3D-News Archive December 2003


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Mars Express enters polar orbit
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 (5:21 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The European satellite Mars Express successfully entered a polar orbit above Mars, which will allow it to try to contact the missing lander Beagle 2 next week, the European Space Agency said.

The Beagle 2 was scheduled to land on Mars on Christmas Day, but no signal has been received from it since then.

Controllers, which have hoped to hear the lander's signal using an Earth-based station and a US satellite, have said the Mars Express will offer the best chance to contact Beagle 2 when it gets into the proper position on January 7.

"Everything went well, and Mars Express achieved a polar orbit which allows it to pass over the planet at altitude of between 300 and 10,000 kilometers (185 - 6,215 miles)," said ESA spokesman Franco Bonacina.

The Mars Express has been in a temporary equitorial orbit since arriving at the Red Planet, and should achieve its permanent polar orbit on January 4.

When Beagle 2 separated from Mars Express on December 19 -- after a 400 million kilometer journey through the heavens -- it was set to become the first European spacecraft to land on another planet.

During its 180-day mission it was programmed to test rock, soil and air samples for signs of past or present life on Mars.

Although Beagle 2 is one of the most spectacular parts of the Mars Express mission, it represents only about 10 percent of the overall project's total scientific work, European Space Agency scientists have said.

Other instruments aboard the Mars Express will enable researchers to obtain the most comprehensive coverage of the planet to date.

The equipment include a stereoscopic camera, a means of observing gravity anomalies, a radar capable of seeing beneath the surface and spectrometers to examine minerals and the atmosphere for any evidence of life.

"3 Days of 3-D" Film Festival
3D-News Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2003 (20:49 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The "3 Days of 3-D" Film Festival will be held at the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, New York, from February 27 through February 29, 2004.

"3 Days of 3-D" will present 10 of the best classic films made during the 1950's in the miracle of Third Dimension, including "Kiss Me Kate", "Creature from the Black Lagoon", "Dial 'M' for Murder", "It came from Outer Space", "Gorilla at Large", "Inferno", "Miss Sadie Thompson", "Robot Monster" "Gun Fury" and "House of Wax". You'll have the opportunity to see big stars such as Rita Hayworth, Vincent Price, Grace Kelly, Rhonda Fleming, Rock Hudson, Howard Keel, Donna Reed, Kathryn Grayson, and Raymond Burr all so close that you'll feel you can reach out and touch them! Also on each program will be a selection of ultra-rare 3-D short subjects, including ones with Bugs Bunny, The Three Stooges, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and many more.

The Lafayette Theatre is a vintage, fully-renovated 1000-seat 1924 movie palace and was one of the first theatres in Rockland County equipped to show 3-D films in mid-1953, but hasn't shown a 3-D film since October of that year. All of these films will be presented in genuine, double-system 3-D - the best method of all - using special Polarized viewing glasses and two projectors running with interlock synchronization.

Individual tickets are priced at $8.00 for each show and will be available at the Lafayette Theatre Box Office approximately one hour before showtime.

Advance tickets are available from the Festival's Website (http://www.bigscreenclassics.com/3days3d.htm): Friday Passes are $15, Saturday and Sunday Passes are $30 each. The Full Festival pass is $65.

Barco-Infitec Technology wows the crowds at Supercomputing 2003
3D-News Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003 (17:00 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


At Supercomputing 2003, first-hand demonstrations of the innovative Barco-Infitec stereo visualization technology were presented in the NCAR booth. Also, Barco's highly versatile, active-stereo DLP™ system was showcased in the SGI booth.

"Attendees visiting with me frequently commented that the Barco-Infitec technology exhibited the best stereo separation compared to the 15 or so other stereo displays at the show," said Andrew Joel, Market Development Manager for Virtual & Augmented Reality, Barco Simulation. "I also received numerous enthusiastic comments about the excellent display quality of our Barco WARP Galaxy projectors in SGI's booth. SC2003 was a very successful show for us."

