3D-News Archive May 2005


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New haptics systems challenge stroke patients to grasp, pinch, squeeze their way to recovery
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 27, 2005 (16:33 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Stroke patients who face months of tedious rehabilitation to regain the use of impaired limbs may benefit from new haptics systems - interfaces that add the sense of touch to virtual computer environments - in development at the University of Southern California's Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC).

The new systems, being designed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Annenberg School for Communication, are challenging stroke patients to grasp, pinch, squeeze, throw and push their way to recovery.

With a $1.8-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the team has come up with quite an assortment of new applications. Some are designed to make stroke survivors stack, push or pour liquid out of three-dimensional objects in immersive environments, while other tasks force them to pick up objects and move them through cyberspace corridors without bumping into walls or falling into booby traps.

"Haptics, which adds the sense of touch to 3-D computing, lets stroke patients interact with virtual worlds by feel," said Margaret McLaughlin, an IMSC investigator and professor of communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. "The big advantage is that we can control the environment and design cyber tasks that target each patient's impairment."

McLaughlin, who is a co-editor of Touch in Virtual Environments, works with researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC to design the new haptics technologies.

"The technology got its start in commercial gaming, with the debut of inexpensive, non-immersive versions using force-feedback joysticks and steering wheels that vibrated as the driver sped along a video racetrack," she said. "But in university laboratories, the availability of more sensitive, high-end devices that could render touch sensations in three dimensions quickly led to applications in more serious pursuits."

Haptics interfaces began to emerge in such fields as medical and surgical training programs, flight school, teleoperations and scientific visualization. In 2004, NIH saw a need for the technology among stroke survivors, said principal investigator Thomas McNeill, professor of cell and neurobiology, neurology and neurogerontology at the Keck School, and awarded USC and the University of Texas, Austin, a grant to pursue the work.

"More than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year and nearly 450,000 survive with some form of neurologic impairment or disability," NcNeill said. Those numbers will grow, he added, as the population ages and obesity and heart disease increase, making innovative rehabilitation programs "a national priority" in the next 50 years.

A group of interdisciplinary faculty and Ph.D. students in IMSC's Haptics and Virtual Environments Lab - including McLaughlin , Albert "Skip" Rizzo, Younbo Jung, Wei Peng, Shih-Ching Yeh and Weirong Zhu - went to work on the applications.

"Designing one is very much like creating an aircraft simulator to test and train pilots," said Rizzo, who is currently a research scientist at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies. "But now we've created simulations that can assess and rehabilitate a stroke patient under a range of stimulus conditions. These are conditions that aren't easily deliverable or controllable in the real world."

The haptics interfaces have descriptive names, such as "space tube," "pincher" or "mutual touch," which tell users what they do. In addition, each cyber task targets specific eye-motor coordination skills and measures the user's movements in real time.

"Pincher" is designed for two-fingertip contact with virtual objects, said Shih-Ching Yeh and Weirong Zhu, both computer programmers and graduate students in the Annenberg School of Communications.

The interface works like this: The user dons a pair of stereoscopic goggles and puts a thimble on the forefinger; the thimble is connected to a robotic force-feed device, called a PHANToM. The stylus of a second PHANToM is affixed to the thumb. The two PHANToMs provide the sensation of force to the user's fingertips as (s)he tries to pick up a three-dimensional cube and squeeze it small enough to fit through a narrow hole on the computer screen.

Another emerging interface is a "mutual touch" task for hand-reaching and grasping exercises. This therapeutic environment utilizes a "cyber grasp" exoskeleton, which fits over an instrumented data glove, to measure the position and orientation of the hand in a three-dimensional space.

"The glove allows patients to feel the sensation of a solid object in their palms," said Yeh, who develops some of the "special effects" computer graphics for these interfaces. "Among the tasks they might be able to perform are picking up a glass and inverting it to pour the liquid out or picking up books and stacking them on appropriate shelves."

The interfaces give physical therapists precise control over a stroke patient's exercise program, which is key to recovery, said Younbo Jung, another member of the team and a graduate student in communications.

"We can tailor rehabilitative tasks, like pouring milk out of a glass, to each patient, depending on what level of impairment they have sustained," McLaughlin added. "We also get information on their performance instantly, which helps the therapist to design a rehabilitative program of increasing difficulty. "

In pilot studies at the USC Keck School - led by Carolee Winstein, professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy and co-principal investigator on the NIH grant, and Ph.D. student Jill Stewart - stroke patients are trying out these prototypes.

