Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 6th March 2003

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The Mobile Content Services Conference

In this issue we again make reference to mobile VR/i3D, an area of increasing interest to the community. The Mobile Content Services Conference - "Content on the Move" takes place on March 14, 2003 in The Netherlands. While network technology and equipment for mobility will be ready, is there enough proper content for people on the move? Will content creators, syndicators and providers take advantage of these personalization and location-based opportunities? Also see items 21, 22 and 23 in this issue.

URL: http://premium.mediaplaza.nl/ec140302

Users, Applications & Projects
01 Fast and Interactive Presentation
02 Virtual Petra
03 Renault F1 Team's 3D Modeling Environment
04 Compelling Designs Keep Company Competitive
05 Audus Noble Design, Development and Research in 3D
06 Boeing CyberDome Theater
07 Immersive, High-Definition Theater for Science Center
08 Designing the Black & Decker Workmate
09 Visualization on the Grid at Hokkaido University
10 Advanced Graphics for Product Development

Products & Services
11 Walkinside 3.0
12 High-Level 3D Graphics Library with C++ API
13 Kaydara FBX-XSI Plug-in
14 MOTIONBUILDER for $100
15 Animation Masters Seminar
16 SolidWorks 3D Skills Program
17 Manufacturing Design Solutions
18 Three Visual Processors for Desktop PCs
19 Useful for Video Streamers

Companies & Markets
20 Licensing & Distribution Agreement for Superscape
21 Superscape Cost Reductions & Redundancies
22 Discreet & Game Developers (including mobiles)
23 ATI & Nintendo
24 3Dlabs & ATI Technologies Collaboration
25 Autodesk Acquisitions
26 Congratulations to ATI
27 MultiGen-Paradigm to Support AMD

Observations
28 Sounds Good to Me: Lake & Dolby

Events & Calls for Papers

222.01 Fast and Interactive Presentation

According to Joern Erdmann, Project Design Manager, Blohm & Voss Thyssen Krupp: "We have chosen Walkinside 3.0 because of its unique ability to visualize complex building like a cruise vessel, submarine or a private yacht. Special effects like material assignments, the possibility to animate water and simulate fire makes the 3D-model much more realistic. The benefit of using the Walkinside 3.0 Viewer Pro is to provide a fast and interactive presentation for the ex-and interior styling and the viewing of technical rooms like engine- room, gearbox, aircushion, etc. It becomes much easier to locate problems on a 3D view than on a 2D view technical drawing. Also the client gets a better feeling of the size and arrangement of the rooms. Another reason is the possibility to locate and to discuss problems on the 3D model in-house, with consortium-partners, designers, architects or the client via internet connection."

URL: http://www.walkinside.com
URL: http://www.vrcontext.com

222.02 Virtual Petra

Thanks to Dr Frederic Fol Leymarie of Brown University, Rhode Island, USA for telling us about a grant of more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation supporting Professor Martha Joukowsky who is receiving assistance from a team of engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists and artists. Together they are using technology to capture and restore aspects of the Great Temple of Petra for future generations. The multi-faceted project bridges research in the physical sciences and humanities.

URL: http://www.brown.edu/gsj/vol27/27GSJ19a.html
URL: http://www.lems.brown.edu/shape/

222.03 Renault F1 Team's 3D Modeling Environment

VISTAGY, Inc., a developer of CAD integrated software for composite design and manufacturing, has sold $1.4 million of FiberSIM software and training services to the Renault F1 Team in England. The software will be used primarily to design and manufacture composite body parts for the Renault F1 Team cars. "The composite parts we design must meet strict FIA standards for strength and resistance to impact," says Alan Duerden, CAD Support Engineer for Renault F1 Team. "FiberSIM helps us to achieve these standards prior to testing and ensure part durability, quality, and repeatability." FiberSIM software enables engineers to create a complete digital product definition of a composite part within their 3D modeling environment. FiberSIM tools automate design and analysis and generate manufacturing information including documentation, flat patterns, and data to drive laser projectors, automated cutters and fiber placement machines.