At the Phoenix Civic Plaza Convention Center, Barco showcased its cutting-edge technology to business, technical, and educational professionals from around the globe in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) exhibit booth. During the show, NCAR employed the technology to showcase scientific research efforts in the fields of meteorology, climate, interplanetary space weather, atmospheric chemistry, and astrophysics.

The Barco-Infitec technology consists of left- and right-eye image projectors that project an image through a Barco proprietary filter onto a screen. High-quality filtering technology allows you to avoid using polarized filters and specialized directional projection screens like conventional passive polarized technology. Instead, the Barco-Infitec technology splits up the color spectrum for the left- and right-eye and displays them simultaneously, thus providing ghost-free passive stereo images without requiring special screens or electronic glasses. As an alternative, special Infitec glasses are used to view the projected images. The glasses are lightweight and allow full freedom of motion. Infitec glasses are comfortable and can be combined with correctional eyeglasses. The Barco-Infitec technology offers stereoscopic display with extremely high brightness and contrast, as well as unparalleled stereo separation. The entire system is powered by high-quality, reliable Barco DLP projection technology.

In addition, visitors to SGI's booth witnessed Barco’s high-performance, three-channel stereoscopic visual display system. This system was driven by three Barco Galaxy WARP™ Active Stereo three-chip DLP™ projectors, which were color-matched and edge-matched nearly seamlessly onto a 24' x 6' flat projection screen.

Preparing for Beagle separation
3D-News Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003 (14:13 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Beagle 2 LanderMars Express completed a precision-pointing manoeuvre to prepare for the planned release of the Beagle 2 lander on 19 December.

On 16 December, controllers at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, rotated the spacecraft and fired its engines briefly to increase the speed as it approaches Mars as part of the maneuvre.

This is one of the most accurate positionings of a satellite that ESA has had to do, and it was completed successfully.

The planned landing site has now been narrowed down to an area measuring almost 200 kilometres in length by and 50 kilometres in width. After the ejection procedure, the Mars Express orbiter will continue to follow the Beagle lander for five days before performing a braking manoeuvre (called Mars Orbit Insertion) that will put it into a 400-kilometre orbit around Mars.

The Mars Express orbiter carries seven science instruments – a high resolution stereoscopic camera (HRSC), a visible and near-infrared spectrometer for mapping minerals (OMEGA), an infrared spectrometer to measure water vapor in the martian atmosphere (PFS), an ultraviolet atmospheric spectrometer (SPICAM), particle sensors to learn how the solar wind interacts with the martian atmosphere (ASPERA), subsurface radar and altimeter to map the distribution of water ice in the planet’s crust (MARSIS), and a radio science experiment that will use radio waves to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars (MaRS).

Beagle 2 schematic drawingThe Beagle 2 lander carries three cameras:

  • A stereo pair of cameras (numbers 7 in the schematic drawing) mounted on the robotic arm will provide a panoramic view of the scene around the landing site and monitor the activities during sampling.
  • One of the cameras is equipped with a pop-up mirror which will provide the first wide angle picture of Mars soon after landing without having to lift the robotic arm from its stowage. Later in the mission the mirror will be used to observe the mole in its carrier tube.
  • A third camera is part of a microscope, deployed by the robotic arm which will be used to examine fresh rock surfaces cleaned of weathered debris by a rock grinder. The microscope with 6 micron resolution will image at various wavelengths.
The High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) was developed by DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) in Berlin.

A modified version of this camera, the HRSC-AX, is an optoelectronic digital airborne multispectral stereo scanner for photogrammetric and general remote sensing applications with high photogrammetric accuracy and very high spatial resolution (10 cm from 2500 m flight altitude).

The camera technology was developed for the Russian Mars 96 space mission (High Resolution Stereo Camera, HRSC) and modified for airborne remote sensing applications. Therefore, it has small dimensions, low mass, low power consumption, and a robust design.

