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.

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