Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 23 June 2002

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On June 17th, NewsEdge, one of the world's leading news wire services for journalists, chose VR World Congress V as their lead item for followers of Virtual Reality. The resulting publicity is sure to raise the level of interest in attending (Paris, France - September 9th & 10th) and VREfresh readers are advised to book early to reserve their place.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

See also item 197.04 on EC funding.

Users, Applications & Projects
01 Ford Virtual Test Track Experiment uses Barco
02 Three Year Perspective on VR in Auto Company
03 Center for Oil/Gas & Auto Industries Invests in Explorium
04 Funding for R&D

Quote of the Issue
05 Ross Kirkham, director of IT at TRW
Products & Services
06 Facial Animation Software
07 Architectural Studio 2
Companies & Markets
08 HP: Budgets, R&D and Job Cuts
09 HP & Linux
10 Auto-parts Industry RoI
11 Design Academy Appointed
12 LightWork Design & 3Dlabs
13 Thales Sells

Worth Watching
14 Worth Watching: MPEG-4 in Japan
15 Worth Watching: Sun & Microsoft
People & Appointments
16 People: Turbo Squid

Events & Calls for Papers
17 SIGGRAPH 2002
18 VR World Congress V
19 PRESENCE 2002
20 Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002
21 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics
22 More Events

197.01 Ford Virtual Test Track Experiment uses Barco

Five BarcoReality 909 Projectors (three for the forward view and two for the rear) project the image on Ford's "VIRTTEX" (VIRtual Test Track Experiment) advanced simulator. The visual fidelity of the projectors immerses the driver in the virtual environment enabling researchers to be able study a driver's ability to cope with common traffic situations while using cellular telephones, navigation systems and other in-car electronic equipment.

The "VIRTTEX" simulator dome rests on a hydraulic system that can move up to 10 feet to any side and tilt up to 20 degrees. This range of motion helps duplicate movements experienced while driving. The 360 degrees Advanced Carbon Graphite Dome from Tech-Com International, Inc. has been designed for a first mode natural frequency exceeding 22 Hz. The projection surface is seamlessly coated with Tech-Com's Duragain with a peak gain of over 4 units. The Barco projectors are fixed to the dome structure and rotate with the dome to provide a 300-degree computer-generated view of the road. They surround the driver to display scenery, terrain, and various traffic situations and are synched to the test car's acceleration, breaking and steering functions.

URL: http://www.BarcoProjection.com

197.02 Three Year Perspective on VR in Auto Company

TWR in England, has, for more than 25 years, provided the automotive industry with fully integrated services in vehicle design, engineering, and manufacturing. Since the installation of its first SGI Reality Center facility in 1999, the company has been able to move significantly beyond the limitations of CAD technologies when designing and engineering automobiles, automobile components, and systems for its OEM customers. Providing the horsepower to TWR's Reality Center environment is an SGI Onyx 3400 server with InfiniteReality3 graphics. TWR engineers can conduct 1:1 scale vehicle design and engineering reviews and of special interest to TWR was the SGI Onyx 3400 system's ability to provide the full-scene anti-aliasing critical to styling reviews. TWR's facility came online in May 1999 and was the UK's first curved-screen, full-size immersive virtual reality environment.

The Reality Center facility seats 15 to 20 comfortably and immerses viewers within the confines of its Trimension R2 Researcher 24-foot spherical screen, which provides a 170°x 46° field of view with three SEOS Prodas CRT projectors with edge blending. TWR's origins are in automotive racing, including Formula One now with the Orange Arrows F1 team, and while that heritage remains strong, it accounts for only 12% of the company's current business. Today, the bulk of TWR's work comes from the design, engineering, and manufacture of road and race cars, and road and race engines for OEMs worldwide. In addition TWR is a source of design and performance enhancements for current vehicles and engines. Using realtime visualization of high fidelity, 1:1 scale (and larger) 3D vehicle renderings in its Reality Center environment, TWR was able to eliminate the need for a significant number of full-size clay vehicle prototypes in the creation of the Renault Sport Clio V6. Crash test simulation, in particular, is of high interest as physical crash testing is a significant cost factor in overall vehicle development. Because physical crash test models must be fully developed and assembled prototypes, costs can run upwards of $1 million per prototype per crash test.

Being able to perform the same simulations using virtual reality can cut the number of necessary physical crash test models nearly in half, a tremendous savings in both cost and development time. Typically, automotive manufacturers will require that 10 to 15 prototypes be built to assess the integrity of the design before moving forward with a project. The reduction in prototypes translated to savings to Renault of $375,000 per prototype built and helped reduce a three-to-four year time-to-market to 16 months.

