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Issue No.04 - Oct.-Dec. (2012 vol.19)
pp: 80
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
ABSTRACT
This article features some of the latest advances and applications in multimedia technology.
Virtualized GPU
The NVIDIA VGX platform now enables IT departments to deliver a virtualized desktop with the graphics and GPU computing performance of a PC or workstation to employees using any connected device. Employees can access a cloud PC from any device—thin client, laptop, tablet, or smartphone—regardless of its operating system and access applications previously only available on an office PC. NVIDIA VGX helps extend desktop virtualization to those using 3D design and simulation tools, which had previously been too intensive for a virtualized desktop.
The first NVIDA VGX board is configured with four GPUs (each with 192 NVIDIA CUDA architecture cores and 4 Gbytes of frame buffer) and 16 Gbytes of memory, and it fits into the industry-standard PCI Express interface in servers. Designed to be passively cooled, the board fits within existing server-based platforms.
The NVIDIA VGX platform enables up to 100 users to be served from a single server powered by one VGX board, improving user density on a single server compared with traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. It also reduces issues such as latency, sluggish interaction, and limited application support. Thus, the NVIDIA VGX platform extends cloud computing in an energy-efficient way while improving data security and lowering IT spending and data center complexity.
The NVIDIA VGX platform, including new NVIDIA VGX boards, the NVIDIA GPU Hypervisor, and NVIDIA USMs, is planned to be available for deployment through NVIDIA's hardware OEM and VDI partners later this year. Visit www.nvidia.com/object/vdi-desktop-virtualization.html for more details.


NVIDIA VGX boards enable virtualized GPU-accelerated desktops.

Media Management Internet Browser
Invented and patented by the Belgian company Navigosphere, the Ghost version of the Generation Internet Browser lets users organize and group their music and video into user-generated categories. Every category can contain up to 48 links. Using this technology, users can then stream these files without having to leave the Generation Browser. The playback controls are accessible via tabs created while browsing.
Currently in its alpha development stage, the Ghost version is available for Windows. Mac OS, Linux, and Android versions are forthcoming. Visit www.generationbrowser.com and www.navigosphere.com for more details.
Haptic User Interface
The Tactus Tactile Layer panel from Tactus Technology ( www.tactustechnology.com) is a deformable tactile surface that creates dynamic physical buttons that users can see and feel in advance of entering data into a device. The Tactile Layer panel is a completely flat, transparent, dynamic surface that adds no extra thickness to a standard touchscreen display. Tactus uses microfluidic technology to create physical buttons that rise from the touchscreen to give users the experience of operating a physical keyboard. When no longer needed, the buttons recede back into the touchscreen, leaving no trace of their presence.


Tactus Technology's haptic user interface for standard touchscreen displays.

When triggered, the thin layer deforms and buttons or shapes of a specific height, size, and firmness appear on the surface of the screen. Users can feel, press down, and interact with these physical buttons just like they would use keys on a keyboard. The buttons recede into the surface and become invisible when they are no longer needed.
The tactile panel replaces the glass or plastic layer that sits on top of the touch sensor and display on a touchscreen. It is essentially a thin, flat, smooth, and transparent cover layer varying in thickness from about 0.75 to 1 mm. A small internal controller that interfaces with the processor of the touchscreen device controls the rise and fall of the buttons. The controller allows a proximity sensor or a software application to control the state of the buttons. For example, the buttons could be triggered to rise whenever the software calls for the virtual qwerty keyboard.
Tactus Technology ( www.tactustechnology.com) based in Fremont, California, produces user interface technology for consumer electronics, mobile, and automotive devices. For more information, visit www.tactustechnology.com.
Integrated Workstations
3DBOXX workstations featuring NVIDIA Maximus technology combine the visualization and interactive design capability of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs with the high-performance computing power of NVIDIA Tesla C2075 GPUs into a single system. The Tesla companion processors automatically perform photorealistic rendering or engineering simulation computation. This frees CPU resources to accomplish I/O, run the operating system, and other tasks, while the Quadro GPU is dedicated to powering full-performance, interactive design. NVIDIA Maximus technology also helps users reduce the need for costly prototypes by moving their workflow to simulation driven design.
BOXX Technologies offers three versions of the 3DBOXX workstation: DBOXX 4920, with an Intel Core i7 3820 processor (3.6-GHz quad core), 8-Gbyte RAM, and 500-Gbyte system drive; 3DBOXX 4920, with an Intel Core i7 3960X processor (3.3-GHz six core), 16-Gbyte RAM, and 1-Tbyte system drive; and 3DBOXX 4920 XTREME, with an Intel Core i7 Enhanced Performance processor (4.5-GHz six core), 24-Gbyte RAM, 240-Gbyte SSD system drive, and 1-Tbyte data drive. Visit www.boxxtech.com/solutions/maximus_solution.asp for more system details and pricing.
High-Performance Mobile GPUs
Late this summer, NVIDIA announced a new line of Quadro professional graphics solutions for mobile workstations. Designed for engineers, industrial designers, animators, and film and video editors on the go, the new Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs) feature the Kepler GPU architecture and double the number of NVIDIA CUDA cores of previous generations. Key features of the new mobile lineup include up to 4-Gbyte frame buffers and GPU memories, DisplayPort 1.2 functionality, up to 4,000 × 2,000 resolution (3,840 × 2,160 at 60 Hz), and 120 Hz refresh rates at 2,560 × 1,600.
The Quadro K5000 will be available as a standalone desktop GPU by October. Starting in December, the Tesla K20 ($3,199) and Quadro K5000 ($2,249) will be available as a pair. For more information about NVIDIA and Quadro Mobile Graphics Solutions, visit www.nvidia.com/quadromobile.
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