So far, they have reported "overall satisfaction" with all of the new cyber tasks, said McLaughlin. In one instance, a volunteer was "extremely enthusiastic about the space tube task and said she wanted to use the system at home."

That is critical to post-stroke recovery. "It's not easy to keep patients motivated and engaged in daily, repetitive exercises," McLaughlin said, "so if they are enjoying the tasks, they're likely to do better during rehabilitation."

Philips reveals 3D display processor for mobile phones
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 (3:01 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Philips 3D Solutions, a subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics NV (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), has announced it is working on a graphics chip to drive flat displays to give three dimensional images on cell phones. It would do this without the need for special viewing glasses although it does require a specially adapted LCD, the company said. The company launched its IC3D graphics chip design at the Society of Information Display International Symposium taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday (May 24).

Philips 3D Solutions has developed multi-view 3D display solutions based on Lenticular lens technology, which is an array of transparent lenses fixed on a standard LCD panel, the company said.

The graphics chip performs the real-time rendering and interweaving of 2D and depth information into the 3D image. Without this display signal processing, a 3D display can only show static, pre-rendered content such as pictures and logos. The IC3D could also be used for color processing, scaling, and real-time depth calculation for 2D content, Philips 3D Solutions said.

The IC3D chip could be integrated into the display module of a handset or in the back end of a handset's application engine. It is also possible to integrate the same functionality as an IP block into a multimedia application engine, Philips 3D Solutions said.

Engineering samples of the IC3D chip are dur to become available in the fourth quarter of 2005 with volume shipments due to follow in Q1 2006 to selected customers.

Storytelling in Virtual Environments
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 (12:38 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Armed with the latest in Virtual Reality (VR), museums can entertain visitors far and wide. Over a third of the people who tested a new interactive and 3D system –flying over a Greek gorge or touring an ancient Asian temple – said their experience was better than a real trip.

"The VR market is just beginning in museums," says Dr Manfred Bogen, coordinator of the European IST project DHX. "But it has a great future in cultural and natural heritage institutions, offering visitors an intense and emotional experience."

Using their own system – mainly projectors, screens, audio and computer equipment – the partners created several guided tours. Adds Bogen: "Besides the gorge and temple, we developed virtual tours of Pisa’s Baptistery building, Milan’s Piccolo theatre as it was in the 19th century and a tour about German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. All of these have lifelike, stereoscopic and interactive animation, and people can interact with them with touch displays or joysticks."

Uniquely, the system allows museums to form networks and create, share and disseminate cultural heritage. In a recent live demonstration in Milan, the European project partners linked up with their Korean partner over a broadband line for a virtual visit of the Yellow Dragon Temple. Participants in various places interacted with the display, while guided by an expert in Milan.

"By being part of an open network, a museum with a VR system such as DHX can tap into digital heritage worldwide," says Bogen. "The content databases held at one institution can be customised for display at any other."

Visitors of the DHX demonstrations rated them as excellent for their 'presence, ambience and dynamics’ and good on visual details. Some were impressed by the 3D environment or the ability to see scenes from different viewpoints. Others wanted to be able to move around scenes more or for objects to look more realistic.

"Our virtual platform is ideal for museums that may have large collections, but limited space and money," says Bogen. "Visitors would prefer to see everything available in a museum, presented in the right context. With VR and suitable software, such as our storytelling and guided tour tools which assist with new exhibition planning, museums could break into the emerging world of edutainment."

With some 43,000 museums worldwide, there is a huge market for so-called immersive display solutions. But few can afford VR systems, which come with four-figure tickets for basic systems and up to six figures for sophisticated displays for large theatres.

"Prices are coming down and a VR system will run on a high-end PC with a good graphics card," says Bogen. "But you also need the right tools, such as storytelling software."

Results of the project will be highlighted in Kuurne, Belgium, where technology partner Barco will demonstrate the DHX system, and in the permanent showcase in Crete’s new Natural History Museum in late 2005.

Each partner has committed to be a reference partner for Barco, to spread the news about the project technology. "We are showing our products to interested companies and institutions," adds Bogen. "The complete package is not for sale, but it is possible to purchase individual components such as the Logical Storytelling Designer."

Arizona State University's decision theater ushers in new age in public policy
3D-News Posted: Saturday, May 21, 2005 (1:46 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


A new age is dawning on public policy, one based on advanced scientifically informed decision making, with the May 23 opening of the Decision Theater at Arizona State University.

