3D-News Archive March 2004


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Glasses-Free 3D Digital Software; Visual Communications Company Adds SynthaGram Support Into Software
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 (15:54 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Lightspeed Design Group, a corporate video producer and developer of stereoscopic 3D software technologies, has added support for the SynthaGram(TM) Glasses-Free 3D(TM) monitors to its DepthQ 3D Cinema Server software.

Chris Ward, President of Lightspeed, has worked with other autostereoscopic, or glasses-free 3D, technologies in the past and believes that the SynthaGram 202 is the only product to address the needs of high-end corporate clients in the event and exhibition industries.

"StereoGraphics has done it!" said Chris Ward. "The SynthaGram 202 is the first and only glasses-free 3D product that meets our needs. When creating 3D content for exhibitions, there are three crucial elements -- there has to be real 3D depth, the 3D images have to be beautiful, clear, and wide, and the solution has to be convenient and reliable. The SynthaGram 202 is the only glasses-free 3D product that meets all three requirements."

Lightspeed was pleased with the outstanding technical support from StereoGraphics, which provided well-written white papers and a Software Developer's Kit (SDK). Lightspeed was able to quickly understand the parameters and concepts for adding support for the SynthaGram to its DepthQ OpenGL software. The result was SynthaGram image displayed at 30 frames per second using standard compression techniques.

Lightspeed Design's DepthQ 3D Cinema Server is a specialized professional-quality server technology for the display of stereoscopic 3D film and video media. DepthQ cost effectively delivers high-resolution media to 3D theaters, museum exhibits, portable theaters, motion simulators, and corporate events.

Lightspeed premiered the SynthaGram driven by DepthQ at the Exhibitor Show in Las Vegas, March 15th-17th. Reaction to the SynthaGram from exhibition experts and marketing executives was excellent, and many exhibitors are considering incorporating the SynthaGram into their exhibit plans.

Pangea releases Bugdom 2 v2.0 with 3D glasses support
3D-News Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004 (14:08 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Pangea Software has released Bugdom 2 v2.0, a free update to its popular game that now supports the use of 3D anaglyph glasses for a "truly immersive" 3D experience. "There are some really cool 'in-your-face' 3D effects in Bugdom 2 which are just amazing with the 3D glasses on," said Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software. Bugdom 2 uses the same Red-Cyan 3D glasses that Nanosaur 2 and Otto Matic use. The glasses are available free in every boxed version of Nanosaur 2 (two pairs) or can be purchased directly from Rainbow Symphony.

Toshiba Readies Diverse, Cutting-Edge Mobile Technologies and Display Technologies for CeBIT 2004
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 (16:04 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will feature a special "Innovation Corner" to demonstrate a diverse range of its cutting-edge mobile terminals and display technologies at the Toshiba Booth at CeBIT 2004, the leading IT technology trade show that will be held in Hannover, Germany, from March 18 to 24.

The technologies and systems on display draw on Toshiba's latest advances and capabilities in information processing, image processing, and electronic devices and components, and demonstrate how Toshiba's commitment to innovation and excellence will bring consumers new levels of comfort and convenience, and a better quality of life, through future generations of consumer electronics. One of the featured items is a new 3D Display.

Toshiba's 3D display says goodbye to the twentieth century. No longer does viewing 3D mean special glasses and eye fatigue, thanks to the company's integral-imaging-based 3D display technology. Vivid images and much reduced eye strain are complemented by smooth motion parallax and a wide viewing angle.

Advances in integral imaging realize seamless viewing angles of up to 14 degrees on each side of prototype 15.4-inch displays with 300 horizontal pixels and 400 vertical pixels. Natural 3D images can be reconstructed by increasing parallax to 18. Toshiba has also developed 3D content development software that transforms 3D CG content into 3D images with parallax, and the displays at CeBIT feature both 3D moving pictures and real-time 3D CG scenes.

Potential applications of the new 3D technology include advertising and arcade games, and future applications may well include auto-stereoscopic televisions for the home.

