SIGGRAPH 2008 brings roughly 30,000 computer graphics and interactive technology professionals from around the world together focusing on science, research, art, animation, gaming, and education. They hand out prizes for the best in computer animation from submissions. This year’s conference ends today.
"The caliber of submissions this year was truly phenomenal, which made the jury's job especially difficult." said Jill Smolin, SIGGRAPH 2008 Conference Entertainment Director. "The winners truly showcase what is possible today and provide a glimpse into what artists can achieve in the future. Really, the only limitation is the imagination."
The SIGGRAPH 2008 Best of Show award goes to Oktapodi by Gobelins, l'école de l’image, from France.
Best Student Piece Winner award goes to 893 by Supinfocom from France.
The Jury Award Winner is Mauvais Rôle by École Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle, also from France.
It seems the French made a clean sweep. The conference was held in Los Angeles. Go figure.
Oktapodi and Mauvais Rôle are both pretty entertaining. although I found Mauvais Rôle funnier. It must have been the gamer references. I couldn’t find a link to 893. Check them out!
Coming this fall, Sony will unveil its first WHDI device, the DMX-WL1T. If you haven't been following, WHDI is a new technology co-developed by Amimon, Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony that provides a high-quality, uncompressed wireless link for transmitting video data rates of up to 3Gbps between an HD source and an HDTV.
Giving the device widespread flexibility, Sony's DMX-WL1T will come equipped with four HDMI inputs, one component input, one digital audio input, and a stereo analog input. The two-piece system will transmit uncompressed 1080i video and audio, but according to Sony Insider, HD content will likely only stream to a Sony DMex compatible Bravia HDTV.
Concrete details have yet to emerge, but it looks as though the WHDI device will offer a range of up to 100 feet and possibly more. Three IR Blaster ports also suggest that users will be able to control other third-party devices. Sony is expected to officially announce the DMX-WL1T later this month at the IFA conference in Berlin. Until then, it's all speculation, including pricing and availability.
There are all kinds of gadgets and gizmos and for the visually impaired, and thanks to designer Chueh Lee at Samsung China, those who can't see might soon be able to take pictures. The Touch Sight camera doesn't come with an LCD, instead displaying snapshots as a three-dimensional image by embossing the surface of a built-in Braille display.
"Touch Sight is a revolutionary digital camera designed for visually impaired people," said Lee. "Simpe features make it easy to use, including a unique feature which records sound for three seconds after pressing the shutter button. The user can then use the sound as a reference when reviewing and managing the photos."
Visually impaired photographers are advised to hold the camera up against their forehead, similar to having a third eye, as the best way to stabilize and aim the camera. Once the pictures are snapped, the touchable photos are saved to the camera and the ones worth sharing can be uploaded for other Touch Sight camera owners to download and feel.
Kudos to Lee for one of the grooviest gadgets we've seen recent times.
Forget any talk of shortages or competitive pressure from VIA, Intel's Atom processors are thriving amid the recent Netbook and Mobile Internet Device (MID) movement. "Atom is off to a very, very rapid start, far exceeding our expectations when we started the year," CFO Stacy Smith said in an interview Tuesday. "It's the perfect recession product to have in the marketplace."
The success of its Atom processor has helped Intel achieve a 25 percent rise in quarterly profit despite a weak global economy, with Smith maintaining an overall revenue forecast in the third quarter between $10.0 and $10.6 billion.
Yields are good too. According to Smith, Intel gets about 2,500 Atom processors per silicon wafer, and while that's not quite as good as on a Core or Xeon chip, it's enough to ensure strong profitability on Atom CPUs. Still, Intel remains cautiously optimistic.
"We'll know kind of in six months how much of this demand (for Atom) is real and how much is customers thinking they're going to win in the market place and double-ordering," Smith said. "It seems to be growing the market rather than cannibalizing existing PC sales."
Will Intel's Atom chips continue to exceed expectations now that Centrino 2 platforms are starting to trickle out?
It might not be well publicized, but there's a major war brewing between Microsoft and Adobe, and they're fighting for you. Each one of them wants to be your provider for rich media content, a task that has traditionally been served by Adobe with its Flash player, but one Olympic sized loss could change the game in Microsoft's favor.
It was Microsoft who won the deal to supply NBC with video-viewing technology via Silverlight for the Olympics in Beijing, and while Microsoft and NBC have ties that go back to their collaboration building MSNBC, Adobe could have been considered a favorite to the win the account based the mature nature of Flash technology. So how did Microsoft secure the gold?
"We talked about features like adaptive streaming, the ability to automatically keep checking how much bandwidth you have and deliver the appropriate quality stream and how to be smart about knowing what's coming up in the stream," said Rob Bennett, the general manager of sports for MSN.
In other words, Microsoft won the account on a combination of Silverlight's feature-set, and convincing NBC that Flash's scalability had never been put to an Olympic-size test, unlike Silverlight's underlying technology which is based on Windows Media technologies.
Of course, it's only one account, but it's not so much what Adobe lost, but what Microsoft gained. While download specifics have not been disclosed, we do know that it's registering 1.5 million downloads a day, and according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft, "in the last several days, more than 50 percent of the visitors to NBCOlympics.com on MSN already have Silverlight 2 installed."