The Decision Theater is an advanced visualization environment that will enable policymakers and others to see in detailed three-dimensional representation the consequences of their actions. It will feature a 260-degree "immersive environment" where researchers will literally see the effects of public policy decisions played out before them.

"The Decision Theater is an exciting new concept that melds science with public policy in a novel way, which we expect will have a huge impact in a number of socially important areas," said ASU President Michael Crow. "The Decision Theater will provide informed analysis based on scientific evidence to key public policy experts, who then can use that analysis on which to discuss issues and provide a basis for sound policy decisions."

As a tool designed to aid the public, the Decision Theater will focus on real-world issues relevant to today's society. Using computer models and computer visualization techniques, the Decision Theater at Arizona State University will enable researchers to test the outcomes of decisions made today on such topics as urban growth and water usage, and the effects of policy decisions on public health and on a myriad of environmental and social challenges.

"We are connecting science to the community with this new facility," said Decision Theater Executive Director Rick Shangraw. "The Decision Theater will be an important resource for policy makers by providing interactive forums to identify and assess probable outcomes of real world decisions, review the potential impacts of varying policy decisions, and provide visualizations of alternative future scenarios and scientific analyses produced by complex and integrated computer models.

The Decision Theater will be used in several targeted research areas, including:

  • Enabling policy makers, business leaders and government officials to explore the outcomes of possible scenarios of urban development, such as water availability, urban heating, land use patterns, transportation networks, air quality and homeland security.

  • As a forum where decision makers and scientists meet to discuss and explore integrated environmental, economic and social challenges to arrive at optimal decisions through the use of models and dialogue.

  • In simulation games, or "what if" scenarios, to model and visualize otherwise unimaginable future outcomes of the many factors that affect our society and possible "breaking points" of our critical infrastructure. For example, ASU researchers will be able to simulate metropolitan Phoenix in the year 2040, when it is expected to include a population of 7 million people, by inputting the known and expected growth patterns and associated demands for water and other natural resources.
Decision Theater will be a key tool to be used by researchers who are part of the Decision Center for a Desert City, a recently funded $6.9 million National Science Foundation center at ASU. Decision Theater is located in the Brickyard complex in downtown Tempe.

At the core of Decision Theater is the "drum," a theater area for up to 20 people, a significant advance in three-dimensional immersive environments, which are usually limited in the number of participants. In the Decision Theater, groups of people can experience the simulations in the drum and then use the analysis towards more informed decision-making.

The Decision Theater employs seven digital-image projectors back projecting stereo images onto seven high definition screens to achieve the 260-degree image surround. Hardware design and system set up is provided by Fakespace Systems Inc., Marshalltown, Iowa, a leader in Virtual Reality and immersive environments.

"ASU will have one of the highest performing and most state-of-the-art virtual reality systems in existence today," said Chris Clover, president and CEO of Fakespace Systems Inc. "The ASU system will have the largest number of stereoscopic imaging channels with advanced high resolution and high brightness projectors with more than 10 million pixels (7 channels at 1400x1050 resolution and more than 7,000 lumens of brightness each) to be installed and integrated in the virtual reality field.

"What also makes the ASU system unique is its use of advanced PCI Express video graphics technology from NVIDIA Inc., into a 7-node PC cluster," Clover added. "This will be one of the earliest systems to make use of this technology, especially in a multi-channel virtual reality system. Fakespace is proud to be a key partner in deploying this system."

Anshuman Razdan, director of research and technology at the Decision Theater said a key capability of the facility is its ability to incorporate and integrate complex multi-dimensional data from a variety of sources, such as numeric and spatial data, into models and simulations for display in an immersive environment.

"With this data fusion, we can take data from different sources, which oftentimes are gathered and presented in specific and varying ways, and integrate them to provide a complete picture of the scenario we are monitoring or simulating," Razdan said.

Initial funding for the Decision Theater came from Ira A. Fulton ($3 million) and ASU, ($3 million). Shangraw said they are looking into additional individual and corporate sponsors for the facility with the overall goal for it to become self sufficient in a couple of years.

Decision Theater researchers already have begun one project with the East Valley Water Forum, a regional cooperative of city planning managers in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix. This group is developing data driven scenarios for ground water policy issues under a variety of drought scenarios. These scenarios will allow decision makers to investigate options and potential impacts of coordinated water management plans. Their work will assist them in reaching informed planning decisions as the eastern portion of Maricopa County continues its explosive growth.