Kodak Demonstrates Revolutionary 3-D Display System
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 (14:34 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Ideal System for Gaming, Entertainment and Other Intensive Visualization Tasks

Eastman Kodak Company yesterday showcased a significant innovation that allows video-game players, earth scientists and a host of others to experience three-dimensional images without glasses or headgear of any type creating the sensation of actually being a part of the image.

Kodak will introduce a commercial prototype of its Stereoscopic Imaging Display system at the Exhibitor Show 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 15-17, in Booth #1514 at the Mandalay Bay Exhibition Center. Kodak also plans to demonstrate the Stereoscopic Imaging Display system at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California, March 24-26, in Booth #944 at the San Jose Convention Center.

The Stereoscopic Imaging Display system produces a wide field of view, three-dimensional (3D) stereo image. The superior quality of the Kodak system provides an ideal display for intensive visualization tasks, such as oil and gas exploration, molecular and chemical modeling, computer-aided design, entertainment and gaming, and many other applications.

The system represents the first initiative from Kodak's New Business Ventures Group, which is responsible for commercializing break-through technology developed by the company's Research & Development organization.

"Unlike other 3D imaging systems, which rely on a barrier screen placed over an existing monitor, the Kodak display is an entirely new concept," said Lawrence Henderson, vice president and director, new business ventures, Eastman Kodak Company. "Kodak's Stereoscopic Imaging Display system maintains full image resolution and creates a very wide field of view. The display brings a new level of realism to the 3D visual experience, capitalizing on Kodak's extensive research and development."

Kodak is currently seeking partners and early-stage customers for the system, and will provide licenses to the technology for integration into third-party products and systems.

How it Works
The user sits in front of a system that creates a virtual image of two high-resolution LCD displays, one for each eye. The user looks into two "floating balls of light" that provide each eye a view of a magnified image of a display. The combination of the wide field of view and virtual image eliminates the sources of eyestrain found in other autostereoscopic systems. Kodak's Stereoscopic Imaging Display system also has a unique viewing zone, which makes it easy to see the "sweet spot" of an image while maintaining image quality across the entire viewing zone.

The desktop display has a field of view that measures 45 degrees by 36 degrees, and a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. The user peers through a large, 32 mm viewing pupils that gives the viewer the feeling of floating in a movie theater about 1.5 screen heights away from the screen. Kodak can adjust the scale of this system to increase or reduce the display resolution to meet various applications.

The Kodak autostereoscopic display breaks new technical ground in the field of stereo imaging. The unique Ball Lens Technology behind the display is summarized in a paper presented at the 2003 Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference. This paper is available upon request.

Pangea Software, Inc. Announces the Release of Nanosaur II: Hatchling
3D-News Posted: Friday, March 12, 2004 (14:04 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Pangea Software, Inc. announced on March 10th that they have officially released their latest Macintosh game, Nanosaur II: Hatchling.

Nanosaur 2 is available for immediate download from several sources including the Pangea Software web site (www.pangeasoft.net/nano2), Mac Game Files (www.macgamefiles.com), and iDisk. Apple's .Mac customers who download the full version of the game from their iDisk get a special bonus: they can play additional levels in demo mode.

The download version of Nanosaur 2 runs in a limited demo mode until a serial number is purchased for $24.95. The boxed CD version of Nanosaur 2 will start shipping on March 19th, but pre-orders are now being taken on the Pangea Software web site: www.pangeasoft.net/nano2/buy.html. The CD version costs $34.95, and comes with two pairs of 3D glasses.

"The initial response to the game has been astounding!" says Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software. "The visuals in Nanosaur 2 far exceed what most people were expecting, and the gameplay and all-out fun-factor of the game are really making an impression."

Nanosaur II: Hatchling is the sequel to the incredibly popular 1998 game Nanosaur, but unlike its predecessor, Nanosaur 2 has multiple levels including six 2-player levels with modes such as Racing, Capture-the-Flag, and Battle. Additionally, Nanosaur 2 supports the optional use of 3D glasses for a truly immersive 3D experience. Both anaglyph and shutter glasses are supported.

