Elpub button Virtual Reality News: 24th October 2001

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VREfresh #172
Thursday, October 24, 2001, London, UK

Fraunhofer Gets First TAN

VR-CUBE TAN Projektionstechnologie located in Duesseldorf, Germany has set up the first TAN VR-CUBE using DLP projectors in active stereo mode. The Fraunhofer Institute IPK in Berlin opened the 5-sided room with TAN's latest projection technology. "We want to use this VR environment for different steps in the Virtual Product Development process," says Askan Striepe, the Project Manager at Fraunhofer IPK.

"We have chosen this new technology from TAN because of its high brightness, which is 8 times more than standard CRT projectors and because of the unsurpassed color clarity together with the well known active stereo functionality." TAN supplies active stereo systems using DLP projectors at up to 10000 ANSI lumens.

URL: http://www.tan.de/

System for Murphy Oil / Fakespace, Stereographics

Fakespace Systems and SGI have provided a visualization system to Murphy Oil Company Limited in Calgary, Canada. The system enables geologists, geophysicists and engineers to work together in a collaborative visualization environment. Murphy Oil Corporation is a worldwide leader in oil and gas exploration and production. Its Canadian division has worked with high-performance, collaborative computing and display systems in several joint projects in facilities owned by partner companies.

The Calgary office selected the SGI Reality Center visualization facility based on Onyx2 systems and an 8-foot by 16-foot Fakespace Systems WorkWall as the visualization system for its application requirements. "In many of our active offshore exploration projects, we are dealing with extremely large amounts of volumetric data," says Duncan W McMaster, general manager, East Coast Exploration at Murphy Oil Company Limited. "The new visualization center improves our ability to understand these huge data sets and speeds our ability to make effective drilling decisions." A key feature of the system, according to McMaster, is the ability for groups to work with seismic data in a truly collaborative environment, instead of a more passive, theater-type setting.

The custom- designed system developed by Fakespace Systems and SGI provides a 5,000 lumens per projector display that allows participants to work with stereoscopic subsurface simulations in a well-lit room where they can also reference notes, print-outs and drawings.

URL: http://www.sgi.com/
URL: http://www.fakespacesystems.com/

Murphy Oil is using Stereographics' CrystalEyes3 stereoscopic eyewear. CrystalEyes 3 works with all stereo-enabled graphics cards and software applications. It is compatible with all computer operating systems including Linux, UNIX, Windows 2000 and Windows NT workstations. All leading GIS/mapping, molecular modeling, industrial VR and MCAD software developers support stereoscopic viewing and are compatible with CrystalEyes 3.

URL: http://www.stereographics.com/

StereoGraphics Corporation is shipping CrystalEyes 3 wireless liquid crystal shuttering eyewear and a new E-2 emitter. The new eyewear features increased range and longer battery life; the new E-2 emitter allows operator adjustment of the I/R signal. Specifically, the new electronics in CrystalEyes 3 now provide over 800 hours of continuous operation -- more than three times the battery life of earlier CrystalEyes 3s. In addition, CrystalEyes 3 will now sync with a StereoGraphics' emitter at 10% further away from the emitter. The new CrystalEyes 3 maintains a suggested list price of $795 and the E-2 carries a suggested list price of $200.

URL: http://www.stereographics.com/

Fakespace Systems has demonstrated the latest release of ENOVIA DMU Solutions, Dassault Systemes' solution for collaboration and visualization, supporting full immersive environment capabilities in the CAVE (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment). The company demonstrated the results of a collaborative program with Dassault Systemes, in order to enable DMU users to work with stereoscopic imagery. DMU users can now work with advanced visualization and VR capabilities in the Fakespace Systems CAVE. The demonstration showed that CAD Models in ENOVIA DMU Navigator can be fully displayed and manipulated in stereoscopic view, using easy menu commands within the multi-walled CAVE environment. The full immersive capability supported in ENOVIA DMU Solutions includes head and motion tracking, and six-degree-of freedom interactivity.

URL: http://www.fakespacesystems.com/

Schlumberger Oilfield Services

Schlumberger Oilfield Services has opened its Houston iCenter collaboration and VR center. This secure networked collaborative facility enables experts to maximize the use of real-time initiatives to enhance decision-making and planned actions. "Our new iCenter will empower clients to make critical, informed decisions to improve well productivity and reduce uncertainty," says David Mullen, president of Schlumberger Oilfield Services for North and South America. "This latest deployment of our iCenter gives our clients access to leading-edge immersive technology backed by Schlumberger industry domain experts." In addition to the Houston iCenter, Schlumberger has other implementations of the iCenter in Cambridge, Ridgefield and Stavanger. Schlumberger revenue was $9.61 billion in 2000.

URL: http://www.slb.com/

History & Archaeology

A Columbia University research group involving computer scientists, environmental engineers, archaeologists, art historians, classicists and preservationists is developing computer modeling techniques that promise to open historic structures and archaeological sites to more visually detailed, accurate and efficient examination.

The team, led by the principal investigator, Professor Peter Allen, a computer scientist at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, received $2m in funding over five years from the National Science Foundation to develop the tools, which will be tested at Columbia's new excavation at Amheida in Egypt's Dakhleh Oasis in the western desert and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, near the Columbia campus on Morningside Heights in New York City.

The Dakhleh Oasis site, because it is undamaged, of significant size and previously unexcavated, promises to be one of the most important digs in Egypt, providing a unique opportunity to understand the peoples and cultures of western Egypt and the central issues of Egyptian settlement archaeology. "Typically in the past, researchers have had to use laborious and inefficient hand measurement techniques to create a 3D model," said Allen. "It's not very accurate and it can not capture rich detail. By using high-resolution laser scanning, we can do it much more efficiently and quickly." This dynamic model, Allen said, will be linked to a database of the entire site, which will help record and annotate archaeological information and the physical environment; target opportunities for further excavation; conserve structures and artifacts and reconstruct their context for an interpretive center for visitors to the site in Egypt.

URL: http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~allen/ITR/

Web-based Interactive Collaboration for Menasha

Menasha Packaging's Outback Packaging & Technical Center is utilizing ConceptStation, the web-based interactive collaborative environment. Menasha Packaging is made up of packaging plants nationwide, designing and producing a variety of structures that protect products during shipment, storage and use, and provide creative graphic and structural design. RealityWave's ConceptStation is a web-based interactive collaborative environment for 3D and 2D viewing and mark-up which includes enhanced measurement capabilities, PDM integration, and wire-frame view modes.

