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DVI Pilot Applications
by Douglas Dixon
The Galactic Challenge
interactive concept demonstration developed at Sarnoff in 1984
included many seminal ideas which were to become key concepts in DVI technology and future
multimedia applications, including:
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Functionality Demonstrations: 1985
In 1985 the project entered a new phase, beginning a transition from demonstrating the basic technology to developing more detailed prototype applications. Our group now included application programmers, video producers, and instructional designers who worked with outside partners to develop prototype interactive video applications.
Some of these ideas were integrated into a series of demonstrations on the Ikonas graphics system, and others were eventually developed into the initial set of pilot applications demonstrated at the public announcement.
Billiard Balls Bouncing around a Texture-Mapped Table
New demonstrations of the product's hardware capabilities were developed, including fast drawing of solid and textured polygons, and a simulation of billiard balls on a texture mapped billiard table, colliding with one another and bouncing off the sides.
Bouncing Windows of Motion Video
To convey the potential of motion video stored and manipulated in a frame buffer, another demonstration was developed showing several video windows bouncing around the screen, each playing a different motion video sequence.
At each press of a key, they would split into smaller and smaller pieces, until the screen was filled with tiny pieces of motion video. Visitors especially enjoyed trying to track the small squares as they swam across the screen, still playing their pieces of the video sequence.
2-D Video / Graphics Operations
The DVI Warp algorithm supports basic 2D transformations including scroll, mirror, scale larger or smaller, and rotate - all with arbitrary sizes.
Because Warp allows images
to be transformed into any polygonal region, video images can be manipulated to create a
3D perspective by shearing and distorting.
3-D Interior Design of a Room with Texture-Mapped Furnishings
Warp texture-maps 2D video images onto the surface of a 3D object model. Since Warp can brighten or darken the texture as it is mapped onto a surface, it can easily produce polygonal-shaded 3D images.
Warp also provides more general 3D support such as
hidden-surface removal and smooth (Gouraud) shading.
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A series of pilot applications demonstrating the advanced functionality of DVI technology were developed through 1986. An ISV Symposium was held at Sarnoff in January 1986 to bring together the companies working with DVI for the first time. The pilot applications were first simulated on a Targa-based PC development environment in early 1986, and then ported to the first hardware through early 1987. These applications were first publicly demonstrated at the Second Microsoft CD-ROM conference in March 1987.
The Palenque surrogate travel adventure provided video travel sequences, video help inserts, and the ability to interactively look around in 360 degree panoramas.
Another important capability of digital video is the ability to manipulate the images stored in image memory, which can be used for video special effects, and for texture-mapping video images onto three-dimensional models. A microcode warp algorithm was developed to shrink, stretch, or otherwise distort polygonal regions for these purposes. The Design and Decorate interior design application provided realistic views of room interiors. This ability to manipulate video textures also was used by the Flight Simulator application. The DVI hardware could perform this texture-mapping on the fly, using the geometric data computed by the host computer based on the three-dimensional model. The textures also provided additional detail such as windows on the buildings.
"Palenque," an educational application pilot developed jointly with Bank Street College of Education, is a surrogate travel adventure which allows a viewer to explore an ancient Mayan ruin in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.
A motion video sequence flies the viewer to the Yucatan
jungle, where, after touch-down, graphical icons provide several choices for travel
through the Mayan site.
Using a joystick to steer, the viewer can move forward and backward, leisurely or quickly, along several paths; and walk to the top of a temple, turn around, and come back down again.
(The sequence uses one frame of film per step to simulate the
effect of walking.)
In addition, at various points the viewer can scan slowly or quickly, left, right, up, down, or diagonally, around a full 360-degree panoramic view of the scene. A fisheye lens was used to photograph an entire scene on one frame of film. These panoramas were digitized, and then unwrapped digitally into a bit-map image to provide the full-circle view without edges or seams. The panning microcode then provided the experience of looking around within them.
Meanwhile, in the background, an audio track plays the sounds of crickets, running water, and an occasional howler monkey from the jungle. The surrogate traveler can compare the behavior and cries of different animals and even arrange a 'jungle symphony' with several cries playing at once. Additional text, video, and audio sequences can be accessed to explain Mayan carvings, rain forest ecology, and animal life.
"Words in the Neighborhood," a pilot application developed with Children's Television Workshop, is a children's wordbook.
It includes a selection of
video sequences coordinated with graphical overlays and synchronized audio.
One activity shows a graphic image of a Sesame Street scene overlaid with four words that all begin with the same letter. Selecting a word via joystick starts a video and audio sequence from the television show in one quadrant of the screen. When the child plays several sequences at once, he or she hears a new song for the common letter sound.
The "Flight Simulator" pilot application developed jointly with Activision combines realistic images and interactive response.
pilot flies a World War II Spitfire airplane over a computer-generated English
The scenery includes highly detailed buildings based on an artist's rendition of a 1930's English town (it even has a billboard of Winston Churchill). The airplane's instrument panel was obtained from a Spitfire. The terrain is generated by mapping video textures onto a 3D graphical model of the scene during the flight, and is recomputed dynamically as the joystick is moved.
"Design and Decorate," another graphics-intensive pilot
application, is being developed jointly with Videodisc Publishing Inc. It is geared toward
interior designers and furniture and textile retailers.
Design and Decorate is used to visualize interior designs by mapping video
textures on 3D graphics models. The user designs the room layout, places furniture from a
catalog, and then assigns materials and textures from the built-in library. Design and
Decorate then renders a 3-D visualization of the resulting design.
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