Shangraw says officials at Decision Theater also are in discussions with federal agencies on additional uses for the Decision Theater.

"This powerful tool will be an important element to any public policy researcher or agency that needs to project the impact of their decisions into the future," Shangraw explained. "The Decision Theater will help those people understand the full extent of their policy decisions and help provide scientifically based informed analysis that has never been available before in this type of forum."

Italian police investigators use SGI virtual reality system to re-create crime scenes
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 (2:31 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


A forensics laboratory in Rome is using a sophisticated computer system to reproduce crime scenes, re-creating everything from the path of a bullet to the movement of a corpse with startling realism. The first-of-its-kind system, powered by a visualization system from Silicon Graphics, is located at Rome's RiTriDEC (Ricostruzione Tridimensionale della Dinamica dell'Evento Criminale) laboratory.

The system is believed to be the most advanced Virtual Reality theater dedicated to criminal analysis. It is operated by the investigating unit of the Italian state police: the Polizia Scientifica Italiana's Unita' per l'Analisi del Crimine Violento, which is known for its ability to solve international murders.

"One of the systems' biggest advantages is in reenacting the event through the eyes of different witnesses: to evaluate the reliability of a deposition or to check on particular conditions of a crime scene," Carlo Bui, who supervises the project, said. "It helps us answer very specific questions: What could the victim see? What could the witness see? What was the distance between, say, the door and the couch?"

Bui said that the system powered by SGI is especially good at representing complex events such as a projectile trajectory, making a ballistics expert's calculations readily understandable to others. Detectives can even view the screen stereoscopically using special glasses, synchronized to the computer through an infrared signal.

At the heart of the Reality Center is a six-processor SGI Onyx 350 InfiniteReality4 graphics system computer, which manages three Barco projectors, as well as the acoustic and stereoscopic systems. Images are displayed on an 18-by- 7-foot floor-level screen, large enough to recreate the actual crime with startling realism.

The virtual 3D crime scenes help investigators visualize everything from on-the-spot written records to laser-produced measurements--even accepting video from closed circuit cameras. Bullet trajectories, blood drops, and the movement of corpses can all be animated. Objects can be placed in absolute or relative position to a victim, aggressor, or witness. The SGI system can cross-check dimensions for accuracy and calculate the exact angle of the sun. The turnaround from raw data to completed 3D model is fast: typically within 24 hours.

"In studying the scene of a crime, an investigator must behave like an art critic," says Bui. "It is like analyzing a picture-it is important to grasp even the smallest details within the scene. SGI's advanced graphics solutions allow us to reproduce even tiny details, like a reflection on a glossy surface."

Officials from Polizia Scientifica Italiana's Unita' per l'Analisi del Crimine Violento will present the keynote speech at the upcoming SGI User Group 2005 Conference, June 13 - 16 in Munich, Germany.

For more information see http://www.sgi.com/company_info/events/sgiug2005.html

Stereoscopy.com becomes Associate Member of 3D Consortium
3D-News Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2005 (15:49 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


3D Consortium3D Consortium
Stereoscopy.com is now an associate member of 3D Consortium. 5 companies (Itochu, NTT Data, Sanyo Electric Company, Sharp and Sony) set up the organisation, with the aim of developing 3D stereoscopic display input and output devices and increasing their take-up, promoting expansion of 3D contents and improving distribution and contributing to the expansion and development of the 3D market.

The 3D Consortium comprises more than 70 companies in all - including the 5 executive companies (originators), and 65 standard members including hardware manufacturers, software vendors, contents vendors, contents providers, systems integrators, image production, broadcasting agencies, academic organsiations.

Sections will be set up within the Consortium to discuss specific topics such as activities to promote image format in accordance with the various uses and in/output devices, guidelines for when making contents and authoring tools etc. The Consortium intends to expand overseas as well and to positively promote activities towards expanding take-up of 3D. It aims to create a new industry that has not existed hitherto in the 3D market.

For more information, see http://www.3dc.gr.jp/english/index.html.

New, inexpensive 3D displays for the markets of the future
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 13, 2005 (0:21 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Toronto and Dresden based Canadian-German company group Spatial View announced the formation of a joint venture, Spatial View Manufacturing Sdn.Bhd. The new venture, based in Penang, Malaysia takes on the manufacture of lithographic-optical elements for 3D displays.

