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Pages: pp. 93-95


Hardware

Front-Projection Screen Works in Sunlight

The SuperNova Screen is an optical front-projection screen designed by dnp denmark for brightly lit meeting rooms or for use in outside lighting. The product is specifically designed to project images clearly and vividly in environments with high ambient light. It offers a 10 times higher contrast and two times brighter image than standard front screens.

The product works by passing the projected image through an optical lens system that focuses and concentrates the projected light before reflecting it back toward the viewers. The system also uses a contrast enhancement filter that absorbs light from windows and room lighting.

The product combines the image quality of optical rear projection with a front screens' minimal space requirements. It's available in sizes up to 120 inches in a 16:9 widescreen format. It features a pitch of 65 microns, which provides a vertical resolution of 20,000 lines and infinite horizontal resolution.

The screen is compatible with standard projectors and can be installed like a conventional front screen with the projector mounted on the ceiling or placed on the table.

Pricing for the dnp denmark SuperNova Screen starts at $879 and varies depending on screen size. For more information visit http://wwww.dnp.dk.com.

Graphic: Dnp denmark's SuperNova Screen uses front projection and works well in environments with high ambient light.

Figure    Dnp denmark's SuperNova Screen uses front projection and works well in environments with high ambient light.

HDTVs without a Set-Top Box

JVC released three high-definition television (HDTV) models: 9AV-56WP94, PD-50X795, and HD-61Z585. The TVs use ATI's Xilleon 226 chip and demodulation technology for better signal reception. The chip integrates all the processing, graphics, video, audio, and input/output capabilities needed in a set-top box or digital TV. It also features a spatiotemporal adaptive interlacing to ensure high-quality video output.

Each TV comes with a 300-MHz central processing unit, dual-HD-capable MPEG decoder, audio decoder, dual display engine, 2D and 3D graphics engine, conditional access, transport demultiplexers, a peripheral component interconnect card, universal serial bus, and hard disk-drive interface.

The displays also support the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) signal standard, HD signal decoding, and the cable card interface. The cable card interface lets the TVs receive digital programming—including high-definition programs—without using a set-top box.

For more information visit http://www.jbc.co.jp/English/company.html.

Graphic: JVC's 61-inch high-definition television (model HD-61Z585).

Figure    JVC's 61-inch high-definition television (model HD-61Z585).

Faster Bus Architecture

Intel Corporation announced the release of two Intel Itanium 2 processors. The products reportedly deliver better performance over the current generation for database, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning, and technical computing applications.

The processors have a 667-MHz front-side bus (FSB) that connects and transfers data between the microprocessor, chipset, and system's main memory. Servers using the new bus have more than 65 percent greater system bandwidth than servers using the Itanium 2 processors with a 400-MHz FSB. The improved FSB allows for 10.6 gigabits of data per second to pass from the processor to other system components (compared to a previous rate of 6.4 gigabits with the 400-MHz FSB).

The Intel Itanium 2 Processor with 1.66 GHz, 6 Mbytes of cache, and 667 FSB costs $2,194. The other processor with 1.66 GHz, 9 Mbytes of cache, and 667 FSB costs $4,655. Pricing is based on the purchase of 1,000-unit quantities. For more information visit http://www.intel.com.

High-Resolution Graphics

Curtiss-Wright released Atlast PMC/1D, which is a dual-channel, high-resolution PMC graphics controller for VME, Compact PCI, and PCI systems. The card is based on ATI's Radeon Mobility 9000 (M9) mobile graphics processor, which supports dual displays compatible with 2D, 3D, Open GL, and DirectX. The M9 features 64 Mbytes of integrated memory, reduced-power optimizations, integrated video output, and a quad-pipeline 2D/3D acceleration to reduce host processor overhead.

The product simplifies the integration of high-performance display graphics into VME and Compact PCI systems and display analog VGA screen resolutions up to 1,920 × 1,200 over both of its front panel connectors. The card can also be configured to output dual digital video channels at resolutions up to 1,600 × 1,200. Video signal output for TV is supported on the card's second channel, and Sync-on-Green can be enabled on both channels.

The card includes a sensors that monitors the board temperature. It also comes with a front panel connector access for all functions and is compatible with existing radar scan conversion and video-windowing products from the Curtiss-Wright product family.

The cost for Curtiss-Wright's Atlast PMC/1D card is $1,750. For more information visit http://www.cwembedded.com.

Wireless Pad for Interactive Rooms

InterWrite MeetingPad 400 is GTCO CalComp's Bluetooth wireless presentation product. The hardware comes with a rechargeable pen and gives speakers the ability to present material with interactive whiteboard tools from anywhere in the room.