URL: http://www.vistagy.com

222.04 Compelling Designs Keep Company Competitive

The world's leading ladder manufacturer and distributor will use 3D CAD and product data management (PDM) software to dramatically shorten its design cycle time. SolidWorks' modeling capabilities will enable Werner Co to increase product development and quickly migrate from static 2D drawings to 3D solid models. The ability to visualize products in 3D will help Werner Co troubleshoot potential design flaws, reducing the number of expensive prototypes it builds, and speeding products to customers. "Working in 2D limited our ability to transform our ideas into compelling designs that we could use to stay competitive," said John Fiumefreddo, vice president of engineering and new product development at Werner Co. "Designing new products for the climbing industry requires building several prototypes that the marketing team must try out," said Fiumefreddo. "The feel of these products is essential. If they feel too clunky, or too flimsy, they won't sell."

URL: http://www.solidworks.com

222.05 Audus Noble Design, Development and Research in 3D

Within one of the most comprehensive independent plastic conversion facilities in Europe, Audus Noble has been solving packaging problems since 1964. From being the first UK company to mould a plastic sweet jar, Audus Noble Ltd today offers a wide range of PVC, Poly Ethylene Terephtalate (PET), and Injection Molded containers to companies such as Nestle and Jeyes. The company has recently adopted the PURE virtual photography CAD visualization solution from ART VPS, and is using this within its design and development department. The company adopted PURE to assist in its objective of reducing the number of physical prototypes built throughout the product development process.

By using PURE's 3D visualization technology, Audus Noble are able to visualize proposed product designs. The design department at Audus Noble employs Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks and Alias|Wavefront software to design and model new product designs. Detailed models are created of the design and then these designs are visualized. As well as its use in design evaluation and prototyping, Audus Noble is using the virtual photographs to help in market research and market promotion for new product designs.

URL: http://www.audusnoble.co.uk
URL: http://www.artvps.com

222.06 Boeing CyberDome Theater

Exploration Place, an interactive creative learning center in Wichita, Kansas, has announced the purchase of Evans & Sutherland's digital all-dome imaging system, Digistar 3, for its Boeing CyberDome Theater. Digistar 3's technology is claimed to slash the cost of building and running a planetarium or domed theater and simultaneously open up a new realm of experiences to audiences. Announcing their purchase, Martin Ratcliffe, director of the Boeing CyberDome, said: "It can do so much. It can take audiences on cinematic voyages throughout the universe of stars, galaxies, and planets. It can create and play back complex scenes filled with three-dimensional models that will immerse audiences in all kinds of virtual experiences."

URL: http://www.es.com

222.07 Immersive, High-Definition Theater for Science Center

Sci-Quest, the North Alabama Science Center, claims to be the first science center in the United States to offer interactivity in an immersive, high-definition theater facility. The Immersive Theater was designed and integrated by SGI. It features 6.2 surround-sound in a 56-seat i3D environment. Visiting students, from fourth grade to college level, will experience and interact with the world's scientific discoveries. Sci-Quest and SGI have also created a graphics and engineering design lab, which includes Silicon Graphics Fuel visual workstations. High-school-level science clubs, college students and industry professionals will be able to perform engineering and graphic design projects in the lab and then render their final product through the SGI Onyx 300 system onto the 26.6x12-ft screen in the Immersive Theater.