Lots of additional information can be found on the Nanosaur 2 homepage: www.pangeasoft.net/nano2. Movie clips from the game can be seen in an exclusive preview on Inside Mac Games: www.insidemacgames.com

Starosta Opening at 3D Center
3D-News Posted: Friday, March 12, 2004 (13:58 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Starting on March 26th, the "3D Center of Art and Photography" in Portland/OR (USA) features a contemporary artist, Boris Starosta. Starosta, a master of photography and computer generated images, presents large anaglyph prints ranging in mood from romantic to techno-chic. The images, beautiful on their own, jump to life when viewed in 3D with red and cyan anaglyph glasses. The exhibition ends on April 25.

The newly opened 3D Center also houses a collection of antique and contemporary stereo cameras, viewers and other devices. Information panels and interactive displays explain the phenomenon of 3D vision. The Center's collection of stereocards are available for viewing and the reference library is open to visitors. There are daily 3D slide projections.

Open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays from 1 pm until 5 pm. Open First Thursday from 4pm until 9 pm. Admission by donation. 1928 NW Lovejoy, Portland/Oregon, USA. Tel.: 1 (503) 227-6667, Web: www.3dcenter.us.

Celoxica Introduces High-Performance Evaluation Boards
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 (14:16 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


RC300 and RC2000Pro Offer High Performance and Flexibility for Designers of Image Processing and Data Streaming Applications

Celoxica Limited yesterday announced the availability of two new FPGA-based evaluation and prototyping boards - the RC300 and RC2000Pro. Both of these boards provide high performance FPGAs coupled with a wide range of features and options to offer designers of image processing and data streaming applications a new level of capability.

The RC300 package provides a desktop environment intended for evaluation and development of high-performance, high-throughput FPGA and soft-core microprocessor based applications such as robotics and industrial vision systems, video compression, video distribution, high-speed encrypted VPN, packet filtering and network intrusion detection.

To facilitate the use of the board for these types of applications, the package provides a 6M gate Xilinx Virtex II FPGA with direct access to four large banks of ZBT SRAM (totaling 32Mbytes) and a DIMM socket for customer-provided DRAM.

High-performance video, including stereoscopic video applications, is enabled by the dual video inputs and outputs, including both digital video to the DVI standard and analog video.

As an option, the board can be supplied with a high-resolution 1024x768 12.1-inch TFT/Touchscreen offering a quality and size of display unique in the industry and providing potential for sophisticated demonstrations of imaging applications such as in-car infotainment.

Communications are provided by dual gigabit Ethernet MAC/PHYs and 10/100/1000baseT sockets offering capability for data streaming, data distribution and high performance network applications. The board also offers a USB 2.0 connection for high-speed bit file download and for host to FPGA application communications.

To assist with debug, application status reporting and user interaction, the board has 8 user-programmable LEDs and a four-line, 16 character LCD display as well as audio in/out, including SPDIF digital out, PS2 keyboard and mouse connectors and dual RS232 ports.

The RC2000-Pro package provides an environment for the development of high-performance FPGA / Hard-core processor based SOC applications particularly in the area of image processing. The package is composed of a high performance FPGA development environment and supporting software including platform abstraction layer (PAL) and data stream manager (DSM) support, allowing rapid development of platform-independent Handel-C applications using the Celoxica DK Design Suite.

The hardware is based on a PCI mezzanine card (PMC) featuring either a XC2VP70 or XC2VP100 Xilinx Virtex-II Pro Platform FPGA. The PMC card also provides a high speed PCI interface, DDR SSRAM and DDR SDRAM external memory, programmable clocks, temperature monitoring, battery backed encryption and flash boot facilities. The PMC card can be adapted to customer requirements by fitting an optional daughter module offering a range of I/O and/or additional memory configurations.