"Menasha Corporation has a long-standing tradition of supplying its customers with the most advanced products and for employing the latest in technology," said David Bartholomew, Menasha Outback Packaging & Technical Center. "With plants nationwide we need the ability to communicate instantly on our Solid Edge models with customers, vendors, and of course each other."

URL: http://www.realitywave.com/
URL: http://www.menasha.com/

Fourth Report Shows 17% Downturn & 18.5% Internet Delivery

CyberEdge Information Services (CEIS) has published "The Market for Visual Simulation/Virtual Reality Systems, Fourth Edition." The report shows the VizSim Industry contracting around 17%. Highlights are "The VizSim market is valued at $22 billion in 2001. 8,512 organizations are involved in the industry worldwide. The average VizSim system costs $92,000. Top business applications of VizSim are Virtual prototyping, Museum/Exhibition, and Design evaluation. 18.5% of systems use the Internet to deliver content." The Report is available for $2,500.

URL: http://www.cyberedge.com/

French Automotive Market Entry

Opticore has entered the French market and opened an office with the addition of Renault and AB Volvo-owned Renault V.I. to its customer list. In order to better facilitate growing product demand, Opticore will establish a French office. Renault Design is to expand its set of digital visualization tools with Opus Realizer, focusing on technical surface model validation and interior design review. Opticore was chosen from a field of four contenders after benchmark testing conducted jointly by Renault and Nissan under the management of Christophe Dupont, General Manager, Digital Design and Systems, Renault Design.

Opticore is a leading developer of real-time 3D software for interactive product and process visualization. Leading manufacturing companies such as Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Volvo, Nokia and Honda use Opticore software-based applications in areas such as design, engineering, manufacturing and marketing. Opticore is a privately owned company with corporate headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden and local offices in Detroit, Michigan and Tokyo, Japan.

URL: http://www.opticore.com/

Entertainment Entry

Atlantis Cyberspace, Inc has announced its first products, Atlantis OS and Abyss. Atlantis OS is an operating system for the immersive entertainment industry. Atlantis OS converts off-the-shelf PC consumer games like Quake and Unreal Tournament into 3D VR experiences. The Abyss is a head-to-head VR system built around the Atlantis OS and configured with pods for 4 or 8 players and a fully networked system will handle up to 16 players simultaneously, including those in other locations, and includes a mission control for the system operator, a membership card-dispensing teller machine, and pre- and post-mission briefing equipment.

The Abyss' back-end system analyzes, stores and distributes management information such as game revenues and utilizations. Atlantis Cyberspace plans to sell the turnkey 8-pod Abyss for $310,000 and the 4-pod Abyss for $250,000. Suggested retail price for LBEs is five dollars ($5) per Abyss player game. Atlantis Cyberspace makes an API licensable version of its operating system for use by other VR system manufacturers available on a negotiated basis.

URL: http://vr-atlantis.com/

Exporter for Maya Virtools

Exporter for Maya combines Maya's 3D modeling and animation software with Virtools Dev 2.0's behavioral features to bring interactivity to 3D content. The Virtools Exporter for Maya enables the export of 3D models, lights, cameras, materials, textures and animations into Virtools Dev 2.0. Maya's bones, skin, and vertex colors features are also supported. Users can also drag and drop interactive behaviors from the Virtools behavior library (more than 400 building blocks) onto exported 3D objects to create interactive 3D applications for e- learning, e-marketing or games, on the web or CD-ROM.

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

Lightworks for Mac

LightWorks has been released for Mac OS X. Support of LightWorks on Mac OS X is a major part of LightWork Design's commitment to providing its customers with cross-platform toolkit solutions to their end-users' needs. The company's products are used in more than 150 software applications worldwide and by one million 3D software users.

URL: http://www.lightworkdesign.com/


BOXX Technologies has announced the 3DBOXX R1 series of workstations and the RenderBOXX R1 series of rendering systems now include the new AMD Athlon MP processor with QuantiSpeed architecture and Smart MP technology. The 3DBOXX R1 and RenderBOXX R1 systems are available in single and dual processor configurations and are optimized for creating and rendering 3D content and animation using popular software programs such as Maya, 3D Studio MAX, Softimage 3D, LightWave 3D, and Houdini.

URL: http://www.boxxtech.com/

Cimmetry & e4eNet License

e4eNet Inc, a provider of real-time web-based engineering collaboration solutions, has licensed Cimmetry's Java-based 3D visualization technology for use in its Mechanical Design Manager application. e4eNet's web-based collaboration solutions provide users with an environment where they can securely collaborate on all aspects of product design no matter where they are geographically located.

URL: http://www.cimmetry.com/
URL: http://www.e4enet.com/


NVIDIA Corporation and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation have announced the creation of a broad strategic alliance, which includes three elements: NVIDIA licensed its Shader Technology to E&S; the companies agreed to a broad cross-license of technology; and NVIDIA acquired 3D graphics patents from E&S.

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

IMSI & Caligari Agree

Caligari Corporation and IMSI have announced an agreement whereby both companies will offer each other's flagship products. Caligari will resell IMSI's TurboCAD 2D layout, presentation, and dimensioning for 3D drawings. IMSI will resell Caligari trueSpace5 3D modeling and animation program. In addition to offering complementary features, the two products can easily exchange files in a variety of formats, including DXF, SAT, 3DS, and VRML.

URL: http://www.caligari.com/


Spatial Corp and Tech Soft America (TSA) have announced the OpenHSF Initiative and the first publication of the HSF Specification. Intended to provide an open visualization file format that meets the needs of the industry, the OpenHSF Initiative was designed to deliver the preferred solution to the visual interoperability problem. "DaimlerChrysler Corporation supports the idea of an open visualization initiative and applauds Spatial and TSA for their efforts. Their OpenHSF Initiative could have far ranging effects across multiple industries", says Dr Gopalan Mukundan, Research & Technology Process Manager, DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

URL: http://www.openhsf.org/

A blaxxun Perspective

German-based blaxxun interactive has a new CEO to leave founder and president, Franz Buchenberger, free to concentrate on strategic development and key account business. The CEO is Gregory Blepp, formerly with Network Associates, Computer Associates, and Mitsubishi. The fiscal year ending 31 July 2001 has been blaxxun’s most successful year in its six year history. The company managed to increase revenues from Euro 6.6 m to more than Euro 7 m while at the same time reducing costs.

blaxxun community software is now offered in ASP format by EINSTEINet, providing small and medium sized companies applications like chat, forums, customer clubs and even complete online communities for a monthly charge. Also blaxxun interactive is partnering with the provider of logistic technology, Siemens Dematic AG. The goal of the union is to expand the existing offerings of SAP R/3 and mySAP with the communications features of the blaxxun Virtual Worlds Platform.

