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3D Phone Calls: the Fusion of Virtual Reality, Networking, Supercomputing, and Data Mining

Friday, January 1, 1999


Scientists, engineers, artists and archeologists have fully embraced networked computer visualization as a means to discover, communicate and educate. They generate and access massive data sets that push the technology to its daily limits, using the web as a common interface portal to share. A logical extension to the two-dimensional computer/TV screen is virtual reality 3D visuals and sound, presented in a surround fashion that puts the user inside the data, able to explore freely by walking or flying around. Connecting these users with the right networks, supercomputers and data mining gives them a way to make 3D phone calls to each other. 3D Telephony, or Tele-Immersion as it is more commonly called, is quite complicated to achieve, and is very expensive. The virtual reality gear is $150,000 per station, the networks require Quality of Service or over-provisioning, the computing and data mining are high-end. 3D phone calls are truly a challenge to the Next Generation Internet: fortunately it's only a question of more bandwidth, silicon, display technology, and software to drive the cost way down. Unfortunately, the speed of light is too slow for many global applications, but this too, provides challenges to the community. This talk will describe ways to get this technology to the desktop, plug it into the National Technology Grid, address the deep local and global networking issues, and adapt to the needs of users.

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