Future plans include a federal grant that has been approved by the Congress and the president that will fund installation of two other Reality Center technology-based interactive science theater facilities in Alabama. Horne anticipates immersive facilities with interactivity will be a popular idea for smaller science centers around the country. Funding for the Immersive Theater is part of a $2.925 million grant from NASA. SGI Professional Services, as prime contractor, and Alabama-based subcontractors COLSA Corporation and Sentar combined efforts and began work last June to develop the immersive, interactive learning system.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

222.08 Designing the Black & Decker Workmate

Moldflow Plastics Advisers and Moldflow Plastics Insight software products played a critical role in enabling DW Product Development to successfully redesign the Black & Decker Workmate 375 by incorporating plastic injection molded components. This was a critical element in Black & Decker's ability to not only compete, but also to regain market share lost to smaller, lighter clones being produced by lower cost of labor countries. In order to answer this challenge, DW created a re-designed Workmate featuring injection-molded plastic jaws that reduced weight and increased portability.

Aldo Balatti, DW's senior design engineer, used Moldflow Plastics Advisers software to the reduce trial and error, be more aggressive with part design, improve quality, and slash time to market during the product re-design. "We investigated the handle of the jaw as an optimal gate location," says Balatti. "The analysis proved we could eliminate knit lines and other cosmetic issues using this approach." Colin Dyke, Black & Decker's global vice-president of engineering, adds, "The Black & Decker Workmate 375 is a great example of outside suppliers working together with B&D project managers to deliver a world class product. DW's expertise in product design and CAD, and Moldflow's simulation software applied to high performance plastics resulted in a long-time B&D product line moving forward to a new level in a very short time frame."

URL: http://www.moldflow.com

222.09 Visualization on the Grid at Hokkaido University

SGI Japan Ltd. has delivered an Onyx 300 visualization system to the Hokkaido University Computing Center in Sapporo, Japan. Its intended use is in the emerging field of visualization on the grid. Using the 32-processor SGI Onyx 300 system as its research platform, the center is set to become a cornerstone of grid computing in Japan, allowing users to leverage real-time visualization of high-volume data in remote environments. Using the university's grid computing environment, Hokkaido University researchers will conduct various projects requiring large-scale data visualization, such as post-genomic, nanotechnology and environmental studies. They will also work in conjunction with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and with research centers at other Japanese universities. Visualization on the grid is enabled by the SGI concept of Visual Area Networking.

The Hokkaido University system can be accessed by all types of desktop and mobile client computers, creating collaborative work environments for research teams across different universities. Visual Area Networking is based on the idea that the large data sets behind complex images can be stored and processed in one place but can be accessed and manipulated by people using any client device, either by themselves or collaboratively across existing networks.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

222.10 Advanced Graphics for Product Development

Thanks to Thomas Tannert, a VREfresh reader with Manufacturing Industry Marketing at SGI for pointing us to an interesting article on how the US government is using advanced graphics for product development.

URL: http://www.deskeng.com/articles/03/feb/cover/main.htm

222.11 Walkinside 3.0

VRcontext has introduced Walkinside 3.0, a new release of its 3D visualization and simulation software. Based on a proprietary graphic engine and using open GL technology, this enables the user to directly convert complex 3D CAD models such as power plants, offshore platforms, process facilities, large buildings, containing up to 120 million polygons into interactive virtual worlds. The application runs on Windows and is also available for SGI IRIX 64 bit operating system on a multi pipes version. A Linux version is scheduled to appear very soon.

URL: http://www.walkinside.com
URL: http://www.vrcontext.com

222.12 High-Level 3D Graphics Library with C++ API

Coin is a high-level 3D graphics library with a C++ Application Programming Interface. Its target audience is developers of 3D graphics applications worldwide. A new version includes major additions in functionality such as: handling huge texture-maps, 3D texture support, 3D sound support and more. Other improvements include performance optimizations for faster rendering, a better framework for download and deployment on Microsoft Windows platforms and many documentation improvements. Coin is based on the SGI Open Inventor API and uses scene graph data structures to render real-time graphics suitable for mostly all kinds of scientific and engineering visualization applications.