The HRSC-A is practically identical in its main structural features and electronics to the system developed for Mars 96 with some additional peripheral electronics and includes its original optics.

The HRSC-A/AX system is mounted on a Carl Zeiss T-AS stabilizing platform in its in-flight configuration. Easy handling of operations is provided due to various automatic modes.

Below, we are presenting a sample aerial photograph taken with the HRSC of the German Reichstag Building in Berlin, Germany. It can be viewed with anaglyph glasses.Anaglyph Glasses

Sample Anaglyph Image, Reichstag Berlin

World's First Running Humanoid Robot
3D-News Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003 (7:59 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


QRIOSony Corporation announced the development of dramatically enhanced motion of Sony's humanoid robot, enabling integrated motion control for walking, jumping and running. By applying this technology to QRIO, which is one of Sony's technology platforms, Sony has successfully created the world's first running humanoid robot.

QRIO's head is equipped with two cameras. Just like a human, through a detailed comparison of the right and left images (stereoscopic vision) it determines the distance to the object in view. It is also equipped with seven microphones, so that by analyzing the sound waves they detect, it can calculate the direction of the sound it hears. By then analyzing that sound it can determine whether it is a person's voice, hands clapping, etc. If you applaud QRIO, it just might turn its attention to you.

Sony will continue to utilize the QRIO platform for various technological advances, leading to outstanding entertainment robots highly suited to the co-existence with humans and to the development of various technologies which can be applied to other Sony products. In addition, QRIO is Sony Group's Corporate Ambassador ;in fulfilling this role, QRIO will take advantage of various opportunities around the world to communicate Sony's vision of a world of dreams, entertainment and curiosity as well as introducing the technology that makes this vision a reality.

"Stereo Switching": Barco introduces all-in-one stereo separation solution for optimal passive stereo viewing in various applications
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 (22:31 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Creating a Virtual Reality Environment often involves budgetary considerations and various difficult technological decisions. For optimal return on investment, a VR room should be able to function as an auditorium for impressive stereoscopic demonstrations for a large audience, as well as serve as a room for collaborative analysis and decision making for a limited number of specialists. By introducing its remote controlled "Stereo Switcher" on the Barco SIM6 Ultra and Barco SIM6 Ultra MM LCD projectors, Barco enables you to switch between linear and circular polarization, and INFITEC stereo separation, thus adapting the stereo creating technology to your various application needs.

  • For stereoscopic presentations to a large audience, linear polarization is the most cost-effective technology.

  • For collaborative analysis and decision making, e.g. in automotive design and oil & gas exploration, researchers are interacting with the computer, constantly moving and tilting their head to better distinguish important details. Circular polarized projectors and passive stereo eyewear is most recommended for these applications.

  • When stereoscopic depth and detail, completely free of ghosting, is of paramount importance, e.g. in some automotive and scientific research applications, Barco INFITEC stereo viewing delivers optimal stereoscopic accuracy.
Thanks to the "Stereo Switcher" option on the Barco SIM6 Ultra and SIM6 Ultra MM projectors it is now possible to run different applications in a single VR room and switch by remote control between linear polarization, circular polarization and INFITEC. Sophisticated precision mechanics automatically insert the correct filter in the light path of the projected image inside the projector. Barco's "Stereo Switcher" widens the scope of use of a virtual environment, thus considerably enhancing the return on investment.

Misadventures in 3D: New 3D Movie
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2003 (4:20 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


MisadventuresMisadventures in 3D: More 3D Mania opens with the breaking news that Professor Turcinovic, the director of the famed Institute of 3-D Technology and the inventor of Real-O-Vision (a revolutionary new type of 3-D cinema), and his mechanical assistant,Max, are trapped somewhere in the second-and-a-half dimension. That alone would be a big enough problem, but the Institute's board is threatening to shut down the Institute. Thinking quickly, the Professor decides that broadcasting from the second-and-a-half dimension is the perfect way to help the board understand the 3-D revolution—and thus the importance of the Institute, not to mention the Professor himself.

