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User Interfaces for Cooperative Remote Design

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Annual technical rept. 1 Feb 97-31 Jan 98

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Our objective in this research has been to allow teams that are physically separated to do detailed design work on large-scale, 3D projects. We seek to develop new methods to facilitate cooperative remote design utilizing both high-bandwidth networking capability and virtual reality with appropriate graphical interfaces to support the collaborative effort. The specific task is to enable multiple users to stand at each of two or more Virtual Workbenches at remote locations and interact effectively for design generation. We have made significant progress towards this goal. To build and test our design environment we needed a large scale and complex design model. We chose the Navy Arsenal Ship. This is a multiple deck model and our biggest initial problem was to organize and segment this model so that graphical detail could be handled efficiently and so that individual 3D objects could be moved independently. We separated the model hierarchically along decks and then further along task areas e.g., galley, mess area, engine room, communications rooms, sleeping quarters, etc.. Initially, we implemented the model using the Simple Virtual Environment SVE, which provides extensive software support for the creation of virtual applications including handling tracking, interactive tools, virtual menus, and display of 3D objects within the virtual environment. After this initial work we switched from SVE to the SGI Performer environment. The main reasons for this is that Performer is highly optimized for running 3D interactive simulations on Reality Engines, Infinite Reality Engines, and other high-end SGI hardware, and it has recently been made more flexible with new capabilities. Its optimizations including advanced handling of graphical details and textures to sustain interactivity and use of parallelism in multiprocessor architectures. Other capabilities include the handling of over 30 model formats and integration with Multigen modeling capacities.

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  • Computer Programming and Software
  • Computer Systems

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