13 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 6

This was my first and hopefully not last visit to the University of California at San Diego's Supercomputing Center. I carpooled to the Center with Don Brutzman and two others. The X3D Earth Working Group got started about 09:20 am once the 14 participants took their seats. Don Brutzman ran the meeting and our UCSD host was the Chief Scientist. We went around the table and room introducing ourselves and stating the reasons we were in attendance. I was not the only one there in learning mode. There were three others who were all ears during the 6-hour gathering. The host spent fair amount of time describing the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) capabilities and projects.
Justin Couch, Yumetech Inc., gave a short presentation on new specification recommendations for X3D earth. His brief left the audience with a few new nodes to study and comment on. Mike McCann, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, demonstrated MBARI's tools that use GeoVRML for visualizing bathymetry data. He told us that MBARI is migrating those tools to use X3D to exploit it features which do not exist in GeoVRML.
Everyone had lunch in the food courtyard amongst the students in summer session.
The afternoon session was filled with discussions about volume rendering and navigation controls across the X3D implementations. There seemed to be an agreement that vendors need to implement navigation controls uniformly for a base set of controls. Don Brutzman gave me a 156 page publication from the first X3D Earth WG that I read on the flight home. I have thought of a few use cases for X3D earth that I will document later in my grant report.
This meeting officially ended my trip at SIGGRAPH 2007.

12 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 5

Today I started off by attending the multi-user Birds of a Feather hosted by Chris Thorne from West Australia. The 90 minute BOF had three demonstrations. There wasn't much advertisement for this BOF so the attendence was low; about 11 people showed up. The purpose of the BOF was to demo X3D virtual worlds that multiple users could simultaneously interact in. A few members of the Web3D consortuim were present--BitManagement, Planet9 Studios and Naval Postgraduate School/MOVES Institute. A young man from Sweden gave an impressive demonstration that was particularly fast compared to the other demos. The design did not use the extensible messaging and presence protocol (XMPP) like the others. His demo show how digital content creation in a tool could be driven by the commands from another digital content creation tool while the standard based file describing that world was viewed by all DCC tools in that session. The X3D standard is a file format that Web3D Consortuim is leveraging with networking technologies to enable now. Changes to the X3D specification regarding networking multi-users filled the BOF's time after the demos ended.

Afterwards, I interviewed Planet 9 Studios' CEO Dave Colleen for 75 minutes outside the convention hall. I explained my grant proposal and its motivation. He shared several business stories about his customers' projects, how he gets business and how customers are who want X3D enabled applications in their workflow. I was left with the impression that l should let the deep pockets pay for the big and risky ideas that try to "boil the ocean".

My day at the Convention Center ended with sitting in on the Web3D symposium committee. The committee decided to schedule the next Web3D symposium to start a couple of days before SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles. They discussed the implications of coordinating their event with a big management body like ACM SIGGRAPH.

09 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 4

I started today’s events by discussing my grant idea with a few exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall. I was looking for technologies that scanned human body exteriors optically and found a couple. One cornerstone of my application deals with capturing the medical models and data about oneself from service (i.e., health care) providers. A person should be able to request or automatically receive electronically all images (from any equipment or device types) and physiological measurements taken for medical and mental health, nutrition and fitness for their intrinsic value of self-awareness. The X3D Medical working group is addressing this but I will examine the X3D specification recommendations from the Medical WG for its adequacy to support an application that will playback the changes in a person’s body and mind from their medical history. One instance of this could be a time lapsed animation of exterior images taken and using interpolation to stitch them together where data is missing. I think health and fitness professionals should use these measurements to improve their service delivery.
I attended the Web3D Tech Talk, where I had a chance to talk with Octaga’s CTO, John Arthur, about specific interests I had with their tool. I explained the CSC lines of business and what opportunities might exist between us, understanding he is here to assess such things.
My attendance at the Collada Tool chain allowed me to see the Agency 9’s MadLix product, which is the closest to my grant idea. I got to speak to the CEO of this nine person Swedish Company and will have follow up discussions via email.
I sat in on one presentation of the Interaction Tomorrow half-day course in the afternoon. I saw a technology involving a pen device that used infrared imaging of high-density dots printed on wall-size sheets of paper for 3D applications like SolidWorks.
The OpenGL 3 Birds Of a Feather was all about the differences and improvements of OpenGL 3 over Open GL 2. OpenGL 3 hasn’t been released but it will be this year. I realize that implementations of the X3D specification are usually with Open GL. So it was purposeful to listen to the influence of graphics hardware advancement on the design decisions involving this widely used language.
There was a reception at the Embarcadero Marina from 8 – 10pm. I mingled with Web3D consortium members and ate way too much BBQ.