The combined integrated solution allows end-to-end handling of all communications and business processes in vendor and distributor networks as well as with end-customer business – all on the Internet. blaxxun has been presenting its customized e-learning solution which combines e-learning functionality with knowledge management. Uses for the platform are from training seminars, knowledge distribution and quality control, for both internal and external company networks. blaxxun’s e-learning solution allows, in addition to self-study, independent formation of study groups.

Documents, graphics, videos and/or 3D models can be provided to all participants at the same time via application-sharing, and these can be discussed in text or Voice-over-IP chat. Via Instant Messaging, the participant has immediate access to the tutor or other colleagues. The Voting Module provides all the necessary functionality to easily monitor course progress and mood while the Incentive Module offers the possibility of rewarding lively participation as well as good course performance. The community aspect of the platform supports the much-needed social framework of the learning experience. The learning process combined with the community structure results in a Community of Practice, which represents the most current and highest standard of knowledge in a company.

URL: http://www.einsteinet.de/
URL: http://www.siemensdematic.com/
URL: http://www.blaxxun.de/

VR/i3D Events & Calls for Papers

IST 2001 focuses on the work of Europe's major research programme on information and communication technologies. The theme of the Event is "Technologies Serving People" and it will take place in the Congress Centre Düsseldorf, Germany from 3-5 December 2001.
URL: http://istevent.cec.eu.int/

The Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DMSO) will host the 11th annual Executive Forum on Modeling and Simulation in Norfolk, Virginina, USA on June 17-19, 2001. The forum, formerly the DMSO Industry Days, is the Defense Department's event for federal government, senior Department of Defense (DoD), industry and academic executives, strategic planners, program managers and senior technical managers to gain insight into the Department's modeling and simulation (M&S) policies, plans, programs and emerging initiatives. The forum also provides the DoD with the opportunity to obtain feedback and insight into the views and plans of key warfighters, decision-makers and technology leaders in Congress, the DoD, industry and academia. The Executive Forum on M&S is sponsored by the DMSO.
URL: http://www.trainingsystems.org/Events.htm

SIGGRAPH 2002, the 29th International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, is seeking contributors who work, play, and live with the latest advancements in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Here are the SIGGRAPH 2002 submission deadlines: 5 December 2001 - Courses; 9 January 2002 - Award Nominations, Educators Program, Papers; 16 January 2002 - Panels; 30 January 2002 - Emerging Technologies; 6 February 2002 - Art Gallery, sigKIDS, Studio; 6 March 2002 - Computer Animation Festival; 13 March 2002 - Sketches & Applications, Web Graphics. SIGGRAPH 2002 will be held 21 - 26 July in San Antonio, Texas.
URL: http://www.siggraph.org/s2002/cfp/index.html

Digital Visions and User Reality: Copenhagen, Denmark - October 31 - November 3. This is being organized by Nordic Interactive (URL: http://www.nordicinteractive.org), a non-profit organization with the aim to promote and support Nordic R&D in Interactive digital technology.
URL: http://www.nic2001.org/

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

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

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

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, VREfresh recommends URL: http://www.elpub.org/base05.htm and, for events in the rest of the world, URL: http://www.elpub.org/connone.htm

VREfresh #171
Friday, October 12, 2001, London, UK


VREfresh is taking vacation (in a Central American rain forest with no email). When we return we will have changes to increase the value of VREfresh with improved links and editorial "departments." We will expand promotion of VREfresh to user organizations and create a "think tank" to influence the future of VR/i3D projects. We are delighted to advise readers that the VREfresh newsletter will remain free into 2003 thanks to support from the European Commission for the INFORM Project run as part of the Information Society Programme.

On the downside, we regret to say the XYZ Group is in suspension. For the time being there is no appetite, not say budget, for its objectives. Commitments to the participating companies have been fulfilled, but no invoices will be issued. The activities of the XYZ Group in promoting the successful commercial adoption of VR/i3D applications will continue, but, until further notice, underwritten at the expense of Cyber-Wizard, publisher of VREfresh. We are particularly anxious to receive news of user investment in VR/i3D systems.

As referenced in VREfresh 170, business in many parts of the world appears to have been put on hold. At least 60% of VR/i3D users are in, or controlled by, companies in the USA. We must all do everything we are able to regain the momentum of the VR/i3D market. As a community we could do nothing, but retrench - or we can "sell" our way out of recession for VR/i3D has a lot to offer: training, simulation, visualization… lower costs, increased efficiency, improved decision making. Next month one issue of VREfresh will be published from Comdex where we will assess the impact of VR/i3D at the world's largest computer exhibition.

Parts Libraries

Cadalog, Inc. (formerly EMT Software) has added over one million 2D and 3D CAD components to its two online parts libraries, CADalog.com for AutoCAD users and PartsWorks.com for SolidWorks users. The CAD libraries now include electrical motors from Pacific Scientific, linear motion systems from Thomson and THK, a variety of bearing assemblies from IGUS, parts libraries from Alliance Plastic, Detroit Coil and Unicorp, and industry standard plastic pipe fittings. Unlimited access to the CADalog.com and PartsWorks.com parts libraries requires paid membership. Lifetime membership is $29.95 for each site.

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

HOOPS for eDrawings

Tech Soft America (TSA) has reached a technology licensing agreement whereby SolidWorks Corporation has incorporated HOOPS technology for graphic and streaming capabilities into its recently announced eDrawings 2.0 products.

URL: http://www.solidworks.com/
URL: http://www/hoops3d.com/

PURE 3D Rendering Card

Advanced Rendering Technology (ART) have given public viewings of their PURE 3D rendering card, a low-cost, small form-factor 3D rendering solution. PURE is claimed to render images up to 16X faster than software-based ray tracing and can simultaneously deliver images through its silicon chip accelerated ray tracing architecture.