Coin 2.0 is Free Software released publicly under the GNU General Public License ("GPL"), and is also available for any proprietary use under a Professional Edition License (Coin PEL). The price for becoming a Coin PEL holder is USD 2,000 per developer per year. There are no royalties. Among users of Coin are General Electric, Caterpillar, Shell, Statoil, HitecO, Midland Valley, Fedem Technology and ConocoPhilips. Examples of users of Coin under the Free Software license are CERN, NASA, the Vienna University of Technology, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

URL: http://www.coin3d.org
URL: http://www.sim.no

222.13 Kaydara FBX-XSI Plug-in

The Kaydara FBX-XSI plug-in has been announced to provide XSI users with a seamless pathway for the acquisition and exchange of 3D data between SOFTIMAGE|XSI, Kaydara MOTIONBUILDER, and other Kaydara FBX partners. This free FBX-XSI plug-in enables visual effects and animation artists to access a wealth of content through Kaydara's extensive network of FBX partners. Kaydara's FBX is a widely-used 3D file interchange format for content creators wishing to acquire, author, and re-purpose 3D and mixed-media data. FBX is widely supported by 3D content and streaming media vendors.

URL: http://www.kaydara.com

222.14 MOTIONBUILDER for $100

Kaydara has also announced the availability of the MOTIONBUILDER Personal Edition (PE) for artists, 3D enthusiasts, students and freelancers. MOTIONBUILDER PE is a full one-year production license of MOTIONBUILDER, Kaydara's character animation software, which includes printed documentation, upgrades and customer support. Priced at $100 until July 31, 2003, MOTIONBUILDER PE is available now through Kaydara's Web site, and Kaydara's educational partner 3D Buzz.

URL: http://www.kaydara.com
URL: http://www.3dbuzz.com

222.15 Animation Masters Seminar

Oregon3DSM Animation Masters Seminar is scheduled for March 22. This one-day class will explore the world of animation from a general overview to the current state of animation as a career. Taught by Andrew Gordon, Pixar animator, and Mike Wellins, an award-winning former director from Will Vinton Studios, this class will include minute details on creating animation, filmmaking and editing. Using specific examples from films and television, Gordon and Wellins will discuss animation fundamentals and principles, animation directing, the basics of performance staging, blocking and story telling, editing for emotion, and classic character animation.

URL: http://www.oregon3d.com

222.16 SolidWorks 3D Skills Program

The SolidWorks 3D Skills Program, an initiative to give designers and engineers an opportunity to learn 3D CAD skills, has been launched. The Program includes a license of SolidWorks software plus introductory training and support. The license is valid for 90 days of personal, non-commercial use at no cost with options for renewal. Since Personal Edition is a non-commercial version, models created with it cannot be shared with users of the commercial version.

URL: http://www.solidworks.com/3dskills

222.17 Manufacturing Design Solutions

Thomas Register, the supply-chain purchasing information resource, has announced that its CADRegister.com site supports all of Autodesk's manufacturing design solutions, including Autodesk Inventor giving users simplified access to CADRegister.com's database of manufacturing-specific 3D solid models from over 280 companies.

URL: http://www.CADRegister.com

222.18 Three Visual Processors for Desktop PCs

ATI Technologies Inc has simultaneously launched three visual processors for desktop PCs. The RADEON 9800 PRO is the fastest available, the RADEON 9600 series delivers performance with price tags to appeal to a broader market and the RADEON 9200 series is designed for the mainstream market. Gateway, Fujitsu Siemens and NEC are all announcing systems powered by the new RADEON boards. Gaming-focused system integrators have also chosen the new RADEON products: ABS Computers, Alienware Corp., CyberPower, Falcon Northwest, iBuyPower, MDG, and Voodoo PC will include RADEON products in their current and upcoming systems.