With the help of a larger-than-life hologram of a pair of human eyes, the Professor explains the workings of the oldest "optical mechanism." He then describes how the brain processes visual cues to "see" the world in three dimensions. The Professor notes that 3-D cinema is the only medium capable of capturing reality using all the same visual cues the human brain uses.

Unfortunately, up to this point, if an image on the screen had touched the edge of the frame—the "window"—it destroyed the 3-D effect. But the Professor has news! He announces that a revolution has finally taken place. By projecting their films on a large-format screen, 3-D filmmakers can now get rid of the "window."

The giant size of the screen changes the rules of cinema by allowing viewers to feel physically present in the scene, giving them the thrill of "being there."

Having unveiled the future of 3-D, the Professor makes his final appeal to the board. They unanimously vote to keep the Institute running and reactivate the Real-O-Vision machine. Unpredictably, the machine explodes back to life, hurling fireballs and tongues of flame, and zaps the entire board into the fourth dimension, leaving the Professor and Max with a new problem to solve.



Iowa State University professor received $860,000 grant from National Science Foundation for virtual reality design program
3D-News Posted: Saturday, December 6, 2003 (2:50 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


An Iowa State University (ISU) industrial technology professor has earned an $860,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a computer program that produces three-dimensional stereoscopic images and a low-cost virtual reality technology package for high school and college product design and technical graphics classrooms.

Shana Smith, assistant professor of industrial education and technology, said the changing nature of technical design and competitive pressures in manufacturing sparked her interest in developing low-cost virtual reality technology.

"Changing market needs, advances in technology and the shift from drafting to design, problem-solving, presentation and communication points to the critical need to integrate virtual reality tools into design and technical graphics classrooms beginning in high school," Smith said.

Smith and Adrian Sannier, associate director of the Virtual Reality Applications Center, are developing a software program, suitable for design classroom use, which will create realistic, three-dimensional images on personal computers. The program will help students understand the spatial relationships in designs and give students a clearer picture of the distances between components.

The project includes introducing and testing the technology at two community colleges - Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, and Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines. The grant will also pay for high-tech projectors that enhance the three-dimensional images for students at Iowa State and both community colleges.

Feedback from all of the test users - including students in Smith's own technical design classes - will be the basis for improving complementing instructional materials that will be made available to graphics and design educators nationally via a project Web site or a CD-ROM.

Ann Thompson, professor of curriculum and instructional technology, is also working on the project.

Project web site: http://www.educ.iastate.edu/iedt/virtualtech/

3-D at the Academy on Monday, December 8, 2003
3D-News Posted: Thursday, December 4, 2003 (4:41 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Jodie FosterNext Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Theater in Los Angeles will be showing some never before seen 3-D Images of Oscar Winning People Projected along with the 2002 Academy Award winning Best Picture "Chicago". The 3-D is just a short "surprise" part of the evening, but part of what will make the whole evening quite unusual.

Here are the details:

Date: Monday, December 8, 2003 (ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!)

Time: 7:30 PM (arrive at least by 7.00, or 6:15 if you want to see the excellent pre-show)

Place: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills

Ticket Price: $5.00

Background Details:

On May 13, 2002 the Academy began a 75 film series called "Facets of the Diamond" in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Academy Awards. Every Monday night for the past 75 weeks they have been showing the AcademyAward winning Best Picture winners, in chronological order, from 1927 to 2002. December 8th, 2003 is the last film in the series.

In addition to showing the Best Picture, they have also been showing the Best Animated short subject, and, before the film begins, selections from the Academy Awards broadcast for that year (or stills, newsreels and other archive materials for the earlier years). Each week they have also invited guests, such as the actors, directors, producers and other people who have worked on each film.