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

SGI Program & TGS

TGS, Inc. has been accepted into the SGISM Developer Plus program. TGS’ membership will allow it access to SGI on-line resources as well as a set of tools and resources. TGS develops and markets Open Inventor 3D graphics applications in C++ and Java. Originally written by SGI, it is an object-oriented toolkit.

URL: http://www.sgi.com/support/custeducation/

VR/i3D Events Digital Visions and User Reality: Copenhagen, Denmark - October 31 - November 3. This is being organized by Nordic Interactive (URL: http://www.nordicinteractive.org), a non-profit organization with the aim to promote and support Nordic R&D in Interactive digital technology.
URL: http://www.nic2001.org/

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

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

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

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, VREfresh recommends URL: http://www.elpub.org/base05/htm and, for events in the rest of the world, URL: http://www.elpub.org/connone.htm

VREfresh #170
Wednesday, October 10th, 2001, London, UK


Scott McNealy, Chief Executive, Sun Microsystems: "Things were tough with the economy before, but now we are facing increasing uncertainties … business in the two weeks following September 11th … nearly ground to a halt." This is a special issue of VREfresh taking a look at broad issues affecting the VR/i3D community. There may have been a significant VR/i3D order placed by a commercial user organization in the past four weeks, but we don’t know of one. It is time to take stock.

I think it was Andy Groves of Intel who said, "The Internet changes everything." If it was not Mr Groves, I apologize, but right now I have neither the time nor the inclination to check. The events of September 11th, 2001 changed everything - and not just for the people who needlessly lost their lives, nor those left behind to grieve. We have recently been reminded there are events of such scale that the best marketing plans cannot take account of their impact. In a single week we learned of Ford having to suspend production at a plant and posting terrible financial results, of Boeing releasing thirty thousand employees, of GE’s exposure to insurance losses, of American Airlines mothballing aircraft, shedding twenty thousand staff and heading, perhaps, for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

These are just a handful of the unforeseen circumstances that have changed our business, but they are not without precedent. From 1939 to 1945 the economy of Western Europe was changed; manufacturing did not come to a halt, but industrial output concentrated on the production of fighting ships, aircraft and vehicle along with armaments. The war, however, had a side effect: in 1939 there were hundreds of tractors on farms in the United Kingdom, but by 1945 there were tens of thousands as the agriculture industry tackled the challenge of increasing efficiency. The makers of harnesses for plough horses had not seen that coming. Who in the late 1960s when color television first became affordable predicted the demise of the monochrome set? Yet, at the time, plenty of black and white television viewers were reluctant to make the change.

In 1980 there were very few Personal Computers. When Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp, said in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,” he could justify his assertion. What would you use a PC for? To word process letters? To catalogue your stamp collection? Ten years after IBM entered the PC market in 1981 there were, perhaps, 100 million PCs in use and 20 years later there is hardly a desk in the Western world that does not have a PC upon it. Who forecast that? In the late 1990s few had predicted the dotcom boom and bust.

Dotcomania was more to do with people getting rich than with delivering products and services of economic benefit to a marketplace. What this era proved was that, at the time, the markets of individuals and business wanted relatively few, comparatively simple applications rather than what was technologically achievable. For a moment on the last day of 1999, the last day of last century, the IT community held its breath while the change to 2000 took place and we entered a new millennium. Few predicted the eventual minimal impact upon our lives?

The Coming of a Mass Market

The Internet changed everything. One of the things that changed was time. Such was the pace of change, the Internet industry talked of “Internet years.” The Internet made the clock and calendar inappropriate units of measurement for the business process cycle. Of course, we need accountants to work in quarters and years, but now, in the current business climate, we need to think in terms of new market cycles.

Three circumstances are needed to kick-start the VR/i3D market? An expanding, competitive economy; universal and affordable broadband telecommunications; an open mind to the review of existing business processes by management. These will make the market explode in a way that will, in years to come, remind us of color tv, the PC, the Internet et al. What we have is all the technology we need to deliver the commercial benefits of VR/i3D. We need volume for hardware manufacturers to achieve economic economies of scale, volume for software developers to be able to re-use code and content and volume for service suppliers to move from the present feast or famine environment. We also need volume to create viable vendors in which the user community can have confidence. Will the world move to three-dimensional computer applications? Yes - because it can.

Future computer applications in 2D will seem as absurd as the prospect of viewing in black and white. Everyone has color. Everyone will have 3D. In recent months we have considered the market for VR/i3D and determined a “significant investment” to be a system for which the annual operating expenditures are greater than $150,000. For example, the hosting and maintenance of a substantial i3D web site will cost more than $150,000 as will the overhead and operational costs of a visualization center with a capital investment cost of more than $1,000,000.

We spent some considerable time pondering on a means to identify the companies (not governments, academia, etc) that were most likely to make substantial investment in VR/i3D. A number of factors were taken into consideration:

Predicting Market Dimensions

Most vendors in the VR/i3D community would like accurate predictions of future market value, but the author cannot recall an instance of a market research company offering clients a refund because forecasts proved to be inaccurate. Only rarely are market forecasts kept on file and retrospectively compared with actual expenditure.

Some market value estimates are invalid due to a level of “double counting.” For example:

The “value” in the market is $4.5m - not $8.5m. It is obvious, but when market estimates are calculated by aggregating companies’ sales... Calculations using vendors’ sales figures are particularly vulnerable to inaccuracy because so many of the vendors are privately held, subsidiary or divisional organizations and elect not to publicly report their performance.

At a lower level, similar erroneous data has in the past been generated where a software company’s sales figures have been added to those of a PC vendor to calculate market dimensions whereas, the eventual user (eventual source of all revenue) pays only the eventual supplier.

For our purposes, the market for VR/i3D has been defined within:

Why consider the market segments together? Historically, the polarized products (top-end/expensive to lower performance/lower cost) have contributed technologies and techniques to each other and this trend will certainly continue: vendors will not survive in isolation. Also, there is every reason to suppose that a company investing in i3D is a prospective migrator to VR and vice versa.

The following latest available sales figures may be of interest. It should be emphasized that following are sales figures as they have been collected for market purposes and not to evaluate management or investor performance. The companies are all publicly quoted. The companies have been chosen to illustrate the widely differing size of the players present in the VR/i3D market and for their influence on the shape, dimension and future of the market.

