3D-News Archive January 2003

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SGI Demonstrates Sharing of Complex Medical Images in Real Time
3D-News Posted: Friday, January 24, 2003 (17:25 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Dramatic SGI Interactive Demo Is Highlighted in BARCO Booth at Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference

The advantages of the SGI® OpenGL VizserverTM solution for sharing complex medical images in real time and for collaborative decision making across vast distances are the focus of a dramatic interactive SGI (NYSE:SGI) demo at the 11th Annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) Conference, Jan. 22-25 at Newport Beach, California.

At the show, SGI showcases technologies that are revolutionizing the use of visualization in medicine, reinforcing the company's position as a leader in visualization and virtual reality technologies for medical applications.

SGI is demonstrating the medical applications of the Silicon Graphics® Onyx® series of graphics computers in the exhibit booth of the Barco Simulation Products division. Using OpenGL Vizserver, powerful central visualization systems can serve large volumes of complex medical images to thin clients over any network, and even wirelessly. At MMVR, SGI demonstrates real-time visual serving from an Onyx system to a Linux® OS-based tablet computer and to a Windows® OS-based laptop, using a BARCO® rear-projected stereoscopic display system to visualize the data.

On Jan. 25, Almos Elekes, SGI director, medical industries, cohosts MMVR's 4th Annual BARCO Stereoscopy Session. Presentations from more than a dozen organizations demonstrate how cutting-edge 3D stereo graphics are being utilized for a wide range of medical visualization and clinical applications around the world. "We are proud to be a leader in current and emerging medical imaging technologies," explains Elekes. "Our ongoing efforts to improve the visualization of medical imaging data set the stage for the adoption of virtual reality in medical research and in such clinical practice as surgery."

MMVR began in 1992 to develop virtual reality as a means to advance patient care and physician education. Since cofounding MMVR, SGI has remained at the forefront in developing visualization technologies that enable the rendering of and interaction with large data sets in real time. Through the years, SGI® technologies have evolved from primarily research tools to the compute and visualization engines of a wide range of medical products used in diagnostic, surgical and other clinical applications.

Advanced Visualization From Fakespace Systems Supports U.S. Army Research Programs
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 (19:11 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Flexible Immersive Environment Enables Controlled Laboratory Study of Soldier Performance

Fakespace Systems Inc. announced on January 21st that it has delivered a reconfigurable visualization system as part of an Immersive Environment Simulator, used to study how soldiers use equipment in combat zones, at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The RAVE II™ visualization system consists of three detachable, large-scale stereoscopic display units that ARL uses to project realistic imagery of simulated hostile environments.

The RAVE II is one part of the Tactical Environment Simulation Facility at ARL, which includes two adjoining simulation environments. One is a stereoscopic projection-based Hostile Environment Simulator that includes a 155 decibel sound system. The second part, called the Immersive Environment Simulator, integrates the RAVE II with motion tracking and an omni-directional treadmill to allow soldiers to literally run and move in any direction within virtual hostile terrain and combat conditions.

"We selected the RAVE II for the immersive simulator because of its large size and flexible configuration," said Bruce Amrein, Chief of the Visual and Auditory Processing Branch at the Army Research Laboratory. "Fakespace was able to provide a custom-designed system that met our very particular requirements."

The RAVE II at the ARL is a reconfigurable stereoscopic display system consisting of three self-contained 10-ft x 12.5-ft rear-projected modules that can be arranged to form a flat wall display, an immersive theater, or an enclosed CAVE®-like environment. As part of the Immersive Environment Simulator it is used in conjunction with an immersive sound system consisting of 44 loudspeakers. It is the first system of its type to ever include an omni-directional treadmill, and it also has an extremely accurate inertial acoustic position measuring system, which enables visualizations to track in real time with the user’s changing point of view. SGI was prime contractor for the $2.5 million project, and the Immersive Environment Simulator is driven by an SGI Onyx supercomputer.

The new facility will be used for human factors studies on pre-prototype hardware and software, such as new helmet designs and target acquisition systems. As part of the laboratory’s Objective Force Warrior program, the immersive systems will also be used to evaluate how increased information, and different ways of accessing and presenting information, will affect soldiers’ performance. Among a variety of proposed research studies, it will also be used in a project to determine if dismounted soldiers can successfully control one or more battlefield robots.