The Program Coordinator, Randy Haberkamp, happens to be a 3-D fan, and, beginning with the 1939 film "Gone With the Wind", Reel 3-D Enterprises' David Starkman got permission to photograph the special invited guests in 3-D, alongside the Academy's official photographer.

Randy thought it would be great to wrap up the series with a 3-D "slide show" with the 3-D pictures of all of the invited celebrity guests who have visited this series.

This posed a technical challenge, as the Academy does not have a silver screen, and there was no time or budget to accommodate this requirement for just one show.

The answer was to digitize the images, convert them to color anaglyphs, and to project them using the Academy's Theater Size Digital projector. Ray Zone did the conversions, and Academy Information Support specialist Brett Davidson put Ray's conversions into a computerized Power Point program for digital projection. The final test of this was just done on Monday, Dec. 1, 2003 at which time Randy enthusiastically approved the "show" for projection next week.

FrameCycler Stereoscopic Playback Software Opens New Vistas for Science
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, December 3, 2003 (0:40 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Renowned Photographer Lennart Nilsson Praises IRIDAS Visualization Technology

IRIDAS, a leading creator of high-performance digital solutions for the film, broadcast and digital content creation industries, is finding growing interest in the science and medical communities for its high resolution digital playback technologies. A new state-of-the-art presentation facility at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm is providing a first taste of stereoscopic projection that displays sequences at 7 times higher resolution than that of typical TV video. Academic audiences have been very impressed with the results.

Among the first films to be created for high definition stereoscopic playback at the Institute was a depiction of the development of the human embryo and a sequence showing actual cell division of neural stem cells by Dr. Lennart Nilsson, author of the international bestseller, A Child is Born. Detailed three-dimensional pictures of such highly dynamic processes have, until now, only existed in the minds of scientists. Now, using technology developed originally for the film industry, scientists can visually study complex three-dimensional processes as they unfold.

"Stereoscopic viewing of motion picture in color, and with this resolution, is a really new idea with very exciting results," says Dr. Nilsson. "It puts us right inside a fantastic world, and gives us an intimate, up-close experience. It will have terrific value for medical people and, of course, for the public in general. I am very thankful to IRIDAS for creating this playback technology. We have lots of new ideas for how we are going to use it."

IRIDAS' playback applications have their origin in the film industry where complex special effects require uncompressed, full resolution playback with a high degree of user control, for example to loop, or "ping-pong" sequences. IRIDAS also pioneered direct playback of frame data without first compressing or converting the material to a video format (such as QuickTime or AVI), thus saving users the time required to convert files and the loss of image quality that comes with low resolution video. It is precisely these qualities which make IRIDAS' technologies so attractive to researchers.

"I admit that we didn't think of FrameCycler as a research tool during its early development," said Lin Kayser, IRIDAS CEO, "but almost from the beginning, scientists have been using it to review and analyze visual data. We realize that this is happening because science needs the same precision and functionality which made FrameCycler the leading playback application in filmmaking. We're delighted about the successes at the Karolinska Institute."

Depending on hardware capacity, IRIDAS products can play back sequences in resolution of up to three megapixels per frame (typical video resolution for a single frame is about 0.4 megapixels). IRIDAS' stereoscopic playback software comes in two versions, both of which are software-only solutions that run on regular PCs and do not require hardware extension cards. FrameCycler 3D gives users instant access to high resolution stereoscopic playback on their PC workstations. FrameCycler DDS Bichannel can play back two-channel sequences of virtually any length when connected to a RAID subsystem. The applications also provides full sound playback capabilities. Both versions include sophisticated playback controls such as slowdown or speed up playback, reverse playback, zoom and crop to allow for detailed examination. For pricing information, technical specifications, and hardware requirements, please visit www.iridas.com or contact IRIDAS by phone at +49 (89) 330 40 982.

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Editor-in-Chief: Alexander Klein.

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