The principal activity of SGI is “to provide scalable, high-performance computing and visualization solutions for technical and creative users. The Company focuses on five principal market segments - manufacturing, the sciences, government, telecommunications and media. Servers accounted for 41% of fiscal 2000 revenues; global services, 29%; visual workstations, 21% & other, 9%.”

Current Market Size

It has not proved possible to secure a list of visualization centers (Reality Center is an SGI trademark) sold, or at least powered, by SGI. However, it has taken more than seven years to achieve sales of more than 500 Reality Centers. It is probable that the majority of these investments have not been made by commercial companies (ie sales have been to government and defense agencies and one commercial organization, DaimlerChrysler, is known to have more than 50 such systems. The 2001 Annual Report indicates that one third of SGI sales are to the manufacturing sector.

If (and it is a big “if”), 120 visualization centers were ordered during 2001 at an average price of $4m (and sales to government agencies and academic institutions have traditionally been heavily discounted) that would generate sales of $480m (equal to 26% of SGI’s latest reported annual sales). Although SGI is perceived to be the major supplier of processors to the visualization center market and the company certainly positions itself thus, competitors including Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard are evolving along with competition from clustered PC-based systems.

Of course, visualization centers are at the “top end” of the VR/i3D market. For every Reality Center there are a number of systems with reduced functionality: workbenches and portable (or rather re-configurable) systems, for example.

Along comparable lines and in the context of the above, it is interesting to note that IBM sells most of Dassault Systemes’ software and EDS owns Unigraphics. At the lower, in technological terms, level, there are a number of companies that might reasonably be expected to influence the VR/i3D market, most especially the “lower” PC end. Among them are Adobe Systems (sales $ 1,266m) and Macromedia ($390m). Confidence in the future of PC-based VR/i3D applications may be drawn from the sales performance of manufacturers such as ATI, 3DLabs, NVIDIA, ELSA and others who provide the graphics capabilities some users want now and future users will expect from their applications.

An Estimate

As Editor of VREfresh, the author is privileged to have colloquial reference to and, sometimes, sight of a wide range of market forecasts. These have not been taken into account in arriving at the following observations. Taking elements within the VR sector as embracing processor, peripheral hardware, software, application development, installation, integration and support (ie not including premises and staff) and taking i3D as for VR except for processors, a reasonable twelve-month estimate of the value of VR sales to commercial companies worldwide for is $348,000,000.

The above figure which is equivalent to sales of 60 visualization centers costing an average of $4m (ie more than one a week for a year), 240 visualization stations at an average of $150,000 (ie roughly one per working day) and 480 i3D applications capable of being delivered via Internet or Intranet at an average annual cost of $150,000 (ie two per working day).

It is feasible that governmental and academic sales could double the above unit, if not value, figures for visualization centers and systems. The figures above are plausible when considering:

It may be of interest to note that in the course of conducting research, it was established that over 80% of the world's commercial airline pilots are trained in simulators that use Evans & Sutherland's visual systems. q The market dimension estimates above do not include the non-interactive three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) arena.

And Finally

The good news is that the $348m figure above is a prediction of new business - not users’ extension, expansion or replacement of existing systems, nor of associated maintenance and support services. Subject the criteria described above, our twelve-month estimate for the commercial market for VR/i3D products and services is $1,740m. What we don’t know, or since September 11th are prepared to guess, is when that twelve months will start. Companies laying off staff and looking to effect economies should be good prospects for computer systems vendors - we can only hope they are.

VREfresh #170
Thursday, September 27th, 2001 - London UK

Syngenta & PeopleSoft: Increasing Understanding

OpenViz software has been selected by Syngenta to provide the visualization front-end for the company's in vitro High-Throughput Screening (HTS) software tool set. Syngenta, with 20,000+ employees in 50 countries, is a supplier of crop solutions based on chemical and biotechnology products designed to improve crop yield and food quality, has created a suite of applications to help scientists understand HTS data. HTS, used in agribusiness and pharmaceutics, allows the rapid evaluation of candidate molecules and combinations to find those suited for specific uses. Advanced Visual Systems’ OpenViz can present the resulting data as interactive charts and graphs, helping Syngenta scientists more easily understand and analyze HTS data to find the best-suited molecules.

"We test hundreds of thousands of molecules annually in an ever-increasing number of different biochemical and cell-based assays," says Dr David Youle, Head of Screening and Logistics at Syngenta. "OpenViz allows us to increase the understanding of interactions between research compounds and their precise molecular targets, and identify more quickly which compounds are of interest."

URL: http://www.avs.com/
URL: http://www.syngenta.com/

OpenViz data visualization technology will be incorporated into PeopleSoft's Enterprise Performance Management business analytics, enabling highly interactive 3D graphical presentations of critical business data drawn from an array of sources. PeopleSoft 8 EPM provides business analytics encompassing workforce, customer relationship management, profitability and supply chain metric analysis. These embedded analytics empower companies with continuous planning capabilities, enabling them to rapidly respond to shifts in the marketplace and adjust strategies accordingly. AVS' OpenViz data presentation techniques will enable users to produce interactive charts, graphs and other "scenes" in which users can explore and comprehend complex and sizeable amounts of business information.

URL: http://www.avs.com/
URL: http://www.peoplesoft.com/

Understanding CFD

The US Air Force Academy has licensed EnSight software from CEI as one of the central visualization tools in its Advanced Applied Aerodynamics course. Says Maj. Doug Blake, assistant professor of aeronautics: "Students need to understand flow fields to build a solid working knowledge of aerodynamics." Flow-feature extraction within EnSight allows engineers and scientists to automatically visualize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) interactions. It is valuable for aerospace engineers analyzing high-speed airflow characteristics for aircraft, rotorcraft and missiles. The Air Force Academy is primarily interested in isolating shock-wave interactions, but EnSight also extracts vortex core flow, boundary layer characteristics, and surface flow topology.

Seats for Milwaukee School of Engineering

Tech Ed Concepts Inc, a 3D design and manufacturing technology provider for educators and students, in cooperation with CADKEY Corporation, has awarded 250 seats of CADKEY19 software valued over $550,000 to the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE.) MSOE's mission is to provide a sustained interactive educational climate for students to become well-rounded, technologically experienced graduates and highly productive professionals and leaders. According to Professor Marvin Bollman of MSOE: "We are not only able to teach theory, but also apply the actual application of the graphics. The engineering graphics course is structured to not only teach engineering graphics but to also demonstrate the best of both worlds to the student."