"The new tactical environment simulation facility at ARL is an exceptional resource for human factors research in warfare," said Carol Leaman, president of Fakespace Systems. "By creating a research facility where the most advanced technology can be applied to the study of soldier performance under highly controlled conditions, the U.S. Army will make discoveries that increase the safety and effectiveness of the armed forces on the battlefield and as a result, increase security worldwide."

The RAVE was customized to meet ARL’s needs. The screen size is larger than standard RAVE units and it was designed to sit 18 inches above the floor in order to accommodate the omni-directional treadmill. It incorporates three Mirage 6000 projectors from Christie. These are exceptionally bright digital projectors that provide extremely sharp images and true colors.

A second RAVE II system with a 20-foot edge-blended center wall module will be installed at ARL in early 2003.

DTI Awarded NASA SBIR Contract
3D-News Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003 (16:16 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced at the end of December that Dimension Technologies Inc. has been awarded a 2002 Small Business Innovation Research contract.

This Phase I contract award will study the feasibility of "A Head-Mounted Display Without Focus/Fixation Disparity."

DTI's award was one of 295 SBIR and SBTT (Small Business Technology Transfer) awards given to 2283 SBIR/STTR proposals from 48 states and the District of Columbia. Companies that successfully complete the Phase I activities are eligible to compete for Phase II selection which allows for a two-year contract up to $600,000.

Additional information on the 2002 SBIR awards can be found at

Town of Yucca Valley Hi-Desert Nature Museum hosts "19th Century California in 3D"
3D-News Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003 (3:09 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

The Town of Yucca Valley Hi-Desert Nature Museum will host "19th Century California in 3D" at the Community Center on Friday, January 24th. The $3 admission (under 12 free) will include light refreshments at 4:00 p.m.

This unique look at California's history, projected in 3D, with a vintage 3D projector begins at 5:00 p.m. The audience will be provided with Polaroid 3D glasses to view the presentation of rare 19th century 3D photographs of California.

Featured in the show will be California Indians, Yosemite, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, railroads, mining, San Francisco and more. Many famous personalities will also be seen, including Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and San Francisco's "Emperor" Norton. Travel back in time to experience significant events in California history such as the Sacramento Flood, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1868, and the wreck of the Viscata. The narrator on this journey into the Golden State's past is California artist and historian Robert Serrano. Producer Christopher Perry, presenter of 3D and silent movie shows all over southern California, can be reached at doctor3d@onemain.com

StereoGraphics chosen to develop 3D displays for Viewsonic
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 (17:19 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

Visual Technology Leader selects StereoGraphics to help create 3D LCD and plasma displays

StereoGraphics Corporation announced last week they have been selected by ViewSonic Corporation to be a technology and market development partner that will help develop a range of 3D display products based upon ViewSonic's LCD and plasma display technologies.

The ViewSonic 3D displays will be based on StereoGraphics' 3D monitor. The StereoGraphics monitor combines a very bright image with wide 3D viewing angles - making it ideally suited for public display as well business applications. The monitor creates maximum impact Stereo3D images and video with incredible depth and clarity without the need for special glasses.

"After extensive research, we chose StereoGraphics and Dynamic Digital Depth (DDD) as business partners to help ViewSonic enter this new product category primarily because of their proven technology in 3D displays," said Marc McConnaughey, senior vice president, Advanced Technology Group, ViewSonic.

Prototypes of an 18-inch 3D LCD display and a 42-inch 3D plasma display showing 3D content including animation, videos and games were demonstrated by ViewSonic at the Consumer Electronics Show, which was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 9-12, 2003.

IMAX and Playtone to Spearhead Groundbreaking New IMAX(R) 3D Project, Magnificent Desolation
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 (17:12 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

IMAX's Newest Space Film to Celebrate Men Who Have Walked on the Moon

In the history of mankind, only 12 men have stepped on the surface of the moon ... Magnificent Desolation is their story. IMAX Corporation, in association with Playtone (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and its principals Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, has begun active development on this unique new 3D film which will allow moviegoers to explore the moon as if they were traveling alongside these 12 extraordinary voyagers. The project will detail what these men saw, heard, felt, thought and did while on the surface of the moon. Magnificent Desolation will be shot in the giant 15/70 format using 3D IMAX cameras and will be released exclusively in IMAX theatres.

From 1969, the year of the first lunar exploration by NASA, to 1972, the last time a manned mission was sent to the moon's surface, only 12 men have experienced the feeling of walking on extra-terrestrial ground. In those three short years, man spent almost 300 hours (approximately 12-1/2 days) exploring and documenting the surface of the moon, and has not returned in over 30 years. Buzz Aldrin, of the Apollo 11 NASA mission and the second man to walk on the moon, uttered the now famous descriptor "magnificent desolation" to express the sensation of being on the moon as well as the landscape he observed.