We are consuming huge amounts of bandwidth daily. Just 10 years ago I would have been thrilled with a 4Mb down 512Kb up connection. Today that’s just so-so when it comes to broadband. Downloading video, music, or whatever, is consuming massive amounts of bandwidth and communications companies are working hard to keep up. It’s only going to get more crowded on our current system.
Fiber optics is the big thing for moving large amounts of data around. After all, there isn’t anything that is faster than light (without getting into Quantum physics…). The internet’s current speed woes comes from routing information to its various destinations, not transporting it.
Fiber optics still relies on regular routers to relay information to its correct destination. Where fiber optics can handle frequencies in the terahertz range, electronics work on the gigahertz range. Those pulses of light have to be converted into electrical signals, which are stored, routed, and turned back into optical signals with lasers to be transmitted on. The conversion, besides adding significant cost and complexity, it slows down the data transmission.
So the simple thing to do is to slow light down and remove the needed conversion process. I can hear Han Solo now, “Slow down light speed? Not on this ship brother.”
That is just what researchers are trying to do using "metamaterials". If they can slow down light during the switching process, there would be no need for the electrical conversion step. It could be a first step into building a light based computer.
You can catch the whole article on the BBC website here.
Each Surface computer is reported to have cost Starwood around $10,000. As the machine is made to order, there is always a possibility for change and evolution. Perhaps they can include games to keep the guests riveted. Also lending individuality – or a personality – to the table using interactive 3D characters might be a wonderful business idea as guests might even leave a tip for the table then - not really.
If solid state drives (SSDs) ultimately fail to curry favor among enthusiasts, it won't be from lack of effort in OCZ's headquarters. OCZ, who once sold only DRAM products and now offers everything from DIY notebooks to mind-controlled input devices, has been one of SSDs most aggressive pushers, first with its Core Series SSDs, and now with a second revision dubbed V2.
Whereas the original Core Series come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB flavors, the new V2 will be available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. By offering a 250GB model, a case could be made for going HDD-less in that new build.
Storage space isn't the only feature getting a boost and the V2 series will offer read and write speeds up to 170 MB/s and 98 MB/s respectively. By comparison, the previous Core Series top out at 143 MB/s and 93 MB/s respective read and write speeds. The V2 also touts improved seek times of less than 0.2-0.3ms as part of the new architecture.
One of the more interesting features OCZ brings to the table with the V2 is the ability to update the SSDs' firmware.The drives will come equipped with a mini-USB port, which paves the way for consumers to cash in on speed bumps and other future enhancements simply by installing new firmware.
Of course, the big concern with all SSDs continues to be the long term reliability, and OCZ rates its 2-year warrantied V2 series with a 1.5 million hour mean time before failure (MTBF). No word yet on pricing or availability.
Two years ago, Nvidia unveiled its Quadro Plex range of visual computing systems at SIGGRAPH 2006. Now, at this year’s SIGGRPAH, it has announced desk-mounted visual supercomputers in the Quadro Plex range. The D series of Quadro Plex visual computer systems is claimed to have leapfrogged previous versions by over a 100% in terms of performance. The NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2 VCS has two Quadro FX 5800 GPUs, 4 dual-link DVI channels, and 8 GB of frame buffer memory. Whereas its sibling the NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2100 D4 VCS has four GPUs, 8 dual-link DVI channels and a 4 GB frame buffer.
The D series visual supercomputers are ideal for highly taxing 3D models, engineering designs and other scientific visualizations. The hundred of Nvidia CUDA Parallel Processing Cores pack copious parallel computing capabilities and the visual supercomputers can be easily hooked to workstations or servers using PCI Express adapter cards. The D series is due in September with prices starting at $10,750.
The ink was hardly dry on the Khronos Group's August 11th announcement that they released the OpenGL 3.0 API specification, when Nvidia releases beta drivers supporting the standard. These new drivers implement the OpenGL 3.0 API and the GLSL 1.30 shading language for both Windows XP and Vista on selected GeForce and Quadro videocards. This isn’t totally unexpected since Nvidia is a member of the Khronos Group
“OpenGL 3.0 is a significant advance for graphics standard and we’re proud that NVIDIA has played a major role in developing it,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, Manager, Core OpenGL Software at NVIDIA and chair of the OpenGL working group at Khronos. “OpenGL 3.0 will be a first-class API on both GeForce and Quadro boards. Shipping drivers two days after this new specification is released demonstrates our strong commitment to the OpenGL developer community and our partners who rely on the standard.”
There has been much speculation on how the OpenGL 3.0 API will compete with DirectX 10. Some truly great games were made with previous OpenGL API specs like Far Cry, any of the Quake series, Starsiege: Tribes, and the original Half-Life. These games are pretty long in tooth, and newer games have been made with Direct X, including the engine that drives Valve's Source engine.
We can look forward to developers putting out some new games in the future using this standard. With all they accomplished with OpenGL 2.1, I am pretty excited about what’s coming.