URL: http://www.sgi.com

197.03 Center for Oil/Gas & Auto Industries Invests in Explorium

The Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) is an independent center for research and industrial development, education, professional training, and information for the oil, natural gas, and automotive industries. With a portfolio of about 15,000 patents fueled by a continuous stream of innovations, IFP is one of the world's foremost R&D centers, covering every aspect of the oil and natural gas industry: exploration, production, refining, petrochemicals, engines, and energy. IFP's newest venture is an SGI Reality Center facility named the Explorium that applies the center's computing potential to IFP's own exploration, research, and development requirements, an outstanding tool serving industrial needs. The first user of the Explorium is IFP R&D and its subsidiaries, with activities including 3D subsurface and fluid flow simulation and modeling and engine combustion for the automotive industry. The heart of IFP's Reality Center facility is its Onyx2 InfiniteReality3 supercomputer. The Explorium space, which is 150 square meters, can be used in either a work session (three to six people) or a large group presentation and collaboration activity (up to 20 attendees).

URL: http://www.ifp.fr/

197.04 Non-Euro Company Gets EC Funding

A consortium led by OTM Technologies, based in Herzliya, Israel, claims to have received funding from the European Commission for a new project named Virtual Input Pen for Data (VIPDATA). The VIPDATA consortium consists of ten partners including Philips Semiconductors, Philips Design, Philips Consumer Electronics, France Telecom, SchlumbergerSema, CRL, Decuma, Sanyo Energy-Europe and Celestica. The agreement, signed under FP5, is to develop and test a Virtual Input Pen that will serve as an input device for mobile and fixed handsets. The EU will fund 50% of the 24-month project, with a total budget of over $4.4M euro. Advanced Recognition Technologies with OTM has already been demonstrating a virtual pen for text input in Singapore.

Embedded into OTM's bluetooth-enabled Vpen, ART's handwriting recognition software, simpliWrite, converts written text and sends it to any bluetooth-enabled mobile device. VPen is a pen-shaped input device that enables interaction with a handset or other data terminal, including text input and editing, gaming, drawing and continuous screen navigation and selection. With an OTM sensor at its tip, the motion of the pen across any surface is measured in three dimensions and streamed to the target device in real time. Sometimes described as a combination of mouse and pen, the VPen "offers a complete user-interaction experience." Based in the United States, ART maintains an Israeli subsidiary and the company is active in the US, European, and Asian markets.

URL: http://www.otmtech.com
URL: http://www.artcomp.com

Representatives of the European Commission will be presenting and available for discussion on future funding issues at VR World Congress V in Paris, France on September 9/10. The Sixth Framework Programme has a 3.6 billion euro budget.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

197.05 Ross Kirkham, director of IT at TRW

Ross Kirkham, director of IT at TRW: "Collaborative real-time visualization promotes innovative thinking by serving as a catalyst between TWR engineers, the software they use to create their design, and the hardware that delivers it to the team. And the more efficiently multidisciplinary teams work together, the more effective their efforts become."

197.06 Facial Animation Software

LifeMode Interactive has released LifeStudio: Head, a facial animation solution for interactive game and multimedia developers. Created using LifeMode's Macro-Muscle Technology, LifeStudio: Head is a set of developer tools directed at modeling, texturing and the real-time animation of human heads for use in computer and console-based entertainment titles, and other multimedia presentations.

URL: http://www.lifemi.com

197.07 Architectural Studio 2

Autodesk has announced the availability in North America of Autodesk Architectural Studio 2, a conceptual design creation and multimedia communication tool for architects and other building industry professionals. The second release of this digital design environment offers designers an expanded range of commonly used architectural tools, like the PANTONE color-matching system, to enhance their ability to sketch and model design concepts on a pen tablet or computer, as they would in a traditional design studio.

URL: http://www.autodesk.com

197.08 HP: Budgets, R&D and Job Cuts

The president of HP, Michael Capellas, has said in an interview with CNBC Asia and Dow Jones Newswires, "There's pressure on corporate profitability - so capital budgets are tight as companies are worried about profitability." Nevertheless, the company, Hewlett-Packard, which just recently completed its $18.6 billion merger with Compaq, HP's research and development budget, currently about US$4 billion a year, is expected to remain at roughly the same percentage of revenue. HP is expected to have revenue of about US$75 billion for fiscal 2002. Mr Capellas said the company's planned 15,000 global job cuts for fiscal 2002 and 2003 wouldn't be geographically determined, but will be based on product lines.

URL: http://thenew.hp.com

197.09 HP & Linux

HP and Red Hat have expanded their relationship with the availability of Red Hat Linux Advanced Server on HP servers and workstations for enterprise customers. This availability includes systems based on the forthcoming Intel Itanium 2 processor. "The Linux industry continues to expand, with most of the unit growth in 2001 coming from Linux client and workstation operating system shipments," said Al Gillen, research director, system software, IDC. "IDC's expectation for Linux server operating environment new license revenue shipments remains strong, with forecasts calling for a 19.7 percent compound annual growth rate through 2006."