Magnificent Desolation will break new ground for a "traditional" documentary. Filmmakers Mark Herzog and Mark Cowen (recently nominated for an Emmy Award for We Stand Alone Together: The Men Of Easy Company), will use never before seen photographs by Michael Light (Full Moon, Knopf 1999) as well as transcripts and commentary, played-out in voice-over by actors, recounting the activities on the lunar surface as documented by noted space scholar Eric Jones. The film will also utilize innovative re-creations and/or CGI renditions of the lunar landscape and previously unreleased NASA footage.

"With a history of successful and meaningful space films including IMAX's recent hit, Space Station, which has set box office records, we realize that moviegoers have a consistent appetite to see these unique films in the IMAX medium. Seeing a film in IMAX's 3D format is the closest audiences can get to the moon without actually being there," said Greg Foster, IMAX's President of Filmed Entertainment. "We've been so honored to work with Tom Hanks on the recent launch of Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience and look forward to working with him again on this endeavor, along with Gary Goetzman and the rest of Playtone. We believe that Magnificent Desolation will be a popular addition to our current slate of films, one that should play at both our commercial and institutional theatres for years to come."

Quark Soup: Almost Being There
3D-News Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003 (23:36 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

By Margaret Wertheim, LA Weekly

For more than a decade, the curatorial staff at the Museum of Jurassic Technology has been charting the geography of that interstitial zone between being and not being. Housed behind an unprepossessing façade in Culver City, situated in a block that seems an imminent candidate for redevelopment, the MJT might be characterized as a repository of the almost there. Here, glimmering in the half light, lies a collection of things that hover on the borderline of existence: objects in the process of coming into being or on the verge of decay, people who have been forgotten, theories dreamed of and half-imagined, ideas whispered and rumored, creatures so fleeting they cannot be glimpsed directly, and artworks so small their very presence is called into question. The peculiar alchemy of the Jurassic spirit expresses itself most forcefully in ontological ambiguity, and a new exhibition — devoted to the work of Michigan radiographer Albert Richards, who over the past four decades has perfected a technique for X-raying flowers — takes us closer than ever to this vaporous edge.

X-rays reside in the electromagnetic spectrum between ultraviolet and gamma rays, and are able to pass through materials that visible light cannot penetrate. In a process more akin to Holography than to photography, an object exposed to X-rays casts a shadow on a film — no lens is employed, and the resulting image is a direct projection of the thing itself. Over the course of his career, Richards has X-rayed a wide variety of objects from bombs and bird wings to insects and snowflakes, but in flowers he has found his true métier. Dream apparitions, intangible as smoke, these blossoms appear to be sculpted from ether, each not so much a picture of a flower as a blueprint for the Platonic idea of a flower. Could this be what Karl Kerenyi had in mind when, with mystical ecstasy, he envisaged "flowers, glowing with their own internal light, almost trembling under the pressure of the meaning they bear within themselves"?

Ghostlike and gossamer fine, these evanescent images pull us beneath the surface dazzle of color and scent to a hidden world of unsuspected botanical intimacy. Transmuted to tissue paper by the energetic rays, a calla lily swirls diaphanously around its stamen, a vegetable dancer in private pirouette. Nearby, a cobra plant (Darlingtonia californica) rears its head like a young snake, its network of veins made palpable within the skin of the serpentine flute. Even the overused rose offers new insight, the X-rays revealing layer upon layer of overlaid sheets like the finest French pastry. While in the human body X-rays articulate an irrevocably messy interior, here the effect is elegance, sparsity, geometry — as in the bowl of a lady's slipper orchid, whose seamless symphony of compound curves would shame Frank Gehry's wettest dreams.

One is reminded here of the groundbreaking work of the great German plant photographer Karl Blossfeldt. Like Blossfeldt, Richards has never sought recognition for his work; focused on his empirical studies, he has always seen himself in the domain of science rather than art. In an old black-and-white portrait photograph, Richards smiles gently down upon his visitors, looking like nothing so much as a kindly family dentist. Now in his mid-80s, the former University of Michigan dental-school radiographer holds six patents and has authored more than 100 articles. His research achievements include the development of the recessed-cone dental X-ray head (used in dentists' offices around the globe) and the invention of X-ray dynamic tomography. Whether medical, dental or industrial, radiography has traditionally been used to probe solid objects such as teeth and bones; Richards has painstakingly adapted these techniques, fine-tuning the intensity of the beam to capture the insubstantial delicacy of blossoms. No flower is harmed in the process, he assures us in his enchantingly homey self-published book, The Secret Garden, a catalog of highlights from decades of diligent botanical documentation. In his basement is a lifework of nearly 4,000 floral radiographs, an inimitable treasure of photographic history.