URL: http://www.TECedu.com/
URL: http://www.cadkey.com/

Alternative to Separate CAD and PDM Systems

UGS has announced Solid Edge Insight, a technology that merges design data management capabilities with its Solid Edge 3D mechanical CAD software. Insight technology augments Solid Edge's mechanical design tools with data vaulting, revision management, engineering change orders, and BOM management to help companies capture, share and re-use the collective knowledge of their design engineering organizations. Insight offers manufacturing companies an alternative to separate CAD and product data management (PDM) systems - a fully integrated solution that is transparent to engineers in their everyday CAD work routines. Solid Edge customers, MacDon Industries (Winnipeg, Canada) and Pella Corp. (Pella, IA), have evaluated and tested the new technology. CIMdata, a consulting and research company, asserts that successful PDM implementations can save manufacturing companies millions of dollars. CIMdata also cites the support of both users and managers as the biggest challenge to successful PDM implementation.

URL: http://www.solid-edge.com/

Seminars for Manufacturers and their Supply Chains

Cimmetry Systems will be holding a series of information seminars throughout the USA in the coming months. Featured speaker at these events will be John MacKrell, Senior Consultant with CIMdata (see above item). John MacKrell will present an overview of how visualization tools support collaborative product development within manufacturing companies and their supply chains. He will provide examples, metrics and a methodology for selecting a Visualization tool appropriate for an enterprise wide implementation. Each attendee will also receive a complementary, fully licensed copy of Cimmetry's AutoVue software.

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

Immersive Projection Technology Workshop

The 7th annual Immersive Projection Technology (IPT) Workshop is joining IEEE VR, March 24-25, 2002 in Orlando Florida.

URL: http://www.vr2002.org/

InertiaCube Gets RS-232 Interface

The IS-300 InertiaCube is now available with an RS-232 interface that plugs directly into Windows 98/2000/NT PCs. With the InertiaCube2, InterSense has reduced both the size and price of the original InertiaCube while maintaining its’ performance level. Also, with its direct interface to the PC, the need for a dedicated processor is eliminated.

URL: http://www.isense.com/

SmartScene to be Developed

Digital ArtForms has agreed with MultiGen-Paradigm to continue the advancement of MultiGen-Paradigm’s SmartScene technology. SmartScene was developed by MultiGen-Paradigm by fusing their realtime technologies with a two-handed interface. This contract grants Digital ArtForms broad rights to develop, productize, and sell SmartScene and derivative works.

Maya for Mac OS X Ships

Alias/Wavefront has started shipping the Maya for Mac OS X 3D animation and effects software package. With this first release of Maya for Mac OS X, all of Maya Complete becomes native to the Macintosh. Features unique to this version include support for QuickTime, tear off menus in the hot box, and a fully Aqua interface. The retail price of Maya Complete for Mac OS X is $7,500.

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

VREfresh Quotes of the Issue:

Apple & Turbo Squid Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations: "Maya… release on Mac OS X is further evidence that the Mac is the best platform for the professional graphics community." "Traditionally 3D software has not been geared towards the Mac market," - Matthew Wisdom, Chief Technical Officer of Turbo Squid.

Marketplace for Mac Community

Turbo Squid has launched a new version of it’s free software for the Mac community. A beta version developed to be compatible with OS X is now available for download. The new software enables Mac users to browse the asset collection comprised of over seventy-five thousand 3D models, motion capture files, textures and shaders available through Turbo Squid’s online marketplace. Turbo Squid is an all-digital marketplace where 3D artists and animators can buy and sell content online. The Turbo Squid software is free and membership only requires a password and an email address. Artists can host their work on the Turbo Squid system for free, maintain control of their work, and receive royalties monthly for the sale of their individual assets.

URL: http://www.turbosquid.com/

CGTrader is a 3D model marketplace

CGTrader is a 3D model marketplace for computer graphics and 3D printing, backed by a strong designer community. On CGTrader, 3D artists and designers share and sell their models, and their customers can choose from a wide collection of high-quality 3D models or hire a designer for a custom job. CGTrader also gives an opportunity for talented 3D designers to showcase their work, get valuable feedback, learn from peers, and interact in a designer-friendly environment.

URL: https://www.cgtrader.com/

New Version of ParaHOOPS 3D Part Viewer

ParaHOOPS 3D Part Viewer version 6.2 translates Parasolid v.13 and includes real-time simultaneous view, mark-up capabilities. This most recent version of the free 3D viewer allows for real time collaborative view and mark up of XT part files, translation between Parasolid versions, and web publishing to the HOOPS Stream File (HSF) format.

URL: http://www.parasolid.com/
URL: http://www.hoops3d.com/

Perceptron & Raindrop Geomagic Agree

Raindrop Geomagic has signed an OEM reseller agreement with Perceptron Inc under which Perception will offer Geomagic Studio software with its 3D scanners, providing an end-to-end solution for 3D scanning and modeling applications such as reverse engineering, industrial design, rapid inspection and custom manufacturing. Raindrop Geomagic also plans to license Perceptron's ScanWorks Toolkit and integrate it with Geomagic Qualify, the company's rapid inspection software.

Visualization for Asia/Pacific

Volume Interactions (VI) of Singapore has signed a distribution agreement with 3Dims.de. VI will bundle the 3Dims.de visualization products with its software and hardware for medical training in Asia/Pacific.

URL: http://www.volumeinteractions.com/
URL: http://www.3Dims.de/

Logitech Forms New Company

Logitech has formed a new company, 3Dconnexion, whose focus will be on developing and marketing input devices for 3D motion control. The company combines the resources of LogiCAD 3D and Labtec's 3D peripheral business. Logitech has held a 49 percent share of LogiCAD 3D since 1998 and recently acquired majority control of the company. LogiCAD 3D's signature product, the Magellan controller, is used in fields such as automotive design and the aerospace industry. Labtec's 3D peripheral business became part of Logitech with the company's acquisition of Labtec earlier this year. Since its introduction, the Labtec 3D controller (Spaceball) has found support among 3D application vendors and workstation OEMs worldwide.

