3D-News Archive May 2006


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'The Strange Case of Dr. Addison and the Crosswell Twins' and 'Human Nature: Scenic Observations via Stereograph' at the 3D Center of Art and Photography
3D-News Posted: Monday, May 15, 2006 (15:53 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


In the spring of 1908, Dr. Charles Addison disappeared. The noted botanist, amateur zoologist and photographer had been making a series of images of a young girl named Regina Crosswell. Regina's twin sister, Lydia, had died in the winter, though the circumstances were unclear. Dr. Addison, however, had become convinced that Lydia had not entirely departed from our earthly plane. The 3D-Center invites all visitors to peruse Dr. Addison's photographs and draw their own conclusions in The Strange Case of "Dr. Addison and the Crosswell Twins".

In the gallery, Portland photographer Ron Kriesel presents his take on the confluence of humans and nature in his mixed-format stereocard presentation, "Human Nature: Scenic Observations via Stereograph". Consisting of scenes from the American West, Kriesel's exhibition examines how humans fit into Mother Nature’s grand scheme.

The show opens on May 25, 2006 and runs through July 2, 2006.

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 Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays from 1 pm until 5 pm. Open First Thursday from 6 pm until 9 pm. Admission by donation. 1928 NW Lovejoy, Portland/Oregon, USA. Tel.: 1 (503) 227-6667, Web: http://www.3dcenter.us

The most realistic Virtual Reality room in the world
3D-News Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006 (2:59 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


More than $4 million in equipment upgrades will shine 100 million pixels on Iowa State University's six-sided Virtual Reality room.

That's twice the number of pixels lighting up any virtual reality room in the world and 16 times the pixels now projected on Iowa State's C6, a 10-foot by 10-foot virtual reality room that surrounds users with computer-generated 3D images. That means the C6 will produce virtual reality at the world's highest resolution.

Iowa State's C6 opened in June 2000 as the country's first six-sided virtual reality room designed to immerse users in images and sound. The graphics and projection technology that made such immersion possible hasn't been updated since the C6 opened.

The difference between the equipment currently in the C6 and the updated technology to be installed this summer, "is like putting on your glasses in the morning," said James Oliver, the director of Iowa State's Virtual Reality Applications Center and a professor of mechanical engineering.

The new equipment - a Hewlett-Packard computer featuring 96 graphics processing units, 24 Sony digital projectors, an eight-channel audio system and ultrasonic motion tracking technology - will be installed by Fakespace Systems Inc. of Marshalltown. The project is supported by a U.S. Department of Defense appropriation through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The project began this spring with a prototype upgrade to one wall of the C6. The remainder of the work will continue throughout the summer. Oliver said the improved C6 will open in the fall. A grand opening celebration is being planned for the spring of 2007.

A better C6 will be good news for the Iowa State researchers who study virtual reality.

Chiu-Shui Chan, an Iowa State professor of architecture, has used the C6 to develop 3D models of buildings, cities and workplaces. He's studying how virtual reality can be a tool to create a library of historical buildings, plan urban growth and test workplace efficiency.

Chan said the upgrade will improve the visual realism and interactive speed of his virtual reality applications. And that will enhance the sense of place in his applications and the effectiveness of his research.

Chan said the C6's existing technology requires him to balance and sacrifice some of a project's size, speed, realism or human-computer interaction. "With the new system I won't have to worry about that," he said.

Eve Wurtele, an Iowa State professor of genetics, development and cell biology, working with Julie Dickerson, an Iowa State associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has used the C6 to develop new ways to visualize data from as many as 22,000 genes. She's also developing a virtual cell project that shows cells in 3-D action to help students learn about photosynthesis and other aspects of cell biology.

Wurtele said the higher speeds and better pictures will be a boost for her research and teaching.

"This upgrade is fantastic for us," she said. "It's essential for our research."

Mark Bryden, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, has used virtual reality to develop engineering tools that help engineers make better decisions. He said the C6 upgrade will mean more realistic images capable of transmitting more information. And seeing more information will allow engineers to be better informed when they make decisions.

Bryden also said the upgrade will put the C6 back on the leading edge of technology. He said that will help researchers attract projects and funding.

Oliver is leading a research team that's developing a virtual reality control room for the military's unmanned aerial vehicles. The researchers are building a virtual environment that allows operators to see the vehicles, the surrounding airspace, the terrain they're flying over as well as information from instruments, cameras, radar and weapons systems. The system would allow a single operator to control many vehicles.

The C6 upgrade will move that project forward, Oliver said.

"The idea is to get the right information to the right person at the right time," he said. "There's a tsunami of information coming toward you and you have to convey it effectively. We think this kind of large-scale, immersive interface is the only way to develop sophisticated controls."

So those 100 million pixels are going to make a difference, Oliver said.

"Seeing is going to be believing," he said. "This upgrade will enhance our ability to amplify the creativity and productivity of people. It will help us build on the center's record as a world leader in virtual reality. And it's one more way Iowa State can be the best at putting science and technology to work."