NECESSITY MAY BE THE MOTHER OF INVENTION, but non-necessity seems an equally potent force in the human psyche. Richards' fascination with botanical structure ultimately led him to an extravagant technique for making three-dimensional radiographs. Viewed through stereoscopic glasses, each flower floats wraithlike in its own private theaterette, a miniature maquette in light. Three-dimensional illusionism has long been a favored style of Jurassic magic, but in this exhibit the effect is executed with unprecedented precision, due to a revolutionary technology developed by the famed inventor Edwin Land. Complementing the Richards gallery is an adjacent hall devoted to Land and his equally enigmatic invention.

Classical stereoscopic images are created by two pictures displayed side by side — one red, the other green. By peering through red/green glasses, each eye sees just one of the pair — which the brain then interprets as an illusion of depth. Land, the genius behind the Polaroid Corp., realized in the 1930s that stereoscopic images could be made on a single sheet of film; instead of using red and green filters, the same effect could be achieved with two planes of polarized light viewed through the same polarizing filters now used in sunglasses and camera lenses the world over. He called these images "vectographs."

Land developed the world's first sheet polarizer at the age of just 18, after dropping out of Harvard. This technically demanding innovation, which he would spend decades perfecting and on which the might of the Polaroid Corp. would be founded, was based on an improbable discovery by an English physician named William Bird Herapath. In 1852, one of Herapath's students had found that by dropping a solution of iodine salts into the urine of a dog fed on quinine, he could produce small green crystals. Under a microscope, Herapath saw that some places where the crystals overlapped were white, while in other places the overlap produced a deep blue. Herapath realized that the crystals must be polarized, but it would take Land's dogged tenaciousness to transmute this admixture of canine effluent into a workable polarizer.

During his life, Land was awarded no less than 535 patents, just two fewer than Thomas Edison, the most patented man in history. Yet where Edison is a household name often credited with inventions he did not create, Land remains a mystery. Intensely private, he kept no journals or diaries, and after his death in 1991 an assistant shredded all his personal papers, presumably at his boss's instructions. If Land himself seems in danger of disappearing from our collective consciousness, so too does his vectograph technique. During World War II, vectographs found application by the U.S. military, and after the war, optical companies such as Bausch & Lomb employed the technology in vision testing; enthusiasts dreamed that vectography would become as popular as photography. But the production has remained "technically complicated and elusively expensive."

Since Land's death, a new means of producing sharp, clear vectographs has been perfected by his colleagues Julius Scarpetti and Vivian Walworth at the Rowland Institute. The Richards exhibit at the Jurassic is the first use ever of this technology in a museum display. Yet despite the beauty and clarity of these images, Polaroid recently announced that it will no longer make the polarizing substrate. Thus the box of film used to create the Richards vectographs may well be the last the company produced — in perverse synchronicity with the tenuous spirit that so infuses and sustains this delightful exhibition.

Excerpts From Stunning 3D Movie SOS Planet To Be Presented
3D-News Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003 (23:32 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

SENSIO Is Showcasing Spectacular 3D Movies with Its Innovative
SENSIO 3D Home Theatre Solution At CES 2003

2003 Innovations Award Honoree SENSIO is introducing its patent-pending SENSIO 3D video processor at CES by showing clips from four extraordinary 3D movies at their booth (21108 - LVCC SO 1&2), including the IMAX 3D movie SOS Planet, soon to be released in North America.

Hosted by award-winning journalist Walter Cronkite and directed by Ben Stassen, the film is produced by nWave Pictures, with the support of the World Wildlife Fund, and will be distributed on DVD by SlingShot Entertainment.

SENSIO will also present an excerpt from Journey of Man, a visual and musical celebration of life featuring unique performers of Cirque du Soleil, a 3D IMAX film produced by Peter Wagg for Sony Pictures Classics. The last two clips are from Ultimate G's, an aerial adventure directed by Carl Samson, and Transitions, the very first IMAX 3D movie.