The displays, produced by the partner Inventec Electronics Sdn. Bhd. Multimedia and Telecom (InventecMT) using Spatial View technology and software, make genuine 3D experiences possible for viewers - without additional aids of any kind, such as red-green or shutter glasses. The objects or scenes portrayed no longer lie flat on the screen, but appear three-dimensionally in the space in front of the display or in the space behind it.

This is no longer a distant vision of the future; it is reality:
The InventecMT/Spatial View displays offer a spatial reproduction of three-dimensional content. They will soon be a part of everyday life - at the work places of design engineers, architects and designers, in medical diagnosis and preparation for surgery, in education, in advertising and in the modern mass-media - because these displays will be available at reasonable prices, starting at significantly less than 1000 Euro.

Two sizes - 17" and 26" versions of the monitors will be produced, using technology based on a barrier process (parallax barrier). In this process, parts of the visible surface are deliberately blocked on the LCD screen in order to make the 3D effect possible. The barrier structure is so fine that the viewer does not perceive it. These screens make three-dimensional vision possible with the naked eye over a range of viewing angles and positions, and offer high picture-quality with brilliant resolution and depth of colour.

Availability of the 3D displays in large numbers and at reasonable prices will raise basic means of working and communicating with the computer to a new level of quality. For example, great potential for saving working time and costs will arise as a result of larger work-teams now being able to assess virtual prototypes simultaneously as they are generated by "genuine" three-dimensional (true-space) visualisation of 3D engineering or design data.

Spatial visualisation of the data from endoscopes, microscopes, ultra-sound equipment and computer-tomographs makes it possible to undertake diagnoses and surgical interventions (minimal-invasive surgery) with far greater safety and quality than has previously been possible.

Many different fields of application already exist and there will be even more in the near future; practically every object that can be seen on computer monitors or television screens can become a three-dimensional experience. Topographical relief-maps, sculptures in a virtual museum, electronic books, educational material, digital advertising media and in future perhaps home entertainment - DVD, computer games, 3D television ... the time is ripe, and the possibilities are endless.

Former President and CEO of United Cinemas International Joseph Peixoto joins REAL D
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 13, 2005 (0:16 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


REAL D, a leader in the delivery of premium digital 3D entertainment, announced today that former United Cinemas International (UCI) President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Peixoto has joined the company as President of Worldwide Cinema, REAL D, where he will manage relationships with exhibitors, studios and content creators. Peixoto will also be responsible for expanding REAL D's cinematic footprint globally as the company works towards its goal of converting more than 1,000 theaters to REAL D theaters by 2006.

As a recognized leader in the entertainment community, Peixoto was name "International Exhibitor of the Year" by Cinema Expo International in 1999. While at UCI - previously owned by Paramount Studios and Universal Studios – Peixoto led the expansion of the company to 12 territories operating more than 1,100 screens, including most countries in Western Europe, Brazil and Japan. Prior to UCI, Peixoto served as President of Famous Players, a Canadian theater chain. Peixoto will report directly to REAL D Chairman Michael V. Lewis.

"Joseph is heralded for his forward-thinking strategies that have shaped the cinematic landscape," said Michael V. Lewis, Chairman, REAL D. "As theater owners, content creators and studios convert from analog to digital cinema, Joseph's appreciation of how technology can advance the exhibition industry makes him an excellent addition to REAL D."

"I'm eager to help shepherd the next cinematic evolution as part of the REAL D team," said Peixoto. "REAL D will help exhibitors meet tomorrow's challenges by further differentiating the out-of-home movie-going experience."

REAL D provides exhibitors with a variety of solutions for the delivery of premium digital 3D content, including movies; presentation of alternative programming, such as live concerts and sporting events; and, high-impact advertising. Because REAL D's proprietary stereoscopic hardware and software integrates seamlessly with Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) complaint projectors, exhibitors avoid the cumbersome and costly technology associated with traditional, analog delivery of 3D content. As part of REAL D's licensing partnership with exhibitors, REAL D provides and maintains all equipment necessary for the flawless delivery of 3D content.

Most exhibitors prefer REAL D's elegant and easy-to-use solution that allows the highest quality stereoscopic content to be played using a single digital projector and passive polarized glasses that are lightweight and styled like sunglasses. As the inventor and world's leading manufacturer of shutterglasses, REAL D also provides exhibitors with 3D technology that uses active polarized lenses.