DDD Group plc Announces DDD Mobile 3D Mobile Solution Now Available for TI's OMAP Wireless Processors
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 (17:10 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


DDD Group plc announced that DDD Mobile(TM), the comprehensive 3D content solution for mobile telephone handsets that allows the presentation of photos, animations and movies in a stereoscopic 3D format, has been successfully delivered on the Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) OMAP(TM) high-performance, ultra-low power consumption wireless applications processors.

The DDD Mobile software, which resides on the mobile telephone handset, provides a comprehensive 3D content solution taking full advantage of the powerful features of TI's OMAP processors that enable a new class of mobile phones that improve entertainment and productivity features and integrate capabilities of cameras, gaming devices, portable video and music players, laptops and PDAs. The availability of DDD Mobile now makes it possible for handset makers to incorporate the latest 3D "glasses-free" LCD displays within their next-generation, OMAP processor-based wireless products.

Working in partnership with Oxfordshire-based 3D optical specialists Ocuity Ltd., DDD and Ocuity have delivered a 3D prototype handset based on High Tech Computer Corporation's (HTC) Faraday(TM) model that uses the TI OMAP850 processor and Windows Mobile 5. Ocuity enhanced the standard 2D LCD display by adding their patented Polarisation Activated Microlens(TM) technology, resulting in a reconfigurable 2D/3D display that has class-leading image quality, full brightness, and all without requiring the user to wear special glasses.

The prototype handset samples showcase a wide variety of popular genres of present day mobile content, including branded wallpapers, videos and animations, and include DDD's real-time 2D-to-3D conversion solution for both photos and video captured using the built-in handset camera.

DDD, TI and Ocuity will now be in a position to publicly demonstrate the high-impact 3D viewing experience delivered by the sample handsets to a wide range of prospective international customers, including handset manufacturers, display manufacturers, mobile network operators and mobile content providers.

Markus Tremmel, worldwide manager of Texas Instruments' Cellular Systems Ecosystem, commented, "The addition of stereo 3D capabilities to TI's OMAP platform represents an opportunity for operators and handset manufacturers to massively enhance the experience of wireless entertainment for their subscribers. Consumers cannot enjoy 3D without glasses on any other consumer device. This package, leveraging OMAP processing capability, uniquely differentiates the mobile experience with a visually compelling `wow' factor."

Paul May, Commercial Director of Ocuity Ltd., explained: "Our Polarisation Activated Microlens technology is easy to manufacture and to add to existing displays. Ocuity's technology combined with the power of mobile processors like the OMAP and the availability of real-time conversion software from DDD means that the barriers to delivering compelling stereo 3D entertainment to the handset have been eliminated. Consumers will be blown away."

Chris Yewdall, Chief Executive of DDD, said: "The delivery of DDD Mobile on TI's OMAP processors and Windows Mobile represents a significant milestone for the company. Since announcing DDD Mobile in mid-2005, we have seen an increased interest from handset makers and network operators to the prospect of offering 3D-enabled handsets. Our partnership with TI and Ocuity allows us to accelerate our marketing activities as we seek to secure further licensees and bring the 3D mobile experience to consumers worldwide."

Fakespace Provides PowerWall to UK's Visualization Center
3D-News Posted: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 (16:38 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


Fakespace Systems Inc. announced that it provided a PowerWall™ to the first regional visualization center in North Wales, United Kingdom. The University of Wales, Bangor now features a state of the art large-scale immersive display that will be used to drive new discoveries in molecular modeling and materials and life sciences.

The Molecular Modeling and Visualization Center was established at the University of Wales, Bangor Chemistry School with the goal of attracting world class researchers and specialist materials companies to the region. The six foot by seven foot stereoscopic wall display will help researchers at the School of Chemistry better understand problems in molecular and materials modeling and quantum mechanical research. With Virtual Reality, or immersive visualization, researchers get a whole new perspective on their data compared to what can be achieved on a small 2D screen, such as a computer monitor. Using the visualization center, chemists from the University and industry will gain deeper insights into the properties and performance of different materials, without actually having to experiment on the materials themselves.

The models and simulations viewed on the Fakespace PowerWall are created using Accelrys Materials Studio software and a number of custom written applications. The data are then transferred to Amira software which drives the visualization graphics. The large-scale display provides a sense of data immersion so that researchers can actually observe properties and characteristics from inside and in-between molecules in a virtual quantum world.

"We are very excited to offer our facility for use by outside organizations which can benefit from computational study and the prediction of structure and properties of molecules and molecular materials," said Dr Maher Kalaji, head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Wales, Bangor. "The large-scale screen and 3D capability facilitate a huge leap in the way that we visualize and understand molecular structures and interactions."

