Archive for August, 2008

The Best SIGGRAPH 2008 Overview I’ve Seen Yet

For a fantastic overview of this year’s SIGGRAPH, head on over to Hack a Day and read Eliot Phillips’ post there. Waaaay better than my weak efforts…heheh.

As Eliot points out in his post, most of the papers are online at various locations on the Interwebs and the links are all aggregated at Ke-Sen Huang’s site. Make sure you check out “Finding Paths through the World’s Photos“, especially if you’ve been following Microsoft Labs’ Seadragon implementation Photosynth. Extremely cool.

Speed, Flash, and Traffic: SIGGRAPH 2008 Wrap-Up

Well, another SIGGRAPH is history. It’s been a terrific creative battery recharge. Thursday and Friday highlights include a really cool Production Session on how the various visual effects companies that made Speed Racer went about replicating the look and feel of anime in a live action motion picture, a very entertaining and interesting overview on the use of Adobe Flash for animation, and an absolutely fascinating class on transportation visualization.
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Digital Projection, Spatial Augmented Reality, and Shape Grammar – SIGGRAPH 2008

It’s been an inspiring conference so far. The classes I’ve attended have been excellent. On Monday I attended the half-day course on projectors and spatial augmented reality for (I think) the 4th year running. Ramesh Raskar and Oliver Bimber were fantastic as usual. They were joined this year by Aditi Majumber who spoke about large-format displays and Hendrik Lensch who spoke on computational illumination for 3D scene modeling. One of the things I really get excited about in this class is what Raskar calls RFIG. In essence, this entails adding a photosensor to an RFID tag and then projecting structured light from a handheld projector on the photosensor in order to acquire a relative position for the tagged item. With the unique identifier and the relative position, we can query a database and then project useful information about the identified items directly on the items themselves using our handheld projector. All this is made possible by very small and relatively inexpensive handheld computers with wireless network access and attached projectors. You can check out their work, including the full-text of their book, Spatial Augmented Reality, on the supporting website: SpatialAR.com. Great stuff.
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SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles

I arrived at the Los Angeles Convention Center today and picked up my credentials for this year’s SIGGRAPH Conference. If you’re unfamiliar with the organization or the conference, it’s a part of the Association for Computing Machinery; SIGGRAPH is the largest SIG (Special Interest Group) in the ACM. The full name is the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques, which is more than a mouthful.This year’s conference has added a couple of new features. The fantastic Animation Festival has been expanded and more deeply integrated with the rest of the conference. Screenings are being paired with artist and tech talks and will be running throughout the day, with special big-studio presentations in the evenings, including Pixar and Dreamworks.

In addition, conference organizers are implementing a new RFID tracking component to gather demographic data about attendance at conference sessions and events. The RFID tags are embedded in attendee ID cards (attendees can opt-out by recycling the card at the conference). This year is a pilot of the technology with expanded use next year if all goes well.

I’m especially interested in how this works out. The ILC is partnering with Tulane’s Middle American Research Institute on some interesting RFID projects as MARI moves to new and renovated storage and display space over the next 18 months. On a related note, the half-day class on computer graphic projector technology, including Spatial Augmented Reality, is in the morning at 8:30. I’m hoping to come away with some good ideas for implementing this technology in our MARI-related projects in the near future. I have a meeting set up on Thursday afternoon with engineers at Motorola on current RFID technology, thanks to the gracious assistance of Ian Thomas, Vice-President of Business Development at O’Neill Software, Inc.

I don’t think I could imagine a better week of total geek heaven.