Zebra Imaging, Inc. Releases High-Speed Monochrome Imager Model M1 for Production of 3D Holographic Images
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2005 (22:09 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Today Zebra Imaging unveiled its unique high-speed monochrome imager, allowing for the rapid production of digital holographic images at previously unattainable speeds. Zebra's first commercial Imager Model M1 allows for the production of monochrome, high-resolution full-parallax digital holographic images in 20 minutes per square foot and they can be tabletop or wall images. This new technology permits quick, on location holographic image production from CAD data, GIS data or any other 3D data source. The holographic image produced is an exact representation of the digital data.
Zebra Imaging has selected three target markets for its initial focus; defense, intelligence and homeland security; automotive and large manufacturing; and city planning and architecture.

Holographic images, used as a 3D visualization tool instead of physical models, cuts time to manufacturing by three-quarters or more, and cuts costs by as much as two-thirds.

Holographic images are also extremely valuable in 3D visualization of urban and non-urban terrain. Soldiers can see sniper nests and exposure threats just as if they were there. Applications include planning, operations, and reconstruction. A Defense Department Official quoted in Forbes Magazine May 9, 2005, said, "You miss an awful lot with a 2D picture. The holographic image puts you right in a place before you've been there. They provide what we call situational awareness." Zebra Holography allows for the deja vu effect above and below ground in true 3D without special viewing goggles, glasses or equipment.

Zebra's high-speed monochrome Imager Model M1 creates holographic images on a special film that can be cut to smaller sizes or tiled together to make larger images. The holographic images are lightweight, portable and viewable with a single light source such as a flashlight, halogen lamp or the sun. Zebra's images are scalable to any size, can contain multiple unique images and animated sequences.

The range of applications for the Zebra Imager Model M1 is broad; including such uses as:

  • Defense and intelligence
  • Anti-urban terrorism
  • Visualization/verification of engineering designs
  • Manufacturing designs and prototyping
  • Seismic data visualization
  • Oil and gas upstream visualization
  • Nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical and microscopy imagery
  • City planning and architecture
  • Marketing and entertainment
"The release of the Zebra Imager Model M1 changes the face of holographic imaging. For the first time, customers can produce their own images with their own data, cutting costs and quickly addressing their 3D visualization needs in the planning and design process," said Robin Curle, President, CEO and Chairman of Zebra Imaging, Inc. The Zebra Imager Model M1 is available today for purchase and deployment to key customers for internal use, or for use for customers through a service offering by Zebra. Zebra is also able to produce full color imagery at the Zebra Image Center located in Austin, Texas.

The Polar Express: an IMAX 3D Experience Back on Track to IMAX Theatres in November 2005
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 6, 2005 (21:53 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Unprecedented Success of First Run Brings Highest Grossing Digitally Re-Mastered IMAX Release Back for Another Holiday Season

IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience, the highest grossing and most successful IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) release to date, will return to IMAX® theatres in November 2005. First released on November 10, 2004, and co-financed by Shangri-La Entertainment, the film broke virtually every box-office record for a digitally re-mastered Hollywood film in IMAX's format, and set the record for the highest grossing week in IMAX's 35-year history. The IMAX® 3D version of The Polar Express has grossed an estimated $45 million to date, including more than $10 million on just 22 international screens, for a cumulative per-screen average of more than $520,000. The film continued to post sold-out shows across the IMAX theatre network well after the holidays, registering a per-screen average of more than $100,000 in January 2005.

"The Polar Express generated remarkable box office returns in IMAX theatres and the feedback from moviegoers who experienced it in IMAX 3D was that the experience was nothing short of amazing," said Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures. "We were especially impressed with the legs of the IMAX DMR version, as it was selling out shows and packing IMAX theatres weeks into the new year. We believe new audiences, as well as repeat customers, will want to make The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience part of their holiday tradition."

"The outstanding success of The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience convinced us that this film can be a holiday perennial, similar to It's a Wonderful Life, that will draw audiences year after year," said IMAX Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "Commercial exhibitors took note of the movie's performance to date in IMAX theatres, leading to increased signings momentum, and many of our customers have expressed a desire to bring the film back for another run."

Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX Filmed Entertainment, continued, "It is a pleasure to once again work with our partners at Warner Bros. Pictures on this groundbreaking Robert Zemeckis production, and we look forward to offering moviegoers another chance to be captivated by the classic Chris Van Allsburg tale presented in stunning IMAX 3D."

Castle Rock Entertainment presents, in association with Shangri-La Entertainment, a Playtone/ImageMovers/Golden Mean Production of a Robert Zemeckis Film: Tom Hanks in The Polar Express. Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a screenplay by Zemeckis & William Broyles, Jr., the film is produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, Gary Goetzman and William Teitler and is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Tom Hanks, Jack Rapke and Chris Van Allsburg are the executive producers.