URL: http://www.ati.com

222.19 Useful for Video Streamers

Discreet has cleaner XL for Microsoft Windows. Based on the latest Microsoft .NET technology, cleaner XL is a successor to its cleaner 5 streaming and encoding software with performance improvements allowing professionals to master and encode video content for output to all major digital media formats; from Web streaming and DVD to wireless, PDA and mobile distribution. Industry analyst, Michael Gartenberg of Jupiter Research, states that streaming video is one of the top three tech choices for 2003. Gartenberg reported, "Streaming (content) quality has never been higher, and the cost has never been lower. New technologies from Microsoft Windows Media, RealNetworks and Apple are near broadcast quality with relatively low bandwidth penalties. If companies host or televise live events, they can now make use of the Internet and streaming video to improve returns on these expenditures at dramatically lower costs." (Computerworld, January 27, 2003)

URL: http://www.discreet.com/cleanerXL

222.20 Licensing & Distribution Agreement for Superscape

Disco Corporation, a 100% owned subsidiary of Taito Corporation and Wirebee Inc has signed a licensing and distribution agreement with Superscape plc. Disco and Wirebee will jointly promote Superscape's 3D Swerve enabling technology for mobile phones and PDAs to the Japanese marketplace. Swerve has been developed by Superscape specifically for wireless platforms, providing the ability to deliver a wide range of 3D applications including games and menuing systems.

URL: http://www.superscape.com

222.21 Superscape Cost Reductions & Redundancies

Superscape has implemented a programme of cost reductions including 26 staff redundancies. RTZ, the Spanish company Superscape acquired in 2000 for c$600,000, has been turned over to the local management team for "nil consideration." Following this restructuring, the Directors believe that overhead expenses will be reduced by £1.7 million on an annualised basis. In the year ended 31st January 2002, the directors' emoluments were £809,000. Superscape turnover for the six month period ended 31 July 2002 was £0.5m and the loss before taxation amounted to £4.9m.

URL: http://www.superscape.com

222.22 Discreet & Game Developers (including mobiles)

Discreet has been showcasing its game development solutions at the Game Developers Conference 2003 (GDC) in San Jose, California. Discreet presented its 3ds max animation and modeling software, character studio character animation software, and gmax modification software in demonstrations and special training sessions with examples from PC, console and online titles, as well as upcoming wireless games. Discreet used GDC to announce the 3ds max Game Export Interface, a new extension to 3ds max software's Software Development Kit (SDK).

The software includes a set of C++ programming interfaces to improve the ease and increase the speed of writing game export tools for target platforms. Discreet is now supporting Microsoft's DirectX 9.0 programming interface. With DirectX 9.0 compatibility, 3ds max takes advantage of shading technologies from graphic card NVIDIA and ATI. Using 3ds max 5.1 software's viewport manager, game developers can directly access graphics and preview their in-game effects "live" while they build characters and game levels. Discreet and Superscape plc showed wireless 3D gaming software. Superscape's Swerve technology, running on 3ds max, allows companies to deliver wireless content including 3D games, user interfaces and messaging for cell phones. The first wireless titles to launch using Swerve and 3ds max technology include Cybiko Wireless Inc.'s Stop Thief as well as THQ Wireless' MotoGP, and Astrosmash!

URL: http://www.superscape.com
URL: http://sparks.discreet.com
URL: http://www.discreet.com

222.23 ATI & Nintendo

ATI Technologies has entered into a technology development agreement with Nintendo Co, Ltd. Under the agreement, the companies are developing technologies for use in Nintendo products, but no other details are being made available at this time.

URL: http://www.ati.com

222.24 3Dlabs & ATI Technologies Collaboration

3Dlabs and ATI Technologies are collaborating with the RenderMonkey shader development tool suite. Under the terms of an agreement, ATI will continue evolving the core RenderMonkey framework, and both companies will develop plug-in modules that support the Microsoft HLSL and OpenGL 2.0 high-level shading languages (HLSL). This joint collaboration should provide enhanced functionality to game developers and content creators who use RenderMonkey to create complex shader programs in 3D applications. RenderMonkey is currently available from ATI with support for HLSL shaders. As a result of this collaboration, OpenGL 2.0 support for RenderMonkey will be distributed free from both companies.