URL: http://www.logitech.com/

Patent: Westinghouse Savannah River Company

US Patent 6289299 has been assigned to Westinghouse Savannah River Company for: "A system for visualizing, controlling and managing information includes a data analysis unit for interpreting and classifying raw data using analytical techniques. A data flow coordination unit routes data from its source to other components within the system. A data preparation unit handles the graphical preparation of the data and a data rendering unit presents the data in a three-dimensional interactive environment where the user can observe, interact with, and interpret the data. A user can view the information on various levels, from a high overall process level view, to a view illustrating linkage between variables, to view the hard data itself, or to view results of an analysis of the data. The system allows a user to monitor a physical process in real-time and further allows the user to manage and control the information in a manner not previously possible."

VR/i3D Events

Thanks to Wijnand IJsselsteijn for reminding us of the European Presence Research Conference: Virtually There - Understanding Presence and the Engineering of Experience in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, October 9 and 10.
URL: http://www.presence-research.org/eprc/index.html

Applied Virtual Reality in Engineering & Construction: Applications of Virtual Reality - Current Initiatives and Future Challenges: Goteborg, Sweden - October 4-5.
URL: http://vrlcb.sm.chalmers.se/conference

European Presence Research Conference: Virtually There - Understanding Presence and the Engineering of Experience in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, October 9-10.
URL: http://www.presence-research.org/eprc/index.html

Digital Visions and User Reality: Copenhagen, Denmark - October 31 - November 3. This is being organized by Nordic Interactive (URL: http://www.nordicinteractive.org), a non-profit organization with the aim to promote and support Nordic R&D in Interactive digital technology.
URL: http://www.nic2001.org/

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

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

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

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, VREfresh recommends URL: http://www.elpub.org/base05.htm and, for events in the rest of the world, URL: http://www.elpub.org/connone.htm

VREfresh #169
Thursday, September 18th, 2001 - London UK

BP Applications on Show

SGI has been showing immersive, interactive displays of its collaborative visualization technologies to an estimated 9,000 delegates at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists 2001 International Exposition and Annual Meeting. Re-creating the types of wall display and visualization rooms provided to oil and gas companies worldwide, the SGI has shown a three-channel Reality Center 3300W wall display that sits within an 18-seat theater. The display technology demonstrates applications being used at the new BP Center for Visualization at the University of Colorado, which was established last year by a donation of hardware, software, intellectual property and seed funding from BP, with subsequent contributions from SGI.

URL: http://www.sgi.com
URL: http://www.colorado.edu/Research/bpVisCenter
To view oil and gas as well as other user application stories, visit http://home.bt-webworld.com/xyzgroup.org

Schlumberger Signs with Barco

Schlumberger Oil & Gas Information Solutions has signed a value-added reseller agreement with Barco Simulation Products to enhance virtual-reality visualization and collaboration through the SIS iCenter secure networked collaborative environment. In addition to the commercial provision to oil and gas customers, Schlumberger is committed to a large implementation of iCenters to support its global operations. The first iCenter opened in Stavanger this spring to support the companies operating in Norway for real-time reservoir management and interpretation support. The iCenter is also the hub for the Schlumberger Norwegian sector geosteering, drilling and monitoring services. The second iCenter will open in Houston in October and will be supported by geoscientists from Schlumberger Oilfield Services for workflow collaboration to enable informed decisions.

URL: http://www.is.slb.com
URL: http://www.slb.com/
URL: http://www.barco.com/
To view oil and gas as well as other user application stories, visit http://home.bt-webworld.com/xyzgroup.org

Development Time Reduced by 50 Percent

Danish compressor manufacturer JUN-AIR has selected CATIA to replace an existing CAD system. JUN-AIR will use CATIA V5 to create complex and geometrical designs for silent compressors and vacuum pumps. JUN-AIR product developers were hampered by the limited capabilities of their existing mid-range CAD system that proved insufficient for handling complex tasks. "Calculating drafts and fillets is extremely demanding, especially when we design molded plastic parts. Our old CAD system could not handle some of our projects and, even when we designed some of our less complicated products, the update time was often 20 minutes. Our tight schedule could simply not bear it," said Michael Mortensen, JUN-AIR's Development Manager.

"Our total development time has been reduced by more than 50 percent and this is because we no longer have to start from scratch in the case of major changes in the design. Now we can just continue working on the same data throughout the entire development phase," he said.

URL: http://www.ibm.com/
URL: http://www.dsweb.com/
URL: http://www.jun-air.dk/

VizStream Chosen for use in Product Development

Virdev, a supplier of solutions enhancing product development, has chosen RealityWave's VizStream as its visualization and collaboration platform. Virdev is using VizStream for visualizing, accessing, and integrating industrial data within its e-pd application. To enhance the collaborative aspects of e-pd, Virdev is also integrating the VizStream ConceptStation module, the web-based interactive collaborative environment for 3D viewing and mark-up.

URL: http://www.virdev.com/
URL: http://www.realitywave.com/

MIT Experiments

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has licensed Eyetronics' ShapeSnatcher software to experiment with "videorealistic" talking humans for use in TV, film and games. The goal of the project is to create a videorealistic text-to-audiovisual speech synthesizer. The system should be able to take any typed sentence and produce as output an audiovisual movie of a face enunciating the words. The ShapeSnatcher software runs on most PCs using Windows or Linux as well as on SGI IRIX systems, and it is compatible with 3D graphics and CAD formats.

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

Character Generator Plug-In

Pixel Power has announced Collette, its first software-only character generator, as an Avid AVX plug-in for Media Composer and Symphony systems. The plug-in allows Pixel Power's character generator tool set to fit seamlessly into the normal workflow of an Avid non-linear edit suite.

URL: http://www.pixelpower.com/

Keio University Studying Areas of Design

Keio University in Japan has deployed 500 seats of Solid Edge mechanical computer-aided design software. The University of Keio plans to use Solid Edge in mechanical engineering classes and for design and manufacturing information technology research studies within the Department of System Design Engineering, at the School of Science and Technology. Says Dr Aoyama: "In my research laboratory, we are studying different areas of design with CAD, such as for industrial design and intelligent manufacturing systems that consider cutting resistance. In the area of industrial design, a system to create exact models by using expressions of artistic sensitivity, not currently used by today's engineering systems, is needed. For example, we are developing a system to create precise 3D engineering shapes from vague design outlines which are hard to define by numerical expressions alone."