For use in a standard PC/PCI environment, the PMC card is supported by a dual PMC to PCI carrier card providing 64-bit 66MHz primary and secondary PCI via an Intel 21154 PCI-PCI bridge device. PMC Pn4 user I/O connections can be routed between the PMC sites or can be connected to an on-board I/O connector. The PMC card can also be used in a CompactPCI environment through the use of a dual PMC to CPCI carrier card.

Pricing and Availability

The RC300 will be available later this month (March 2004) with prices starting at $12,500 including power supply and supporting software for Windows 2000 and Windows XP platforms. The RC2000Pro range is now available with boards starting at $15,000 including supporting software for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Celoxica also offers the DK Design Suite and other software products supporting the Software-Compiled System Design methodology as well as a broad range of design services and other off-the-shelf FPGA prototyping cards.

Playtone and IMAX 3D Space Film Lifts Off Into Production with Lockheed Martin Sponsorship
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2004 (14:08 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Tom Hanks Presents 'Magnificent Desolation', an IMAX(R) 3D Film Celebrating Man Walking On The Moon For Release In 2005

IMAX Corporation in association with Tom Hanks' and Gary Goetzman's Playtone announced on March 3rd that the newest IMAX(R) 3D space film, Magnificent Desolation, will be sponsored by the renowned aerospace company, Lockheed Martin. The highly anticipated film, which will be shot in giant 15/70 format using IMAX 3D cameras, will allow moviegoers to experience walking on the moon alongside the extraordinary voyagers who have stepped upon its surface.

Tom Hanks commented, "We went to the Moon. Everyone knows that. We -- by proxy in the form of the Apollo Astronauts -- flew up into the sky, sailed to the Moon, and landed on Luna Firma. What we know too little of is what we did while we were there. Magnificent Desolation takes the audience to the surface of the Moon -- to the Ocean of Storms, the Fra Mauro Highlands and the Taurus Littrow Valley, as well as Sea of Tranquility -- as only IMAX can. Exploring the Moon was humankind's most incredible roadtrip. Our film will bring along anyone who wants to take that giant leap for themselves."

"We believe Magnificent Desolation holds the potential to be extremely successful given the exciting subject matter and Tom Hanks' passion and creative vision. The film will be designed by Playtone and IMAX to play at both commercial and institutional IMAX(R) theatres for many years," said IMAX Co-CEOs and Co-Chairmen Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "We are thrilled to partner once again with Lockheed Martin, which together with NASA and IMAX have created one of the highest grossing large format film franchises, featuring space films that have cumulatively grossed more than $350 million."

"For nearly 20 years, Lockheed Martin has teamed with IMAX and NASA to produce films with the goal of educating and inspiring young and old about the wonders of math, science and technology through the prism of space," said Dennis Boxx, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Lockheed Martin Corporation. "And through our newly formed partnership with IMAX, NASA and now the creative team headed by Tom Hanks, a new generation will be enticed by the excitement and drama the astronauts of the Apollo program brought into our homes as they dared to dream of space and set foot on the lunar surface."

"NASA is proud to collaborate with Playtone, as well as continue our successful relationships with IMAX and Lockheed Martin," said Glenn Mahone, Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Tom Hanks' enthusiasm for exploration is clearly evident in his previous productions that chronicle NASA's remarkable history, and we believe Magnificent Desolation is a wonderful opportunity to capture the interest and curiosity of the next generation of explorers."

Magnificent Desolation, to be produced by Messrs. Hanks and Goetzman of Playtone and by IMAX, will detail the life-changing experience of the 12 men who walked on the moon by showcasing what these men saw, heard, felt, thought and did while on the lunar surface. The 45-minute IMAX 3D feature documentary will be directed by Mark Cowen, Emmy Award nominee for the documentary film We Stand Alone Together: The Men Of Easy Company (a.k.a. Band of Brothers), and supervised by Greg Foster, President of Filmed Entertainment, IMAX Corporation. Cowen is also producing, along with Mark Herzog. Magnificent Desolation will break new ground with never before seen photographs, CGI renditions of the lunar landscape and previously unreleased NASA footage. The film's content will be based on "The Lunar Surface Journals," a massive archival database compiled over the last decade by Dr. Eric Jones, which chronicles the moon walks as recounted by the astronauts. The film will be brought to life in both IMAX and IMAX 3D on screens up to eight stories tall with 12,000 watts of pure digital surround sound for exclusive release to IMAX theatres in 2005.