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 3

I started the morning (after a refreshing mile swim in a pool) with breakfast at the Hilton where members of the Web 3D Consortium discuss business and their calendar of events for the next few months. There were approximately eight members present from Yumetech, Virignia Tech, Naval Postgraduate School, CSC(me) and Intelligraphics.
The first course I went to was the M0bile 3D Ecosystem, which started at 0830. I listened to one presenter on game development before leaving for a kewl paper in the Illustration & Sclupture session, which was about cutting planes of multilayered 3D models. The examples demonstrated were from the medical and automotive domains. The software developed is smart enough to know how to remove layers in the human body as the viewing perspective changes along with the adjustable cutting window. The software slides the cutting window along curved objects like tires or translates when the user moves it across rectilinear objects. I left this session after the presenation to attend part of the Intellectual Property & Patent panel
Three panelists, lady from the Disney Corporation, a partner from the Nath Law Group and a patent attorney each presented their views on IP & Patent law. The first attorney presented an argument for patenting movies and scripts because they are processes, which is a term in the 35 USC on patents & IP. He thinks these artifacts of the creative process can meet the three criteria for patents. The second presenter discussed Supreme Court cases involving IP and the relationship between the courts making policy while the legislature passes IP law. I did ask a question about changing the term of patents in light of their comments about the increasing number of patents some of which are found not worthy in hindsight. They said there has been discussion about this but extant recurring requirements for keeping US patents current and the delay in processing patent applications balance most adverse effects of the increase number of patent applications. In Germany, you can get a patent good for only six years.
I also attended Birds of a Feather ACM SIGGRAPH Carto meeting, where I met a professor from the University of Maryland. He was marketing his book on data structures for 3D and geospatial rendering. I explained my grant work to him but he didn’t show much interest. I think four quick demonstrations of 3D geospatial browser/viewers took place during the BOF. The use case for demonstrations was focused on the technical capabilities and qualities like rendering performance of the software. The effort to tag X3D nodes with metadata using the MetaDataObject type in the scene graph appears to be a focus of the work for my grant idea.
On the floor of the Exhibit Hall, I visited the Web 3D Consortium’s booth. There I talked at length with Octaga's CEO, Ola Odegard, CTO, John Arthur, and visual artist, Ivar Kjellmo. I spoke briefly with Yumetech’s engineers Alan Justin and CEO, Alan Hudson. I planned to speak to C-level executives from Plante 9 Studios and BitManagement tomorrow.
I ate dinner with several members in the Web3D Consortium where I rambled about my professional background in the Air Force’s satellite activities over my Chinese Chicken salad.

08 August 2007

Week 8 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 3

I started the morning (after a refreshing mile swim in a pool) with breakfast at the Hilton where members of the Web 3D Consortium discuss business and their calendar of events for the next few months. There were approximately eight members present from Yumetech, Virignia Tech, Naval Postgraduate School, CSC(me) and Intelligraphics.

The first course I attended was the M0bile 3D Ecosystem, which started at 0830. I listened to one presenter on game development before leaving for to hear a paper presentation in the Illustration & Sclupture session, which was about cuttng planes of multilayered 3D models. The examples demonstrated where from the medical and automotive domains. The software developed is smart enough to know how to remove layers in the human body as the viewing perspective changes along with the adjustable cutting window. The software slides the cutting window along curved objects like tires or translates it when an user moves it across linear objects.