URL: http://www.solid-edge.com/
URL: http://www.sd.keio.ac.jp/

Immersive Visualization System from Z-A, Barco & Clarte 3Dlabs’

Wildcat technology has been adopted by Z-A, Barco and Clarte as part of a design collaboration resulting in the SAS3 (pronounced SAS Cube) fully immersive, visualization system. With the SAS3 system the user stands inside a cube structure formed of four 3m x 3m screens. Stereoscopic images are generated by the Wildcat 4210 cards and projected into the screens. The movement and perspectives of the environment change according to the user's position and navigation. The SAS3 allows maximum range of movement and the ability to interact with the virtual environment using natural gestures. The new design offers a portable lightweight, low cost system.

URL: http://www.z-a.net/
URL: http://www.3dlabs.com/

SGI Server for Software Development

Mental images of Berlin, Germany has purchased a 16-processor SGI Origin 3400 server with 4GB system memory network interface cards and storage system. The server is being used as mental images' main platform for the development of its host and thread parallel software products, including the photo-realistic rendering software mental ray and mental matter, proprietary, highly modular modeling technology. Users of mental images products include most of the leading visual effects and digital film studios, game developers and companies in the automotive and aerospace industries. mental images and incremental images (a subsidiary of mental images) will also use the new SGI system to further develop Reality Server, the interactive, scalable, server-based, multi-user 3D graphics platform for Internet and intranet applications. Those applications include, among others, remote wireless repair and maintenance using handheld devices; collaborative engineering, design and medical applications; and online interactive multi-user games.

URL: http://www.sgi.com/
URL: http://www.mentalimages.com/

Two-Dimensional CAD Replaced

John Crane, a leader in engineered sealing solutions, has purchased 300 licenses of Solid Edge to replace a 2D CAD system. Solid Edge will be implemented in engineering and manufacturing sites across North America, South America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia/Pacific. John Crane employs more than 9,000 people worldwide at more than 200 facilities in over 47 countries and is part of the Sealing Solutions Division of Smiths Group, a major UK-based engineering company, operating globally.

URL: http://www.smiths-group.com/
URL: http://www.johncrane.com/
URL: http://www.solid-edge.com/
To view user application stories, visit URL: http://home.bt-webworld.com/xyzgroup.org

USA Navy’s Catapult Launch Systems Trainer

Boston Dynamics has completed the first phase of its work on a joint project to upgrade the USA Navy’s Catapult Launch Systems Trainer. Boston Dynamics and prime contractor American Systems Corporation (ASC), under contract with the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), are replacing the existing video-based training system, in use since 1988, with interactive 3D computer simulation. The new system uses Boston Dynamics’ PeopleShop software to depict flight deck crew and aircraft during simulated launch operations. ASC Project Manager, Fred Jackson: “The enhanced trainer system is far superior to what currently exists and exceeds the expectations of the original program concept. The ability that the training community will have to change, alter, and update existing flight deck training scenarios will be a benefit for years to come.”

URL: http://www.bdi.com/

DoD Modeling and Simulation Awards

The nomination period for the 2001 Department of Defense (DoD) Modeling and Simulation (M&S) Awards will open on October 1 and will close on December 7. Awards will be presented in June. Detailed nomination procedures and forms for government nominees will be available on the DMSO Web site at URL: http://www.dmso.mil/awards/ Industry applicants should visit the NTSA Web site.

3D Festival The 3D Festival, a European cross-industry 3D event, will take place in Copenhagen (23rd-25th of October 2001).
URL: http://www.vr4max.com/
URL: http://www.3dfestival.com/

Personal Immersive Headset Price Cut

Cybermind UK has reduced the retail price of its Cy-Visor, 1.44m pixels per eye, personal immersive headset by £200 to £680.

URL: http://www.cyberminduk.com/

Fire & Smoke for Adobe After Effects

electricFX has announced eFX Pyro, priced at $195, an effects plug-in for Adobe After Effects to create 3D fire and smoke effects. The plug-in uses dynamic simulation methods to create accurate fire and smoke behavior and employs volumetric rendering techniques to generate fire and smoke effects. eFX Pyro incorporates Digital NatureTools animation technology developed by Arete Entertainment.

URL: http://www.electricfx.com/

PTC Agrees with Actify

Actify has signed an agreement with PTC to incorporate Granite One into its solutions. Granite One is an interoperability platform based on the geometry, feature and data exchange capabilities at the core of Pro/ENGINEER MCAD software.

URL: http://www.Actify.com/
URL: http://www.ptc.com/

Accelerated-X 3D Linux Graphics Drivers

Xi Graphics has made a Beta release of Version 2.0 of their Accelerated-X 3D Linux Graphics Drivers (LGDs). Version 2.0 offers an accelerated and redesigned OpenGL pipeline. By the time the full product is released, Solaris will also be supported. A free trial download for testing the 3D Beta's capabilities is available.

URL: http://www.xig.com/

Support for GLSetup

ATI is supporting GLSetup, an initiative to ease distribution of OpenGL drivers to end users. GLSetup is intended to ensure that no matter which operating system a user runs or which graphics card they are using, they will get the best possible performance from their application. GLSetup has been downloaded by millions of users and has shipped with many popular games including Quake 3. Users can download and run the GLSetup installer directly from the web.

URL: http://www.glsetup.com/
URL: http://www.ati.com/

Company Watch: SGI & Solaris

SGI has announced CXFS Version 2.0, a scalable, journaled clustered filesystem, with extended capabilities to support the Solaris operating system. With this new system, SGI IRIX OS-based customers can seamlessly share data with Solaris OS-based systems in real time.

URL: http://www.sgi.com/

Company Watch: MultiGen-Paradigm

MultiGen-Paradigm has updated its Web site to integrate the company’s four key elements: real-time 3D software products, customized services, technical support and training.

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

VR/i3D Events

Applied Virtual Reality in Engineering & Construction: Applications of Virtual Reality - Current Initiatives and Future Challenges: Goteborg, Sweden - October 4-5.
URL: http://vrlcb.sm.chalmers.se/conference

The 3D Festival: Copenhagen, Denmark - October 23-25, 2001.
URL: http://www.vr4max.com/
URL: http://www.3dfestival.com/

Digital Visions and User Reality: Copenhagen, Denmark - October 31 - November 3. This is being organized by Nordic Interactive (URL: http://www.nordicinteractive.org), a non-profit organization with the aim to promote and support Nordic R&D in Interactive digital technology.
URL: http://www.nic2001.org/

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

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

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

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, VREfresh recommends: URL: http://www.elpub.org/base05.htm and, for events in the rest of the world, URL: http://www.elpub.org/connone.htm

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