Magnificent Desolation is a continuation of IMAX's space film legacy and its unique production partnership with Lockheed Martin and NASA. IMAX space films have been seen by more than 85 million people and played in more than 15 languages worldwide. The most recent collaboration between Lockheed Martin, NASA and IMAX was the extremely successful release of SPACE STATION, an IMAX 3D film released in April 2002, which has grossed nearly $70 million in box office and continues to play in theatres worldwide.

NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience Races into Select IMAX Theatres On March 12, 2004 and Sets the Record for the Widest Domestic IMAX Opening Release
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2004 (14:06 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Warner Bros. Pictures, IMAX Corporation and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) will release NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience exclusively in select IMAX(R) theatres on March 12, 2004. The film is already setting records as the widest IMAX domestic release ever, with 68 theatres revving up for opening day. The film will be presented on the world's largest screens, up to eight stories high, with crystal clear images and 12,000 watts of pulsating digital surround sound.

Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland and sponsored by AOL for Broadband, NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience provides an insider's perspective of America's number one spectator sport. Through the magic of IMAX(R) 3D technology, audiences will be transported into the driver's seat and experience the heart-pumping action on the track, in the pit and behind the scenes. Dale Earnhardt Jr., third generation NASCAR driver, says "The footage portrays NASCAR in its truest sense. It's really loud, which is exactly what it's like when you're inside the car." Jimmie Johnson, the 2003 series runner up, adds, "If you want to know what it's really like to be a NASCAR driver, this film is a must- see experience."

"As our first original IMAX film, we are thrilled that NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience, will have the widest domestic release in IMAX's history," said Dan Fellman, president, domestic distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. "This record is a testament to the appeal of NASCAR and how this film lends itself to the scale and power of IMAX."

NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience will be playing at the following IMAX 3D Theatres (unless otherwise indicated):

