed by the SGI Professional Services organization, including deployment of the management software for the uniquely efficient steering of the center. Barco/Imsis, located in Germany, is the largest subcontractor and will deliver technology and know-how for the entire stereo projection environment. The VRC, located in the Mercedes Technology Center (MTC), is used by designers, engineers and project managers working in the MTC on different automobile projects. Using varied forms of projection, the Mercedes teams analyze and understand their digital models and simulation results. As DaimlerChrysler's VRC head Thomas Jäger states, "Our goals have been attained faster than we expected. Thanks to the VR application, we were able to generate double-digit percentage savings in cost of physical prototypes and development times. This motivated us to devote ourselves to quantitatively and qualitatively expanding the possibilities of the VRC. The benefits are obvious. In addition, the community of users within the MTC is growing as well." A five-sided, fully immersive room, a double-segment powerwall and a single-segment wall will be retrofitted. In the future, information display in ultrahigh resolution will be possible on all projection segments. The stereo operation mode will be installed as passive stereo technology so users can wear comfortable polarization glasses. Barco LCD digital technology will be used for the projection, beaming up to 1600x1200 pixels (UXGA) per segment and eye, in stereo channel. A double-segment powerwall of the same build, a double-segment immersive desk, also in passive LCD stereo, and a second fully immersive room will be newly installed. The fully immersive room will feature a four-sided layout and will be realized in active stereo with Barco 909 tube projectors for resolutions of up to 2500x2000 per channel. To drive the new four-sided, fully immersive room, DaimlerChrysler is acquiring a new SGI Onyx 3000 series. It will be equipped with SGI InfiniteReality4 graphics with four graphics pipes. DaimlerChrysler is also replacing its entire suite of Onyx2 workstations currently in use at the VRC. A group of SGI Onyx 3400 visualization systems with InfiniteReality4 graphics will be purchased, including more than a dozen additional graphics pipes and a large number of MIPS R14000 processors that can be flexibly assigned to various projection environments and applications according to need. In addition to SGI Reality Center technology, the VRC update includes more than two dozen Barco projectors. Barco's display product, CADWall, has been chosen for the powerwall, and I-Space, a multisided cubic immersive space environment, will be used for the fully immersive room. The order has an estimated project completion date of January 2003.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

URL: http://www.barcoprojection.com

Barco will be represented at VR World Congress V in Paris, France on September 9th and 10th. The Belgium-based company might be an ideal consortium partner for a proposal for funding under the European Commission's $3.6bn Sixth Framework Programme.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

URL: http://www.cordis.lu

202.03 Urban Planning

Los Angeles, California is thought to be the first city in the USA to address urban planning problems by using supercomputers and high-speed 3D graphics visualization. The Urban Simulation Laboratory at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is the first user to receive an SGI InfiniteReality4 graphics system for the Onyx. The new system provides the Urban Simulation Laboratory with an improvement in visual realism in its capability to simulate and visualize the downtown Los Angeles area environment. The Urban Simulation Laboratory, part of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design, created a 3D fly/drive-through of the downtown Los Angeles area, which is used to perform research in urban planning.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

202.04 Boeing Use DDD at Airshow

DDD Group plc ("DDD") completed the delivery of four TriDef 3D Television systems to the Boeing Company to create a high impact presentation for their exhibit at this year's Farnborough International Airshow in England. The sale included four 50" 3D plasma screens, two of which were converted to 3D from Boeing's existing inventory of regular plasma screens. In addition to the screens, Boeing purchased two licenses of DDD's TriDef Transformer 3D conversion software. Boeing provided computer animation and design data from their visualization and design tools that was converted to 3D by DDD for inclusion in Boeing's presentation sequence.

URL: http://www.ddd.com

202.05 Emerson to View and Mark-up 3D CAD

Emerson has selected Cimmetry's AutoVue System as an enterprise-wide standard for reading and redlining engineering documents built on disparate software platforms. Emerson, a $15.5 billion leader in technology and engineering products and services, has 60-plus divisions, 120,000 employees, and operates 380 manufacturing locations around the world. AutoVue will allow Emerson to share engineering-related documents internally as well as with customers and suppliers-faster and less expensively. Emerson stakeholders will be able to view and mark-up 3D CAD parts and assemblies.