197.10 Auto-parts Industry RoI

Global auto-parts makers averaged an 8.1% cash flow return on invested capital, according to a study by A T Kearney, down from an average of 10.8% cash flow return on invested capital in 2000. How to get a better Return on Investment? Better, faster design and prototyping using VR/i3D is one way.

URL: http://www.cyber-wizard.co.uk/

197.11 Design Academy Appointed

Alias|Wavefront has appointed Design Academy Ltd as its specialist reseller, specifically to look after the academic and education market sectors in the UK. Design Academy will also focus on "creativity and innovation", using PortfolioWall technology.

URL: http://www.design-academy.co.uk

197.12 LightWork Design & 3Dlabs

LightWork Design has formed a strategic partnership with 3Dlabs. The partnership involves the companies working together to enhance the interactive performance of LightWorks when used with 3Dlabs hardware. This move is good news for CAD software developers and users because it will lead to higher quality interactive photorealism within LightWorks-based rendering applications. LightWorks provides a range of rendering and lighting simulation capabilities to any application program dealing with 3D objects or environments. It is embedded in over 70 software applications and used by more than 750,000 users worldwide. Applications that incorporate LightWorks include: ArchiTrend from Fukui Computer, CDRS and Pro/DESKTOP from PTC, DigiD from Nihon Unisys, Form-Z from auto-des-sys, IX Design from ImpactXoft, Madric from CPU, PowerShape from Delcam, SolidWorks from Dassault, SolidThinking from Gestel, ThinkReal from Think3, trueSpace from Caligari, Unigraphics from EDS PLM Solutions and Vellum from Ashlar.

URL: http://www.lightworkdesign.com
URL: http://www.3dlabs.com

197.13 Thales Sells

The French defense-electronics company, Thales has sold its computer services interest to GFI Informatique SA for cash and stock worth around $325m. Thales is committed to maintaining a business relationship with GFI and the sale will be part of a wider plan to rearrange its disparate collection of civilian operations. Thomson and Racal are among the better known names acquired by Thales when it was in "growth by acquisition" mode.

197.14 Worth Watching: MPEG-4 in Japan

Envivio Inc has announced a partnership with Dentsu, Dentsu Tec, a top advertiser in Japan, to create and distribute interactive MPEG-4 content in Japan. "We see MPEG-4 as the clear solution for creating and distributing standards-based content to the marketplace," stated Mr. Minekawa, Senior Manager of Dentsu's broadband department. Daihatsu Motor Company recently chose Envivio and Dentsu, Dentsu Tec to create an interactive site to advertise their Opensports car COPEN, which was exhibited in the Tokyo motor show.

URL: http://www.envivio.com
URL: http://www.dentsu.com
URL: http://www.dentsutec.com
URL: http://www.copen.jp

197.15 Worth Watching: Sun & Microsoft

Microsoft is to restore support for Sun Microsystems' Java software in its Windows product. Java was one of the two products a US federal appeals court found had been targeted by Microsoft as it illegally protected its Windows monopoly. Microsoft withdrew support for Java from Windows XP when it launched the product in October 2001. Separately, Sun is cutting the price of its application server software and offering a basic version of the product for free. The decision to cut its price by 30% to 60% may be indicative of Sun's determination to compete. The free version, the Platform Edition of the Sun One Application Server, is aimed at Microsoft's .Net Web services initiative. Microsoft has included an application server in its .Net Windows software. Sun must hope its free version of the product will attract developers who work with Linux, which increasingly competes with Sun's Solaris.

197.16 People: Turbo Squid

Dan Lion, who has worked for Cinesite, Discreet and Eastman Kodak's Cineon Systems, has taken the position of vice-president, sales and marketing at Turbo Squid, the online digital marketplace.

URL: http://www.Turbo Squid.com

197.00 Events & Calls for Papers

197.17 SIGGRAPH 2002

ACM SIGGRAPH is dedicated to the generation and dissemination of information on computer graphics and interactive techniques: San Antonio, Texas, USA - July 21-26, 2002 (exhibition 23-25).

URL: http://www.siggraph.org

197.18 VR World Congress V

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

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

197.19 PRESENCE 2002

PRESENCE 2002, Portugal on October 9-11, 2002

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

197.20 Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002

ACM Collaborative Virtual Environments 2002: Bonn, Germany - September 30-October 2, 2002. CVE 2002 is a conference dedicated to the design, development and use of collaborative virtual environments (CVEs). Submission deadlines for Papers, Posters, Panels, Workshops, and Tutorials is May 1st 2002.

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

197.21 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics

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

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

For extensive information about events relevant to the European VR/i3D community, see the events pages on El.pub: for Europe: base05.htm, for the rest of the world: connone.htm

About VREfresh news
Each edition of virtual reality news is now published on a separate page, ensuring that links (particularly from VREfresh) continue to remain current. To view news from previous issues, please use the navigation buttons below.
Email alerter of news items and associated URLs, send an email with your name, organisation, country (and for the US a zip code) to the Editor via the link above.
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