"SENSIO is not only launching the most innovative 3D home theatre technology at CES but we are making sure that retailers and consumers will have access to the best 3D movies from a library of approximately 150 existing titles on film," said Nicholas Routhier, President of SENSIO. "They will include some of the sixty classic 3D movies made in the 50's such as Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder and House of Wax starring Vincent Price as well as some of the more recent 80's movies such as Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th 3D.

"The quality of 3D of these movies was very good, but sadly, the projection technologies used in theaters at the time did not do them justice. With SENSIO 3D technology, we can finally screen them as they were meant to be--enjoying quality on par with today's best theme park and movie theater experiences, in the comfort of our homes."

"We continue to build relationships with major Studios and independent distributors and producers such as Sony Pictures Classics, SlingShot Entertainment, MGM United Artists Home Video, The Stephen Low Company and IMAX Corporation in order to reach our goal. Ten new IMAX 3D films are actually in production worldwide including Ghost of the Abyss, by Academy-Award director James Cameron. We also began offering our SENSIO 3D formatting service in conjunction with Technicolor through their Canadian subsidiary Covitec."

The SENSIO 3D processor is the only 3D product designed specifically for home theatres and compatible with conventional DVD players as well as projectors. The user-friendly, easy-to-install system also requires wireless glasses and offers unparalleled screening comfort. It is the only MPEG-2 compliant stereoscopic format allowing full-screen, DVD resolution and full color 3D pictures compatible with future distribution channels such as pay per view, video on demand, DTV and HDTV broadcast. Audio Plus Services is distributing the product in the retail market in North America, targeting mid to high-end home theatre systems owners. "We are also looking at licensing opportunities and strategic alliances for the development and co-marketing of complementary technologies," explains Richard LaBerge, VP Sales & Marketing.

Christie Introduces Entry-Level Passive Stereo Projection Solution
3D-News Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003 (23:28 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster

3D Technology Now Available for Widescale Deployment

Christie, first in stereo DLP(TM) projection, announced last month the introduction of its newest compact passive stereo 3D projection solution -- the Montage LX33 - the first configuration in Christie's newest family of passive stereo solutions for the 3D visualization market. The company is demonstrating the Montage LX33 at booth #584 at the Interservice/Industry Training Simulation & Education (I/ITSEC) exhibition in Orlando, FL, which runs December 2 - 5, 2002.

The Montage LX33 is a fully integrated passive stereo solution that enables a large viewing audience to see 3D stereo images in high ambient light conditions using entry-level Christie projectors with passive stereo polarization glasses.

Christie's Montage family is based on a simple and flexible concept -- integrating less expensive projectors to accommodate a user's specific need for brightness and resolution. For the industry, this means more flexible options for presenting data in compelling 3D stereo to larger-sized audiences.

The Montage LX33 comes with two Christie 3300 ANSI lumens (total 6600 ANSI lumens without polarization filters) LCD projectors at XGA resolution, a 6-axis adjustable stacker, Christie's Active to Passive 3D Converter, a polarization stand with two linear polarizers, a dedicated power bar, all necessary cables and a set of 10 passive stereo glasses. The convenience of this package makes it an excellent shared resource easily transportable from room to room.

The AP Converter converts an incoming active stereo 3D signal to two passive stereo 3D output signals. The separated left-eye and right-eye information is routed to two stacked Christie LCD projectors and then viewed through polarized 3D glasses for quality stereoscopic images on a non-depolarizing screen.

Featuring input resolution compatibility from 640x480 (VGA) up to 1280x1024 (SXGA) the system is totally platform and software independent (SGI, SUN, HP, PC or any UNIX/Linux/Windows based system) making passive stereo conversion from an active signal flexible to fit any application. Montage LX33 features three optional zoom lenses: short throw 1.3-1.8:1, medium throw 1.8-2.1:1 and long throw 2.4-4.3:1.

Traditionally, due to the expense of the hardware components, 3D technology was only available to a limited number of users. With the introduction of the affordable Montage LX33 solution, 3D technology is now available to a much larger group of users, including those in military command and training centers, aerospace, research and engineering development, scientific visualization, manufacturing and automotive computer-aided design, oil and gas exploration, pharmaceutical and medical laboratories, architectural studios, 3D entertainment, corporate 3D boardrooms, executive briefing centers, museums, etc. The Montage LX33 offers ease of use and significantly reduces the cost of 3D projection so it can be used in other areas of product development including quality assurance, service training and testing, as well as, customer training, sales and marketing.

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Editor-in-Chief: Alexander Klein.

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