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Sun Improves Performance With Java3d Release
The cost and performance for delivering high resolution images to the desktop of individual scientific visualization end users has been driven down coincidentally with improved performance and a new release of JAVA3D. With the BETA release of JAVA3D version 1.3 now available and first customer shipment (FCS) expected in early June, the end user can now build applications with texture enhancements that reduce memory requirements by as much as 20%, extend display capabilities for multiple monitor applications and transparency capability to handle more images.
The expanded visualization applications for GIS, MRI, Seismic and CAD markets are a result of improved rendering capability for personal visualization. The thrust of the new lower cost/seat visualization is evident in two applications; Opticore and the University of Alberta Genomics Research Center, where the goal was to build the first CAVE environment tailored to Bioinformatics research and development. Java technology has become one of the major programming languages in Bioinformatics. The graphics resolution of the CAVE had to be refresh rates of at least 100 Hz to allow for a flicker-free and seamless viewing experience. Four SunTM Expert3D graphics cards are at the heart of the CAVE. Each card is installed in one of the four I/O assemblies of the SunFireTM 6800. The symmetrical layout of the graphics cards guarantees the even delivery of the video signals to the CAVE room. The Expert3D cards are configured to operate at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels for stereo-3D mode and a refresh frequency of 112 Hz.
SUN expects to see
mare marketing activity in the seismic processing area as well.
At the May 16th meeting of the WEB 3D Consortium at SUN Microsystems headquarters, Intel's MRL (Microprocessor Research lab) presented an overview of why 3D content is not more prevalent on the WEB and what can be done in a collaborative effort to bring the major players to the standardization effort. While Intel will announce its efforts at SIGGRAPH 2002 in San Antonio, Texas in July, the key message is that until now the lack of 3D content on the WEB has slowed the pace of innovation and adoption of 3D technology. For example, businesses cannot justify the current high cost of 3D content development, and that 3D doubles the costs of development and deployment. While the majority of 3D is created for CAD, design and architectural departments, the data is seldom repurposed. Intel's proposed 3D CAD working group is targeted at such key players as Discreet/Autodesk, Solidworks, Spatial Technology, Microsoft and Dassault.
While this is a proposed 3D working group, the presentation was greeted enthusiastically by the WEB 3D Consortium. This group has labored under the shadows of VRML 97 (Virtual Reality Markup Language) inability to gain market acceptance for a wider audience. The mission of Intel's effort is to define and develop a common CAD Web 3D format for such large end users as NASA, GM, GE, Boeing, Daimler-Chrysler, NIST and Sony. The scope of the project is the discovery, definition and eventual deployment of a common format for 3D visualization and standardization, it is not intended to be a promotional effort for any existing format. The focus will be on the extensibility and development of an open player.
The 3D CAD working group is expected to launch an aggressive 12 to 18 month effort for not only CAD suppliers, but also for DCC (Digital Content Creators) such as Macromedia, Alias/Wavefront and Discreet in addition to standards bodies as NIST, OpenHSF, MPEG, ITU and ISO.