The production team includes directors of photography Don Burgess, A.S.C. and Robert Presley; production designers Rick Carter and Doug Chiang; and editors Jeremiah O'Driscoll & R. Orlando Duenas. Senior visual effects supervisors are Ken Ralston and Jerome Chen. Co-producer is Steven Boyd. Music score is by Alan Silvestri, and original songs by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri.

The Polar Express is being distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. Soundtrack album on Warner Sunset/Reprise Records. This film is rated G by the MPAA.

eDimensional Denies Internet Rumors About Potential Partnership with Nintendo
3D-News Posted: Friday, May 6, 2005 (21:50 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


eDimensional, the leading manufacturer and worldwide distributor of cutting edge gaming and Virtual Reality accessories, today denied rumors circulating on the Internet that they were in negotiation with Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment.

According to online buzz, the Florida-based company is in discussion with Nintendo to license or sell its patented stereoscopic 3D technology, which is currently featured on the eDimensional 3D Gaming Glasses and VirtualFX console product, for use by Nintendo in future console systems. Several internet websites and forums are speculating that Nintendo is preparing to enhance the gaming console experience with stereoscopic 3D graphics. Because of eDimensional's ability to convert a two dimensional image on a standard television screen, using the VirtualFX, into a 3D image, some may be correlating this with Nintendo's possible upgrade.

"While it is typically our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation, due to the overwhelming number of phone calls and emails inquiring about this we felt the need to acknowledge that eDimensional is in no formal discussion or negotiation with Nintendo regarding our stereoscopic 3D technology," said Michael Epstein, CEO of eDimensional.

"Dimensions in Politics" at the 3D Center of Art and Photography
3D-News Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2005 (15:29 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Ernie Rairdin has the unique opportunity to chronicle political history as it passes his Iowa doorstep every election year, and he's been making stereoscopic images of candidates since 1987. "Dimensions in Politics" captures the atmosphere as well as the personalities in this collection of photojournalistic stereocards.

The stereo theatre will present Further 3D Sea Adventures, a chance to marvel at the beauty of ocean creatures without getting wet. Photographed by John Roll, this excursion into the depths of the sea will be shown hourly.

The 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: http://www.3dcenter.us.

Curse of DarKastle: The Ride Debuted May 1 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
3D-News Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2005 (14:53 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Sometimes the only way to lift a curse is to meet it head on. Or, in the case of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Curse of DarKastle: The Ride, straight down. Busch Gardens Williamsburg unveils Curse of DarKastle to the anticipation of thrill seekers. A cutting-edge addition to the park's stellar lineup of thrill rides, Curse of DarKastle sends guests aboard gravity-defying sleighs careening through the dark and mysterious corridors of a Bavarian castle. Passengers brave enough to ride are bombarded by heart-stopping chills as the sleigh hurtles through the darkness of an ice-bound world.

"Curse of DarKastle is going to absolutely astonish our guests," states Donnie Mills, executive vice president and general manager for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. "This is an enormous attraction; it will absolutely have thrill seekers screaming," added Mills.

Expert crews were assembled to create a terrifyingly surreal experience. Technological advancements in ride engineering, special effects, theming, visual projection and audio systems create Curse of DarKastle's unique experience.

"The technology that exists in the theme park industry today makes Curse of DarKastle possible; we couldn't have achieved this three to five years ago," according to Larry Giles, vice president of design and engineering for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. "Curse of DarKastle is exactly what our guests have been waiting for - a frightening coaster-like ride where you actually believe you might not make it out," added Giles.

Curse of DarKastle represents the Williamsburg park's next generation of adventures, and the European themed park's first major ride since the opening of Apollo's Chariot hyper coaster in 1999. Following a one-minute-forty-second pre-show that hints at a mysterious legend, guests will board eight-passenger golden sleighs for a mesmerizing three-minute-twenty-second journey through the castle's ghostly corridors. Elements of the dynamic ride include ­a bone-chilling chase, 3D-imagery and immersive special effects.

State-of-the-art ride systems send passengers on their journey through a castle seemingly frozen in time. Traveling along Curse of DarKastle's 1,000 feet of track, the sleighs pass through 11 eerie chambers. Incorporating linear, circular and vertical motion, the intelligent ride vehicles allow for varying rates of acceleration as well as total experience manipulation.