The Fakespace PowerWall is a flat, large-scale stereoscopic visualization system designed for collaborative work and compelling presentations. It provides a bright 3D display for working with highly accurate detailed models. A slightly different image for the right and left eye creates a true stereoscopic effect and motion tracking intensifies the sense of reality by changing the perspective of the model being viewed depending on the position of the viewer.

"Fakespace works with researchers and designers all over the world to provide visualization environments that meet their specific needs," said Richard Cashmore, Business Manager for Fakespace Systems Europe. "The display at the University of Wales, Bangor is particularly effective for teaching, and research and development collaboration, and potentially provides a much deeper understanding of the shape of molecular structures and how they can change."

The immersive display system is powered by a custom designed computing cluster server, with 16 dual Opteron processors running Linux. The solution provider, Gaia Technologies Plc., used Infiniband for communication between servers and provided a two terabyte expandable storage area network for the center.

The visualization center was funded by The Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) through the ERDF program with match funding from a number of partner organizations including Accelrys Plc, Gaia Technologies Plc, Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), The Sir William Ramsay Memorial Trust and The University of Wales Bangor

In addition to university and industry research the Molecular Modeling and Visualization Center also provides support to the North Wales Optoelectonics project, OpTIC, and will be used in collaboration with a number of other evolving North Wales research facilities such as the Centre for Advanced Software Technologies (Technium CAST) also located in Bangor and The Wales Centre for Visualization at Aberystwyth in West Wales.

World 3-D Film Expo II
3D-News Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2006 (20:04 UTC) | Posted By: Webmaster


World 3-D Film Expo II at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood opens with two restored 3D Classics, "Those Redheads From Seattle" and "Taza, Son of Cochise"; These are only the first of a series of restored 3D films being run for the first time in over 50 years!

SabuCat Productions will try to top their highly successful "World 3-D Film Expo" of 2003 with "World 3-D Film Expo II", this coming September 8 through September 17, 2006, at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The 10 day festival will not only be highlighting the sold out shows of 2003 (such as "House of Wax", Creature From the Black Lagoon", "Robot Monster", "The Glass Web" and "Dial M For Murder"), but will also be showing eight new "Golden Era" titles, most of which have never been seen in over 50 years in 3D. In fact, two of the titles have never been shown in 3D even in the 1950's! The Expo will be having the World 3D premieres of "Diamond Wizard" (1954) and "Jivaro" (1954). Most of the other six new titles, "Sangaree", "Those Redheads From Seattle", "Taza, Son of Cochise", "Devil's Canyon", "Wings of the Hawk", and "Cease Fire" have not been seen in 3D since their original release dates.

None of the films will be shown in the anaglyphic (red/blue) system; like Expo I, all of the "Golden Age" features and shorts will be shown in 35mm and in "double interlock" Polaroid System, the original method (and still the very best method) for showing these films.

All told, 35 features and over 20 short subjects will unspool at the Expo. In addition to the various feature films, we will be premiering several 3D short subjects, including the long lost cartoon, "Popeye, Ace of Space", as well as "Hawaiian Nights", Carnival in April", "Owl and the Pussycat", and many others.

Other highlights of Expo II include:

  • Opening night Gala, with food and wine, and showing TWO 3D premieres: "Those Redheads From Seattle" and "Taza, Son of Cochise".
  • The World Polaroid projection premiere of "Night of the Living Dead 3D" (2006), with the director, Jeff Broadstreet, in attendance, as well as the stars of the film!
  • World premiere of the fully restored, uncut, "The Stewardesses" (1971) will be shown on Saturday, September 9th, as a midnight screening. The star of the film, Christina Hart, will be making her first personal appearance for the film in 35 years!
  • A special "All Animation" show, highlighting a dozen animated films from the Golden era of 3D (and earlier!).
  • Shows highlighting Russian and British 3D short films, most of which have never been seen in the United States.
  • Rarities, Part II: One of the key highlights of Expo I was "Rarities"; we've now discovered some more, amazing and historic stereoscopic imagery!
  • "Cease Fire" is the only film (let alone a film in 3D) ever shot at an actual war: The Korean War, in this case, using actual soldiers as actors. Some of those soldiers (and their families) are planning to attend; it will be the first time the film has been screened in 3D in over 50 years.
  • Paul Morrissey's "Frankenstein" (1974) will be screened in a brand new restored print!
Even in the case of films that were run at Expo I, the organizers will have a few "new" surprises. For example, "Kiss Me Kate" will be screened using the only surviving original dye-transfer ("3-strip") Technicolor print still in existence. "Charge at Feather River" is a brand new restored print. And for the first time in over 50 years, many of the Golden Age films will screen in WIDE SCREEN, as they were meant to be seen.

Festival organizer Jeff Joseph says, "Although Expo I was wildly successful, we swore we would never do one again... but then, some film elements were discovered, some studios started to be very helpful, one thing led to another...and here we are."

Detailed information about the festival, film schedule, and tickets can be found at http://www.3dfilmfest.com

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Editor-in-Chief: Alexander Klein.

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Last modified on August 31, 2006


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