URL: http://www.cimmetry.com

202.06 Planetarium & Astronomy Museum Upgrade

Chicago's Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum has selected Evans & Sutherland's Digistar 3 to upgrade its StarRider Theater. The upgrade will include a complete Digistar 3 system as well as Digistar 3 Junior and Digistar Producer production support systems. Delivery of the production workstation will begin this year with installation scheduled to be complete early next year. Says Dr Paul Knappenberger, President, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. "We were the first to feature an E&S StarRider system, and we have had great success with it, running over 11,000 shows since it opened in January 1999." With Digistar 3, all of the tools needed for domed theater production and presentation are integrated into one package. The system combines a complete color star projection and astronomy package with a fully interactive, real-time 3D computer graphics system, adding all-dome video playback and digital surround sound. Other E&S theaters are at the Exploration Place Boeing CyberDome Theater in Wichita, Madame Tussaud's at New York City's Times Square, and the Galileo Planetarium in Montpellier, France.

URL: http://www.es.com

202.07 See Hitachi in i3D

Hitachi Data Systems has chosen Viewpoint Experience Technology for a 3D interactive tour that showcases the recently-announced Hitachi Freedom Storage Lighting 9900 V Series. The tour demonstrates some of the key features of the Hitachi storage system that are not apparent in 2D pictures and words alone.

URL: http://www.hds.com/

URL: http://www.viewpoint.com

202.08 3D InterOp Exchange and 3D Viz Exchange

Spatial Corp has released two new products, 3D InterOp Exchange and 3D Viz Exchange. Designed to provide tools to read and/or write standard and key 3D formats into any application, InterOp Exchange is a component that also provides "healing and repair functionality" to improve overall data quality. Viz Exchange is a component that provides functionality specific to the needs of the visualization market such as the use of full solid b-rep data for measurement, faceting and mock-up, as well as the ability to read and/or write standard 3D formats.

URL: http://www.spatial.com

202.09 Motion Capture on Video

From the homepage of Advanced Realtime Tracking (A.R.T.), a short video can be downloaded showing motion capture using A.R.T.´s IR-optical tracking system and Alias|Wavefront's MAYA software.

URL: http://www.ar-tracting.de

202.10 Free e-Book

Colin Haynes writes from South Africa: "While I was writing IT books in the US in the 90s, it seemed that VR would make a really positive contribution to the HIV/Aids problem by assisting people - particularly younger people - facing their own mortality. My next book is about such applications of VR and I am in touch with a number of non-profit organizations that need access to technologies that could simulate or demonstrate various aspects of NDE. Dr Mark Gillman, Director of the South African Brain Research Institute, and I have produced an ebook on Near Death Experience and the scientific reasons for such aspects as the "tunnel of light" and will be happy to make copies available without charge."

Email: haynes@kingsley.co.za

202.11 New Company - Old Hands

Acuity (Visual Acuity Limited) is a new company set-up to provide services and software to the growing number of applications and users of Collaborative Visualization. Based in the UK, Acuity's six founders have over 60 years experience in the visualization field. Two of the founding directors are Blair Parkin and Phil Sercombe. According to Mr Parkin, “the market size of large scale visualization centers now exceeds 1000 operating sites worldwide. There are a whole host of vendors of technology all promoting themselves as ‘solutions providers’. The Acuity founders realized the time was right for a truly independent, very experienced service provider”. The other founders are Hugh Creal, Joe Jurado, Frank Sheehan, and Simon Brereton.