Opening March 12, 2004

UNITED STATES
Alabama
Huntsville -- Spacedome IMAX Theater at the US Space & Rocket Center **
Mobile - J.L. Bedsole IMAX Dome Theater at the Gulf Coast Exploreum**
Arkansas
Little Rock -- IMAX Theater at the Aerospace Education Center *
Arizona
Tempe -- IMAX Theatre at Arizona Mills
California
Dublin -- Regal IMAX Theatre at Hacienda Crossing
Irvine -- Regal IMAX Theatre at the Irvine Spectrum
Los Angeles -- IMAX Theatre at The Bridge: cinema de lux
Los Angeles -- Universal CityWalk IMAX Theatre
Ontario -- Regal IMAX Theatre at Ontario Palace
Sacramento -- Esquire IMAX Theatre
San Francisco -- Loews IMAX Theatre at Metreon
San Jose - Hackworth IMAX DOME Theater, The Tech Museum of Innovation**
Santa Clarita -- Regal IMAX Theatre Valencia
Colorado
Colorado Springs -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Cinemark Carefree Circle
Denver -- UA Colorado Center IMAX Theatre
Florida
Fort Lauderdale -- Blockbuster IMAX Theater at Museum of Discovery and
Science
St. Augustine -- World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater *
Tampa -- Regal Channelside Cinemas IMAX
Georgia
Atlanta -- Regal IMAX Theatre at the Mall of Georgia
Idaho
Boise -- Edwards Boise Stadium IMAX
Illinois
Addison -- Marcus IMAX Theatre
Chicago -- Navy Pier IMAX Theatre
Lincolnshire -- Regal IMAX Theatre at CityPark
Woodridge -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Seven Bridges
Indiana
Indianapolis -- IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum
Kansas
Hutchinson -- Carey IMAX Dome Theater at the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space
Center **
Louisiana
New Orleans -- Entergy IMAX(R) Theater, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Maryland
Baltimore -- IMAX Theater at the Maryland Science Center
Massachusetts
Boston -- Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium
Natick -- Comcast IMAX 3D Theatre at Jordan's Furniture
Michigan
Dearborn - The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre
Grand Rapids -- IMAX Theatre at Celebration! Cinema
Lansing -- IMAX Theatre Celebration! Cinema
Minnesota
Apple Valley -- Imation IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo
Missouri
Branson - Branson's IMAX Entertainment Complex*
Nevada
Las Vegas -- Brenden Theatres & IMAX(R) at the Palms Casino Resort
Las Vegas -- Luxor IMAX Theatre
New York
Buffalo -- Regal IMAX Theatre at Transit Center
New Rochelle -- Regal IMAX Theatre at New Roc City
New York -- Loews IMAX Theatre at Lincoln Square
Rochester -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Tinseltown
West Nyack -- IMAX Theatre at Palisades Center
North Carolina
Charlotte -- The Charlotte Observer OMNIMAX Theatre at Discovery Place**
Ohio
Columbus -- Marcus IMAX Theatre at Crosswoods Centre
Oklahoma
Tulsa -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at The Tulsa
Pennsylvania
King of Prussia -- UA King of Prussia Stadium IMAX
Pittsburgh -- Rangos Omnimax Theater at Carnegie Science Center**
Rhode Island
Providence -- Feinstein IMAX Theatre at Providence Place
South Carolina
Charleston -- The Charleston IMAX Theatre at Aquarium Wharf
Myrtle Beach -- IMAX Discovery Theatre*
Tennessee
Nashville -- Regal IMAX Theatre at Opry Mills
Texas
Austin -- IMAX Theater at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
Dallas -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Webb Chapel
Houston -- Edwards Houston Marq*E IMAX
San Antonio -- IMAX Theatre San Antonio Rivercenter
Virginia
Chantilly -- IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian National Air and Space
Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center*
Hampton -- Riverside 3D IMAX Theater at the Virginia Air & Space Center
Virginia Beach -- ABC Family Channel IMAX 3D Theater at the Virginia
Marine Science Museum
Washington
Seattle -- Pacific Science Center's Boeing IMAX Theater

CANADA
Alberta
Calgary -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Chinook
Edmonton -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Silver City West Edmonton Mall
British Columbia
Langley -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Colossus Langley
Vancouver -- CN IMAX Theatre at Canada Place
Nova Scotia
Halifax -- Empire IMAX Theatre
Ontario
Mississauga -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Coliseum Mississauga
Toronto -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Toronto
Woodbridge -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Colossus Toronto
Quebec
Montreal -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Montreal

Opening After March 12, 2004

Alabama
Birmingham -- IMAX Dome Theater at McWane Center **
Florida
Daytona Beach -- Pepsi IMAX Theatre at DAYTONA USA
Tallahassee - IMAX Theatre at the Challenger Learning Center*
Iowa
Davenport -- IMAX Theatre at the Putnam Museum
Tennessee
Memphis -- Union Planters IMAX Theatre at the Pink Palace Museum*

CANADA
Quebec
Quebec City -- IMAX des Galeries de la Capitale

* IMAX 2D Theatre
** IMAX 2D Dome Theatre

Christie Installs China’s Largest VR System
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2004 (14:04 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Christie, a leading provider of purpose-built simulation display solutions, is proud to announce it has successfully completed China's largest Virtual Reality (VR) system for Beijing-based China Petroleum and Chemical (Petrochemical) Corporation (SINOPEC), the country's biggest producer and distributor of petrochemicals. Known as Petro-One, the state-of-the-art installation is the first such system to be used in the local petroleum and related industry for oil exploration activities and research.

