Page N1.1 . 09 August 2000                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
  • SIGGRAPH Presents the Future of Computer Graphics
  • New Virtual Reality Theater Supports Architectural Research
  • In Memory of John Hejduk, 1929-2000

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    SIGGRAPH Presents the Future of Computer Graphics

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Peek into a kid's world of video games and you may see the future of computing technology for architects. Despite the differences between the realms of work and play, the fact is that games and movies are fueling the economy and the direction of serious computer graphics research and development.

    Just as the music industry pioneered the compact disc and brought its price down for computer users, the animation and interactive technologies now being created for the lucrative entertainment industries will eventually benefit the more straight-laced purposes of design architects.

    Whether motivated by work or play, 26,000 participants braved the tropical heat of New Orleans last month to attend SIGGRAPH's Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. The event was an opportunity for artists, educators, researchers, animators, and students from 74 countries to share their latest discoveries.

    Noted inventor and author Ray Kurzweil gave a keynote address, offering his predictions for the human-machine merger, speculating that we will spend most of our time in virtual reality in the 21st century.

    In the near future, he stated, we will enter a shared virtual visual and auditory environment where Web sites will become fully immersive experiences. In Kurzweil's wireless world of the next decade, he sees seamless, invisible computing with images projected directly onto the retina with fully immersive VR glasses or contact lenses. "We will totally get rid of the wires," he promised.

    Trickle-down Research

    Research now underway will eventually lead to high-resolution rendering in real time, the physics-based behavior of animated objects, and interactive devices that incorporate the sense of touch. For more information about these projects, see the (surprisingly nongraphic) SIGGRAPH Web site.



    ArchWeek Photo

    This VRML model of Venice's Piazza San Marco was built in one day to demonstrate the construction techniques for creating virtual environments and the ability of real-time simulations to represent existing urban design.
    Image: Dace Campbell

    ArchWeek Photo

    The new pressure-sensitive 15-inch display serves simultaneously as input and output device.
    Photo: Wacom Technology Co.


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