URL: http://www.visual-acuity.com

202.12 Meet Entertain, Representing LithTech

LithTech, a US-based developer of licensable game technologies and tools, has appointed Entertain Ltd as European representatives to provide direct support and service to developers in the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Entertain will offer LithTech’s range of game development products. The LithTech Jupiter, Triton, Talon and Cobalt systems empower developers of 3D games and applications to focus on content creation rather than technology development. Paul Flanagan of Entertain writes: "Entertain will be attending VR World Congress V looking for partners who are interested in building interfaces between 3D modeling and CAD packages and their real-time, multiple-user 3D game environment. Entertain is marketing and supporting the technology behind The Matrix Online (MMOG) by Warner Brothers, Tron 2 by Disney, and The Operative and Alien Versus Predator 2 by Fox, amongst others."

URL: http://www.entertain.uk.com

URL: http://www.lithtechv.com

202.13 Automotive Design & Marketing

Thanks to Carol Hays for arranging a fascinating Siggraph briefing with Peter Mehlstaeubler, Vice President of Product Development, Alias|Wavefront, who explains how AutoStudio helps shave years off time-to-market cycle and plays pivotal role in interactive marketing and branding precedents with computer generated automotive renderings. AutoStudio is in use with major automotive manufacturers including General Motors, BMW, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Daimler Chrysler, among others. AutoStudio serves as the software tool kit for companies adopting a digital design process in the early stages of concept car development. Whereas companies once spent years using drawing boards and clay modeling to create and simulate auto prototypes, manufacturers now combine traditional tools with the use of advanced technology to speed up the process and funnel the ideation and creative design process from designer to modeler to engineer. With the average time-to-market rate (conception to production) dropping from between five to seven years to between 24-36 months over the last 10 years, automotive manufacturers are benefiting in many ways from a shortened production cycle. As the video gaming market is exploding into a $10 billion business (eclipsing even U.S. box office movie receipt returns), cultivating brand loyalty by introducing new auto designs to ‘gamers’ at an early age is a tactic that savvy marketing professionals are beginning to master. With increasing frequency, auto companies vie for their cars to be featured in high-selling games and, in many instances, a decision is made to give away the computer generated auto designs created through AutoStudio to game developers free of charge. Recognizing the promise that interactive visualization technology can have to potentially stimulate sales and build brand awareness among key target audiences, this form of marketing is still in its infancy but is expected to grow.

URL: http://www.aliaswavefront.com

202.14 Pixar, Exluna & NVIDIA

Pixar Animation Studios has settled its lawsuit against Exluna, Inc. Exluna was founded two years ago by a group of former Pixar artists to specialize in tools for creating 3D images for film and other media. Pixar's lawsuit alleged that Exluna's products infringed Pixar's patents for RenderMan. Now Exluna is being acquired by NVIDIA Corp. The acquisition is part of NVIDIA's strategy to bring "cinematic quality to real-time graphics" and add "core engineering competency and intellectual property" to its strategy.

URL: http://www.nvidia.com/view.asp

URL: http://www.pixar.com

202.15 One Activeworld's Merger Is Off

Aladdin Systems Inc. has agreed with Activeworlds Inc. to terminate a non-binding letter of intent for a merger of the two software companies. Aladdin, is continuing its merger discussions with Erevu Inc. Activeworlds was delisted from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market in May for failing to comply with four of the market's minimum listing requirements.

202.16 French Company Moves to Expand

SIMTEAM, the French VR specialist has moved to new facilities at 62 boulevard Davout - 75020 Paris, France.

URL: http://www.simteam.com

202.17 Look Who's Buying Shares in Sun

Sun Microsystems' Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, William Joy has just purchased one million common shares in the company for $3.93 to $4.01 a share.

202.18 Meet the CAD 3D Working Group in Paris, France

ParallelGraphics has joined forces with a number of 3D Graphics companies to establish the CAD (Computer Aided Design) 3D Working Group. The 3D Working Group seeks to define and develop a common CAD 3D format for Web usage. The Group is part of the Web 3D Consortium and members include CAD software vendors, CAD users, digital content creators and industry standards bodies. In addition to ParallelGraphics, the CAD 3D Working Group includes Intel, 3Dlabs, Actify, Adobe, ATI, Boeing, Dassault Systemes, Lattice Technology, mental images, Microsoft, Naval Postgraduate School, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), SGDL Systems, i3Dimensionsand Tech Soft America/OpenHSF.