In addition to the pulse-pounding ride, the digitally projected scenes immerse guests in the ride's story. Loosely themed after the legendary King Ludwig of Bavaria, Busch Gardens' ride designers produced the tantalizing tale to create a ghostly sleigh ride excursion. Nine of the haunting vignettes provide guests with 3D-imagery.

"The combination of computer-generated graphic imagery and digital projection systems enable every passenger to feel like they have the best seat on the ride," stated Giles.

In order for guests to feel completely surrounded by the Curse of DarKastle experience, special effects and theming needed to play a significant role in the ride's development. The larger-than-life fireplace, intimidating stalactite grotto, and castle façade are some examples of Curse of DarKastle's intricacies. Extremes in temperature, shrouding fog, and shattering ice enhance the spine-chilling environment. Curse of DarKastle smashes the limits of dark ride technology to generate a multisensory experience unlike anything else.

3D Digital Cinema Gains Momentum with First-Ever Showing at Large Format Conference in LA
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 (13:23 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


The Christie CP2000 2K resolution DLP Cinema projector was used in a demonstration of the latest generation of 3D entertainment technology using the ground-breaking single lens system. The event, Los Angeles' first-ever 3D presentation, took place at this year's Large Format Cinema Association Conference (LFCA) and Film Festival. It featured award winning 3D HD Digital Cinema content, including "Bugs!", created by Principal Large Format, which won a "Best Film of Festival" award from the LFCA.

The sponsor of the event was Crest National, an industry leader in all forms of digital media, including Large Format film, HD video and DVD/CD/SACD manufacturing. It selected the Christie CP2000 projector because it offers the highest resolution DLP Cinema technology commercially available today and is the industry's brightest Digital Cinema projector, an important requirement for optimum viewing of large format 3D content.

"The new, single lens 3D technology has proven to be a cost-effective way to screen Large Format 3D as well as 2D content. It represents a significant advance over the present film-based systems," noted Crest National president, Ron Stein. "When you consider that the current system typically requires a full-time projectionist who must handle 14 cans of film each weighing 60 pounds for a single screening, converting to HD digital prints, which can be shown over a server with minimal handling, is the obvious choice."

The 3D technology, which uses a cutting-edge active 3D-Glasses system, was unveiled by Texas Instruments (TI) at ShoWest 2005 recently. TI's landmark presentation also used a Christie CP2000 projector and included the participation of George Lucas and Academy Award®-winning director James Cameron, who screened clips from their upcoming movies.

India to launch satellites with Stereoscopic Imaging capability
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 (13:09 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


India will launch two satellites on polar launch vehicle later this week, an official spokesman said.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C6, slated to be moved to a newly-developed second launch pad at southern Sriharikota, near Madras city, on Thursday (May 5), will carry Cartosat, a remote sensing satellite for cartography, and Hamsat, a micro-satellite providing Amateur Radio Services.

This is the first time an Indian rocket will lauch two satellites at the same time for domestic applications.

The two satellites have been built by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at a cost of four billion rupees.

Cartosat-1 carries the most advanced high resolution cameras with track stereo imaging capability.

"The satellite is basically meant for mapping. It will give you an imagery of a very high resolution of about 2.5 metres and also it has two cameras. Simultaneously, it takes the pictures from both the cameras and you are able to take stereoscopic pictures. So you can create digital elevation models i.e., you get height information also. So with this very high resolution you can use this imageries for various development applications. It is one of the most sophisticated satellites ever built by us," B. Krishnamurthy, spokesman of ISRO's Sriharikota launch centre (SHAR).

Australian Technology Vrooms Up SAE World Congress
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 (13:00 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Those who attended the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) World Congress in Detroit this month and visited the Australian Pavilion definitely had something to be excited about. In a stunning presentation, set in a new 3D theater in the round, visitors equipped with 3D glasses, witnessed the virtual development and unveiling of the new Vroom concept car - a three dimensional vehicle depicting why Australian automotive suppliers are identified around the world for being innovative, solution-oriented and robust.

The Vroom exhibit and 3D theatre was a stunning experience, drawing over 3,000 visitors in the first two days of the show. The Vroom set new standards in virtual product visualization by offering a spectacular level of Virtual Reality, using 360 degree stereoscopic projection to create the illusion that solid objects and moving images are within reach. Following its international debut at SAE, the Vroom will make an appearance at the Aichi World Expo in Japan. After a world tour, it will return to Australia, to serve as the automotive industry's showcase at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

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Editor-in-Chief: Alexander Klein.

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