I spent the rest of the day listening to a Panel discussion on IP & Patents. I stayed for two of four presenters talks. Then I left to sit in on the Birds of a Feather ACM SIGGRAPH Carto meeting. Nothing much came out of that choice. I did met a textbook author from the University of Maryland afterwards. He wasn't very interested in my work. My last destination for the day would be the Exhibit Hall. There I spent most of my time at Booth 29 where the Web3D Consortium's members were. I talked about my concepts at length with Octaga's CEO, Ola Odegard, Octaga's CTO, John Arthur, and visual artist, Ivar Kjellmo.

The day ended with having dinner at a Mexican restaurant with the Web3D Consortium members.

07 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 2

I attended the Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds half-day course from 0830 - 1215. I thought this topic relevant to my specification for an application that takes pictures or video from the real world and gets augmented by virtual reality objects with behaviors. There were three presenters that discussed the state-of-art in AR and compared its evolution to VR in terms of display technology. The talk focused on the dismounted display technology for AR, which means projectors. Using projectors, some as small enough to hold in your hand, is at the opposite end of the display technogy spectrum of using low power lasers to project images on the retina. There were no papers relevant enough to skip this half-day course.
After lunch, I met with Leonard Daly of Daly Realism about grant specific issues for 75 minutes. I met Leonard via Don Brutzman several months ago. Leonard is the co-author with Don on the first textbook on X3D for Web Authors. I told Leonard I'm investigating how X3D can support the consolidation of humans acquiring 1) land 2) labor and 3) captial. To clarify this general and somewhat meaningless statement, I explained that an individual's goal setting (planning to get stuff and do things), capital acquisition (buying stuff) and its operation (using one's stuff) needs to be supported in one application that brings the spatialized artifacts of these activities together for review, preview and overview based on the computing machinery used to interact with the resulting virtual world. The superclasses of stuff that should cover everything someone (or company) comes to own or possess are land, labor (his or herself) and capital (intellectual, financial and plain on goods). Theses classes correlate to X3D Earth, X3D medical/Human Animation, and X3D CAD Distallation format. The ground, improved or not, that you see in wil be X3D formatted. The humanoid that is you in your VR built from CT scans, PET scans, MRIs, X-rays, blood panels, etc. will be X3D formatted. The land improvements you own and that houses you, your family and your stuff (wardrobe, food, furniture, etc.) will be X3D CAD Distallation formatted. Leonard gave me a couple of ideas to use in the business model I have to develop and the system model for the application that has to make Quicken and MS Money irrelevant. Leonard thinks the social implications, not technical issues, are hold the risk to creating such an application. I mentioned privacy, security and liability concerns arising with the capabilities of this application in my proposal. Once I enurmerate the top ten of these by category, I will take them to key companies or consortia thought to be the bellwether or voice for the collective and discuss strategies to overcome them.
My discussions with Leonard went so long that I could not get into the afternoon half-day course on Sorting in Space: Multidimensional, Spatial, and Metric Data Structures for computer graphics applications. That was ok because I made a schedule chance to attend the X3D Medical working group that started 45 minutes into the course once I read about it on the members page of the consortium. During the working group, I heard about the dozen or so new nodes for MedX3D that the US Army paid Web3D to develop via a grant they won recently. A US Army Broad Area Announcement was the stimulus for their proposal. The Consortium will be submitting a proposal for a $250K grant soon. They will work on six tasks, one being a X3D haptics standard, if they win another grant.
The two hour Electronic Theater at the San Diego Civic Center this evening was fantastic. They show opened with the programmer of Atari's Asteriods (1979) playing his game until he lost all his spaceships. There were many applauds during the whole thing. He was followed by the programmer for the Star Wars (1983) game who did the same. There had to have been 30 short films shown during the remaining 100 minutes. Many had amazing real time rendering of 100M+ particle systems, hair, fur, water, waterfalls, natural lighting, skin tones, etc. The power of Graphical Processing Units and Shaders has taken CG to a new level.