Presenters can use the product to control their computer-generated visual materials from up to 300 feet away from the computer. It has a 40-hour battery life and comes with inking pen inserts to help presenters visualize the projected materials on the MeetingPad. The hardware is powered by InterWrite software that lets presenters make digital annotations over the prepared presentation. It also comes with an image and background gallery, recording capabilities (to capture the notes made during the presentation), and handwriting recognition.

InterWrite MeetingPad 400 costs $585. For more information visit http://www.gtcocalcomp.com.

Graphic: InterWrite MeetingPad 400's wireless tablet and interactive pen lets presenters make annotations to their presentations.

Figure    InterWrite MeetingPad 400's wireless tablet and interactive pen lets presenters make annotations to their presentations.

All-Terrain Tablet PC

Xplore announced the release of the Rugged Tablet PC with sunlight-readable capabilities. The tablet is mobile and reportedly designed to do the same work, go more places, withstand more punishment, be more reliable, and last longer than a regular PC.

The product uses Xplore's AllVue technology, which enhances the display, increasing the brightness and clarity of the screen, making it usable in all lighting conditions, including direct sunlight. The product can reportedly be dropped on concrete with extreme temperature and humidity variations, handle blowing rain and dust, and endure constant vibration.

For more information visit http://xploretech.com

Software

2D Storyboarding on a Tablet

Mirage Nomad is the new software by Bauhaus that lets artists storyboard and animate in a tablet PC in 2D. In addition to storyboarding capabilities, the software also offers pencil tests, real-time paint, and special effects such as keyframer moves and particle effects.

The software works on a Motion Computing LE1600 Tablet PC, so that artists can place their tablet in a backpack and work in the environment of their choice. The tablet weighs 3.1 pounds and has a low-voltage Intel Pentium M processor, running at 1.5 GHz. The product includes 1 Gbyte upgradeable RAM, a 30 Gbytes of upgradeable hard drive, a ViewAnywhere display, and wireless connectivity.

The product costs $2,995. For more information visit http://www.bauhaussoftware.com.

3D Character Animation for Students

The learning edition of NaturalMotion's endorphin software is now available for free. The edition is based on the 3D character animation software endorphin 2.0. The product has no time restrictions, includes all relevant product documentations, and offers a comprehensive support network. The software is fully functional, other than the motion file export function being disabled to avoid use for commercial production.

The software can be downloaded directly from http://www.naturalmotion.com. A full version of endorphin 2.0 costs $12,795 or can be rented monthly for $1,595.

Graphic: Screen shot of NaturalMotion's learning edition of its 3D character animation software, endorphin 2.

Figure    Screen shot of NaturalMotion's learning edition of its 3D character animation software, endorphin 2.

Comment on 3D Models via Email

Solidworks released an upgrade to its eDrawings software, which now includes support for Apple's OS X version 10.4 (Tiger). The overall function of the software is to give users the ability to review and comment on 3D models via email. Enabling functionality for Apple's Tiger operating system will help reduce potential errors and the time graphic designers would spend recreating images from scratch because the designs were completed on a different operating system.

The product operates on several CAD software platforms, including Solidworks, AutoCAD, Catia, Autodesk Inventor, Pro/Engineer, Solid Edge, and Unigraphics/NX. Mac users can also read native DWG and DXF files using eDrawings.

Solidworks' edrawings for Mac OS X is free to users who want to generate design files that recipients can rotate and view from any angle with the eDrawings viewer. A license for eDrawings Professional costs $995. Visit http://www.edrawingsviewer.com for more information.

Recent Books of Interest

One or more members of our editorial board found the following books to be of interest to our readership:

  • 3D Game Engine Architecture: Engineering Real-Time Applications with Wild Magic, David H. Eberly (Magic Software), Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Game Physics, David H. Eberly (Magic Software), Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Voice Interaction Design: Crafting the New Conversational Speech Systems, Randy Harris (Univ. of Waterloo, Canada), Morgan Kaufmann.

Tools

We think the following tools will be of interest to our readership:

  • Prefuse ( http://sourceforge.net). This is a user interface toolkit for building interactive visualizations to data. This includes any form of data that can be represented as a set of entities (or by any number of relations or edges). Examples of data supported by Prefuse include hierarchies (organization charts, taxonomies, and file systems), networks (computer networks, social networks, and Web site linkage), and nonconnected collections of data (timelines and scatterplots). Prefuse is written in Java using the Java2D graphics library and is designed to integrate with any application using the Java Swing user interface library.
  • Cave UT 2004 v1.1 ( http://publicvr.org/ut/CaveUT.html). This freeware is for low-cost integrated multiscreen displays. It contains a set of modifications allowing the Unreal Tournament 2004 game engine to display in CAVE-like displays and panoramic digital theaters. It supports off-axis projection for correct perspective and multiple views from the observer's viewpoint.
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