URL: http://www.3Dlabs.com
URL: http://www.ati.com

222.25 Autodesk Acquisitions

Autodesk has acquired the assets of two software companies, truEInnovations, Inc, and Linius Technologies, Inc, as well as an agreement to purchase certain assets of a third software company, VIA Development Corporation. The move advances the company's goal of delivering a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that meets the needs of manufacturing customers. These acquisitions are intended to help Autodesk customers create 3D models of both electrical and mechanical components of their products, document all of the systems inherent to these products, and manage and share design data inside the engineering workgroup and throughout its internal and external enterprise.

URL: http://www.trueinnovations.com
URL: http://www.viadevelopment.com
URL: http://www.linius.com
URL: http://www.autodesk.com

222.26 Congratulations to ATI

ATI Technologies Inc has shipped its one millionth DirectX 9 compliant cinematic visual processing unit (VPU). Most, if not all, DirectX 9-class games currently on the market or in development have used ATI products as the development platform. ATI has seeded the game development community with thousands of RADEON 9700 and RADEON 9500 products.

URL: http://www.ati.com

222.27 MultiGen-Paradigm to Support AMD

MultiGen-Paradigm intends to support the impending AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 processors with Vega Prime, its realtime 3D application development environment for visual simulation, sensor simulation, simulation based training, and urban simulation. Planned support within Vega Prime and VSG will include continued development and testing of Vega Prime on AMD's 64-bit technology. The AMD 64-bit processors will feature high-speed, scalable system busses using HyperTransport technology, which is intended to increase overall performance by removing or reducing I/O bottlenecks, increasing bandwidth and reducing latency. The processor will also include an integrated memory controller, which AMD believes will boost performance by directly connecting the processor to the memory and reducing memory latency.

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

222.28 Sounds Good to Me

If you haven't experienced the way in which sound can enrich and enhance experiencing VR/i3D - it's time you did! Sufficient recognition to the way audio suspends real-world surroundings is not yet commonplace, but it will be. Two positive steps for the uninitiated to explore are:

Lake Technology is about to launch the new Lake Contour DSP-based loudspeaker processor, featuring a wireless remote interface. Lake Contour, named for its sound reshaping capabilities, has been developed from the hardware platform utilized by Clair Brothers for the company's Lake-designed and manufactured Clair iO. Clair Bros. has already put 500 units out on tours with a variety of artists, from Sir Paul McCartney to Beck, and has an additional 500 units on order. Now available to sound companies, contractors, and facility owners, Lake Contour incorporates new software tools and hardware.

URL: http://www.laketechnology.com

Dolby Laboratories has formed a new PC game developer program to help developers incorporate high-quality Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in their PC games. Building on the Dolby's program for console game developers, the program for PC game developers will provide the same level of support and service. The new program includes training on Dolby audio development tools, quality assurance, and worldwide technical support. Some of the best-selling PC titles over the past year have utilized Dolby Digital technology via the pilot version of the new PC developer program, including America's Army, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Delta Force: Black Hawk Down.

URL: http://www.dolby.com

222.00 Events

To make the VREfresh file smaller for you to download, you will find new event announcements in each issue. Expanded details are available at the VREfresh Web Site.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

March 22-26: IEEE VR2003: Los Angeles, USA
April 1-2: OpenSG, Darmstadt, Germany
April 3: 3Dims VR workshop, Frankfurt, Germany
April 27-30: 2003 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics: California, USA
May 7-9: Casa'2003, New Jersey, USA
May 13-18: Laval Virtual Reality International Conference, Laval, France
May 22-23: Joint IPT/EGVE '03 Workshop, Zurich, Switzerland
June 3-5: EurographicsUK 2003, Birmingham, England
July 10-11: Vision, Video and Graphics 2003, Bath, UK
July 27 - 31: Siggraph 2003, San Diego, California, USA
September 1-6: Eurographics 2003, Granada, Spain


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.
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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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