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH Day 2

After my 9km run around the harbor, I got right into the half-day course on Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds (0830 -1215). Three presenters gave a very good review of the state-of-the-art display techniques of blending the real with the virtual on a display system dismounted from the viewer. They briefly discussed the evolution of VR compared to AR with an illustration to show how the two disciplines converged in the last decade. One presenter showed video of experiments and projects that investigated AR using the user's blowing (wind) ability to control VR objects on screen, electrically induced vestibular sensations that caused users to veer left or right at the whim of the person controlling the electrical inputs, and an olfactory simulator where two vortex scents intersect at a precise volume of space to create localized and ephemeral odors. After lunch, I met with Leonard Daly (Daly Realism) to discuss business models and application architecture regarding my grant. He had a couple of suggestions for both that I will note in my report. Repeated discussion of this topic affords me the opportunity to speak concisely about what I'm investigating and why. Leonard was able to tell me what I am exploring with few exceptions. I tell people, I am investigating X3D's capability to support three fundamental possessions of human 1) land 2) labor and 3) capital. Moreover, I'm exploring an application architecture for the operation, acquisition and goal setting behaviors

06 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 1

I attended three events today. First, I listened two university professors teach a half day course entitled, Introduction to SIGGRAPH and Computer Graphics, which was pretty much worth it only because this is my first SIGGRAPH. They simplying told the audience to plan your participation and stick to it because it is easy to get distracted and leave SIGGRAPH never have taken the opportunity to meet the presenters and find out that something you have been wanting to ask the expert. They even suggested planning a boustrophodonic visit through the Exhibit Hall. I didn't get anything new out of the computer graphics portion of the course because I'm familiar with the field and even reading the 2e of Virtual Reality Technology (hardback) for my grant work. The second event was another half day course. An Interactive Introduction to Open GL Programming was interesting too. Three speakers delivered a fast paced overview of OpenGL 2.0 programming. They even talked about shaders for 20 minutes at the end. The last event of the day was the 2-hr Fast Forward Papers Review. There had to be 3,000 people in attendence for this event. I loved the format. The papers Chair hosted the event and opened it with the state of SIGGRAPH. After he finished his remarks and recognized a special event planner with a plaque and trip to Itay, the paper review got started. Every author had 50-sec, no exceptions, to tell the audience what she/he would talk about for 25 minutes in the paper session. This gave everyone a real good feeling if they truly thought what the paper was about would satisfy their curiosity. Nearly every author had an animation or video clip to show the fruits of she/he labors. I propbably will attend three papers after seeing the review.

I plan to attend the Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds half day course in the morning and the Sorting in Space: Multidimensional, Spatial and Metric Data Structures for Computer Graphics Applications half day course in the afternoon. I chose the Monday evening Electronic Theater when I registred, so I'll be at UCSD at 7pm for that event.

05 August 2007

Week 8 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 0

I arrived in San Diego safely by noon. I checked the Web3D members' calendar and found out there are a number of Web3D/X3D working group meetings I can attend. The first one was the Networking WG and they met today at the Westin hotel in the lobby from 2 - 5pm. Don Brutzman, PhD (Naval Postgraduate School), Chris Thorne (PhD student, West Australia), Richard Puk, PhD (Intelligrahics Inc.), and Mitch (3Donline.com) showed up to discuss the software development by Media Machines et al regarding how to route events between virtual worlds such at X3D browser can shared one virtual world across the internet by any number of users wanting to navigate that world. Don talked about network time protocol as a possible solution to synchronization. The issue of discovery (i.e., peer-to-peer networking with apriori knowledge of peers seeking a world to explore or star (central server) spoke topology to notify viewers of worlds available) between the world to explore and explorers seeking worlds was discussed. I brought up subjects concerning my grant work and the guys shared there thoughts. I did hear the CAD Distillation format working group remains dormant but it will be coming to life later this year. The millions if not billions of dollars worth in intellectual property in CAD formats are initial conditions for my Use Cases in my grant. Tomorrow, I will attend the 0830 - 1215 Course 7 Introduction to SIGGRAPH and Computer Graphics. From 1 - 6 pm I will pop in and out of Emerging Technologies if I don't like Course 10: An Interactive Introduction to OpenGL programming started at 1:45 and ending at 5:30pm.