"Petro-One is the result of a coordinated team effort which seeks to seamlessly combine the different elements such as calculating equipment, graphic generator, audio-visual components, projection system, controllers and many more into a collaborative interdisciplinary working environment," says Cao Xianghong, Senior Vice-President, SINOPEC. "By utilizing this system, we'll be able to embark on more in-depth research activities for strategic planning. Industry geologists, geophysicists as well as drilling engineers can now gather to jointly discuss real-life cases such as the rock strata in Eastern China and the complicated geological structure of the Erdos Basin. In addition, we can also use it in oil well planning prior to drilling as well as display first-hand information through satellite transmission from field locations. All these will translate into savings and maximize our oil exploration investments in the long run."

Forming the core of the system is three Christie 3-chip DLP™ Mirage 6000 projectors used for front projection. Suspended from a height of about four metres above ground in the 90-seat auditorium, they display high clarity, high brightness stereoscopic and 3D images as well as data sets generated by a SGI Onyx 3800 server operating on Landmark's Geoprobe software. To complete the immersive experience, a 3.6-metre-by-13-metre Stewart Curve screen with a 135-degree field of view is used.

"As the oil and energy-related industry is getting more competitive, more companies are now studying the use of visualization and virtual reality techniques in their exploration effort to help increase inefficiency and effectiveness of their research process," remarks Duncan Deng, Sales Executive, Christie China. "As China is fast emerging as one of the world’s greatest oil producers, we are glad to be able to tap into our extensive VR and immersive experience to work on this prestigious installation and help contribute to the technological advances in the local oil exploration efforts."

Carnegie Mellon's Red Team Selects ATI Technologies to Power 3D Mapping and Navigation for DARPA Challenge
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2004 (14:02 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


ATI's FireGL(TM) graphics boards enable real-time terrain visualization and routing applications for off-road autonomous vehicle race

ATI Technologies Inc. announced yesterday that its FireGL(TM) workstation graphics technology was selected by the Red Team, headed by Professor William L. "Red" Whittaker of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, for their entry in the $1 Million Grand Challenge. Carnegie Mellon's Red Team is using FireGL powered workstations for advanced terrain visualization, route planning and vehicle simulation in the unmanned off-road race for autonomous robotic vehicles sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Grand Challenge is an historic 210-mile off-road race for unmanned vehicles from the Barstow, California area to just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. As many as 20 race teams will be given the course details just two hours before the start of the event, and will not be able to communicate with their vehicles once the race begins.

The Red Team has been relying on advanced FireGL graphics technology to develop and visualize extensive 3D terrain maps, forming a massive database of potential race routings. The power and stability of ATI's FireGL graphics boards have helped the team to create the most comprehensive and detailed map of the Mojave Desert ever, giving the Red Team's vehicle a distinct competitive advantage during the ten hour race.

"ATI's FireGL technology has enabled our mapping team to rapidly process an immense amount of information, including aerial and space imagery, GPS coordinates, and topographical maps," said Whittaker, Director of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. "By integrating these various data sources, and utilizing the FireGL's onboard graphics memory, we can now easily create and manipulate very detailed 3D maps of the course."

On race day, the Red Team's vehicle will maneuver autonomously, using laser scanners, radar sensors and stereoscopic cameras to continuously correct its steering and adjust its speed. Based on the terrain data and its real-time visualization systems the vehicle is free to decide on alternate routes as it avoids obstacles and other vehicles.

"The ability of our FireGL workstation products to push the boundaries of what has been done previously in the areas of visualization and simulation will be uniquely valuable to the Red Team and the Robotics Institute," said Dinesh Sharma, Director of ATI Workstation Products. "We are very excited to be working with Carnegie Mellon, along with other technology leaders on this groundbreaking event."

The $1 Million Dollar DARPA Grand Challenge takes place on Saturday, March 13, 2004, with a starting point near Barstow, California. The Qualification, Inspection and Demonstration (QID) event will be held March 8 - 12, 2004 at the California Motor Speedway in Fontana, California. For more information on the Red Team, please visit www.redteamracing.org or www.ati.com/online/redteam.

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