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Tools and Products

Pages: pp. 94-95


Mac G5 Workstation Graphics

Nvidia announced that the Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics card is now available as an option in the new Apple Power Mac G5. The Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics card drives up to two high-resolution 30-inch Apple Cinema high-definition displays and accelerates applications used in industries such as digital content creation, scientific research, and 3D visualization.

The Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics processing unit offers IEEE 32-bit floating point color precision and 512 Mbytes of dedicated graphics memory. System bottlenecks are further eliminated using the latest PCI Express bus interface, which can transfer more than 4 Gbytes of data per second. It also has hardware-accelerated pixel read-back performance of more than 2 Gbytes per second.

In addition to the Nvidia Quadro FX 4500, targeted primarily at professional application users, Apple is offering Power Mac G5 customers the advanced Nvidia GeForce 7800 GT graphics card, designed to deliver extremely quick frame rates and higher image quality for a broad range of consumer applications. Standard Power Mac graphics options are based on the Nvidia GeForce 6600. More information on Nvidia graphics cards can be found at

Graphic: Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics card

Figure    Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 graphics card

Dual-Mode Stereoscopic Projector

Fakespace released the Beacon TM DMSX+, a projector that supports viewing both high-quality active and polarized passive visualization concurrently. With this stereoscopic projector, users can choose active shutter glasses or polarized, passive glasses for viewing.

The product contains two light engines that each generate 1,400 × 1,050 resolution and 1,500 lumens of brightness. Electronic shutters placed in front of each light engine alternate between on and off in rapid succession to generate separate left- and right-eye images. When the Beacon shutters are synchronized with electronic shutter glasses, high-quality active stereo images can be viewed. The Beacon dual-mode version has integrated polarizing filters in the light path that then polarize the light to make the images compatible with passive stereo glasses.

For more information visit

Graphic: Fakespace Beacon TM DMSX+ stereoscopic projector and glasses for active and passive viewing

Figure    Fakespace Beacon TM DMSX+ stereoscopic projector and glasses for active and passive viewing

High-Definition TV on a PC

ADS Tech announced the release of Instant HDTV, an add-in PCI card that turns a standard Windows XP computer into a full-featured high-definition theatre. The product comes complete with a personal video recorder, TV tuner, and video capture device. The card comes equipped with an analog cable TV tuner as well so that the viewer can switch between high definition, standard TV, and cable broadcasts.

The card is bundled with SnapStream's Beyond TV Express, which enables dynamic TV viewing, complete with overlays that can be used to provide information about the show as it is being viewed. The product also has digital TV capabilities that let users pause, fastforward, and rewind live TV as well as recorded programs.

Another feature of the card is that it comes with NeroVision Express, a DVD authoring solution that automates the process of compressing high-definition content from a hard drive to a DVD. This feature supports true 16:9 widescreen, Dolby digital audio, and dual-layer authoring.

For more information visit


Real-Time 3D Mobile Tracking

FaceLab's version 4.2 of its mobile tracking solution enables analysis of head poses, eyelid movement, and gaze direction in real time in real-world conditions. The software reportedly produces accurate data on-time in the toughest of tracking environments.

One of the upgrades to the product is an active illumination technique, increasing the fidelity and accuracy of gaze assessment. The software can track each eye independently, and if the subject is close enough, even track pupil size and vergence. Measurements are taken on the eyelid position rather than bright pupil or corneal occlusion. The software now produces raw gaze output automatically.

The product doesn't use any radio frequency, ultrasonic, or electromagnetic systems, and it caters to changes in pose. Specific techniques have been implemented in the upgrade to enable easier calibration of children and uncooperative subjects.

The system reportedly immediately recovers if a subject leaves the field of view and can work with or without contact lenses and most eyeglasses. The software now comes with a wider field-of-view mode, allowing experiments with distant subjects or a variable experimental area. It also works with no helmets, attachments, or wires.

For more information visit

Graphic: FaceLab 4.2 eye tracker software running on a laptop, with cameras attached

Figure    FaceLab 4.2 eye tracker software running on a laptop, with cameras attached

Translates and Converts 3D Models

Okino announced PolyTrans v. 4, an extensive and accurate 3D scene, CAD, animation, and trimmed NURBS translation system. The software acts as a neutral bridge between major 3D software applications and converts 3D models, including all shading parameters, texture-mapping coordinates, and animation data.

Upgrades to the software include real-time bump and environment mapping, full-scene and object-level transparency, and vertex color shading. Also, textures are now left on by default, with several options added to the 3D grid display.

The software reportedly uses an advanced photorealistic 3D rendering engine, a 3D geometry tool kit, a trimmed NURBS tool kit, and an animation conversion engine to perform complex translations between most popular 3D file format standards. The geometry engine lets PolyTrans translate between a wide variety of geometry types, including optimized meshed polygons with recursive holes, random collections of polygons, trimmed NURBS patches, bicubic patches, and quadric surfaces.

For more information visit

Graphic: Camera model using AutoCAD and Okino's PolyTrans v.4 (Image created by Deam Amir Depay.)

Figure    Camera model using AutoCAD and Okino's PolyTrans v.4 (Image created by Deam Amir Depay.)

Open-Source Packages

The following packages are of interest to our community:

  • VisIt is a free, interactive parallel visualization and graphical analysis tool for viewing scientific data on Unix and PC platforms. Users can quickly generate visualizations from their data, animate them through time, manipulate them, and save the resulting images for presentations. VisIt contains a rich set of visualization features so that you can view your data in a variety of ways. It can be used to visualize scalar and vector fields defined on 2D and 3D structured and unstructured meshes. VisIt was designed to handle large data set sizes in the terascale range but can also handle small data sets in the kilobyte range. For more information visit
  • Delta3D is an open-source engine that can be used for games, simulations, or other graphical applications. Its modular design integrates other well-known open-source projects such as Open-Scene Graph, Open-Dynamics Engine, Character Animation Library, and the open audio library, OpenAL. Rather than bury the underlying modules, Delta3D integrates them together in an easy-to-use application programming interface—always allowing access to the important underlying components. This provides a high-level programming interface while still allowing the user optional, low-level functionality. For more information visit
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