SOURCE: Mechdyne

November 13, 2007 09:00 ET

Computer-Aided Design, GIS and Graphics Applications Come Alive in World's Highest Resolution Virtual Reality Room

Mechdyne's VRCO Subsidiary Enables Direct-From-Desktop to 100 Megapixel Viewing Environment for Pro/ENGINEER, 3DS Max®, ArcGIS® and Other Leading Applications

MARSHALLTOWN, IA--(Marketwire - November 13, 2007) - Mechdyne Corporation today announced that its VRCO Inc. subsidiary has demonstrated real-time interaction with professional 3D design tools in the world's highest resolution virtual environment -- the 100 megapixel C6 Virtual Reality Room at Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC). The demonstrations illustrate that VRCO's Conduit software enables a working environment that allows designers, analysts, seismologists, graphic developers and others to interact with 3D graphics that are almost indistinguishable from reality, with no productivity-limiting data conversion steps.

Using VRCO's Conduit, 3D models and environments developed in CATIA V5, Pro/ENGINEER, Petrel, Maya, Google Earth, and other applications are displayed from the native applications in real-time, without the need for data translation, in the C6 Virtual Reality Room at Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC).

Virtual prototypes and simulated environments have been shown many times to reduce or eliminate the cost of physical testing and to shorten development cycles. Typically, however, users lose productivity in the time and effort to convert the application data models to a format used by VR authoring or viewing tools to process the images for immersive viewing, a process which can take hours or even days. Additionally, the translated data is not necessarily an accurate representation of the original data due to the conversion process. Lastly, this translation approach only shows a 'snapshot' of the data, meaning that changes to the original model data could not be made within the VR display in real-time. Any data modifications have to be made in the original application, and then the lengthy translation process started again.

At Iowa State's Virtual Reality Applications Center (http://www.vrac.iastate.edu), Conduit is resident on a master workstation where it monitors the stream of graphics commands from one of the supported desktop applications, then distributes these commands, in real-time, to the ninety-six GPUs in the world's largest graphics PC cluster. On each cluster node, the streamed commands are rendered using the appropriate perspective view parameters for the portion of the display driven by the node. The ninety-six graphics pipes feed into twenty-four Sony SXRD projectors (each with four 2048x1080 input channels). The C6 displays imagery stereoscopically, requiring distinct left eye and right eye viewpoints. To accomplish this, one set of twelve projectors (two per wall) is used to generate left eye imagery, and an additional set of twelve projectors is used to display right eye imagery.

"We built the C6 to produce the most realistic virtual reality imagery ever seen," said Jim Oliver, Director of VRAC. "Seeing native 3D models from CATIA, Google Earth, Pro/ENGINEER and others shows us that there are no limits to what and how we can design, analyze, and experience as part of our research for the university and our corporate partners."

"Conduit was developed in response to customer demand to eliminate the need for data translation to VR viewers," said Julien Berta, VP of Engineering for VRCO. "Even if an application was written to only display on one or two monitors at most, Conduit can segment and distribute the data to three or more channels in a graphics cluster for display in multi-walled immersive rooms such as the CAVE® or in tiled and ultra high resolution displays such as the new Sony SXRD™ Quad HD projector that requires four separate video inputs."

Conduit's robust and highly flexible configurability allows it to display data on nearly every commercial and custom multi-projector display system available, regardless of monoscopic, active or passive stereo output. Conduit is commercially available and supports the following applications; 3D Studio Max, AliasStudio, Maya, CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA, SolidWorks, ArcGIS 3D Analyst, Google Earth Pro, Pro/ENGINEER, Teamcenter Visualization Mockup, and Petrel. Additionally, VRCO has prototype Conduit modules for Showcase, VoxelGeo, NX, SolidEdge, and Teamcenter Visualization. Other applications can be completed upon request.

About Mechdyne Corporation

Mechdyne Corporation is the world's largest company dedicated to consulting and development of immersive, networked and collaborative visualization systems. The company addresses complex projects where an in-depth understanding of user requirements leads to the development of products and customized solutions involving elements of visual, software and support systems. Mechdyne's subsidiary Fakespace Systems Inc. provides advanced display technology and implementation services. Subsidiary VRCO, Inc. specializes in immersive and interactive software development and support. Headquartered in Marshalltown, Iowa, Mechdyne's customers include leading government laboratories, military research programs, energy companies and a variety of 'edutainment,' manufacturing, and other users of visualization technology. More information is available at www.mechdyne.com, www.fakespace.com and www.vrco.com.

About VRAC

The Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) supports interdisciplinary research in the development and application of emerging computer interface technologies spanning virtual reality, wireless networking, and pervasive and mobile computing to amplify the creativity and productivity of people. VRAC is home to over $20 million in ongoing contract research for industry and government agencies with more than 60 faculty and 200 students using its facilities in a wide variety of research applications in science, engineering and the humanities. It also offers M.S. and PhD graduate degrees through its interdisciplinary Human Computer Interaction graduate program. More information is available at www.vrac.iastate.edu, www.hci.iastate.edu, and www.cyberI.iastate.edu.

Contact Information

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    Jeff Brum
    Mechdyne Corporation
    519-664-0036, ext. 221
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    Matt Schmidt
    FS Communications
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