URL: http://www.parallelgraphics.com


The Web3D Consortium is the non-profit organization with a mandate to develop and promote open standards to enable 3D Web and broadcast applications. They are to be represented and available for discussion at VR World Congress V in Paris, France on September 9th and 10th.

URL: http://www.web3d.org

202.19 US Patent for Multi-user VR System

Patent Number 6421047 has been issued for: "A computer-implemented multi-user virtual reality system that erects a networked virtual world for real time interaction amongst multiple participants. A computer-simulation of an animated world is network-distributed amongst participants, e.g., as a virtual world. The simulation accommodates multiple users whose computers are connected by a communications network. The users' computers need not be the same type of machine. Users can interact with one another and with the objects in the virtual world. The properties of objects in the virtual world, such as form, color, and behavior, are displayed on monitors and can be modified in real time while the simulation is running. Modifications to objects are stored and therefore persist, and can therefore bridge across computer system shutdowns and restarts."

202.20 Patent: CD Protection

Macrovision Corporation has been awarded U.S. Patent #6,353,890 for a method of copy protecting CD content ("Method for Copy Protecting a Record Carrier, Copy Protected Record Carrier and Means for Detecting Access Control Information"). The installed base of CD burners was over 120 million units at year-end 2001, and is estimated to reach over 200 million units by year-end 2002 worldwide.

URL: http://www.macrovision.com

202.21 People: VRCO

James G. "Butch" Fadely has joined the VRCO sales team as Senior Sales Manager. VRCO develops visualization solutions that integrate interactive, collaborative, and immersive technologies.

URL: http://www.vrco.com

202.22 Worth Watching: Virtual Receptionist

HP and Modern Business Technology, Inc. have been showing the MBT Virtual Receptionist. The standard configuration for Virtual Receptionist includes three Compaq Evo D500s series desktop PCs, two TFT5030 back-office monitors, one TFT5015 touch screen monitor for the front kiosk, three Logitech QuickCam Pro3000s, Altiris RapiDeploy cloning and configuration software, MBT's Virtual Receptionist software, speakers, hub, patch cables, kiosk and an ultrasonic sensor. "CUES has been using the Virtual Receptionist for just under one year and the response from both visitors and staff has been very positive," says Linda Stemper, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Credit Union Executives Society. "It makes a great first impression from a technology perspective and it has already paid for itself with the money we saved when we eliminated our receptionist position."

URL: http://www.hp.com
URL: http://www.modernbusinesstechnology.com

202.00 Events & Calls for Papers

202.23 VR World Congress V

VR World Congress V will be held in Paris, France on September 9th and 10th, 2002 and offers an exceptional opportunity to identify project partners to make proposals to the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme (the budget for the 5th was $3.5bn). A copy of the current working draft agenda is available. The delegate fee for this not-for-profit event is just $150 and, as numbers are limited, early registration will be essential.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

202.24 PRESENCE 2002

PRESENCE 2002, Portugal on October 9-11, 2002

URL: http://www.presence-research.org

202.25 Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002

ACM Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002: Bonn, Germany - September 30-October 2, 2002. CVE 2002 is a conference dedicated to the design, development and use of collaborative virtual environments (CVEs).

URL: http://www.cve2002.org/

202.26 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics

2003 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics: California, USA - April 27 to 30, 2003. Papers Deadline: 15 September 2002

URL: http://movesinstitute.org/I3D.html

202.27 SIGGRAPH 2003

ACM SIGGRAPH is dedicated to the generation and dissemination of information on computer graphics and interactive techniques: San Diego, California, USA - July 27-31, 2003 (Early abstracts & proposals by October 31, 2002).

URL: http://www.siggraph.org

202.28 More Events

For information on events relevant to the VR/i3D community, VREfresh recommends the web sites below.

URL: http://www.elpub.org/base05.htm

URL: http://www.elpub.org/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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