Actuality Systems Perspecta Spatial Display Will Aid Univ. of Toronto Research On Next-Generation Interface

BURLINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 7, 2002--Actuality Systems, Inc., a pioneer in the development of spatial 3D visualization technology, announced today that its Perspecta spatial visualization platform has been installed at the University of Toronto Computer Science Department.

The unique 360-degree display will be used as part of the school's advanced research in human computer interaction and how users will work with the next generation of technology.

"Perspecta addresses one of the big challenges we have with flat displays," said Prof. Ravin Balakrishnan of the university's Dynamic Graphics Project lab. "There are all sorts of tools and techniques to help people visualize 3D data on a standard 2D display, but in the end, the display is flat. Perspecta is a completely new paradigm."

The Perspecta platform consists of a dome-like spatial display and an application programming interface that enables new application development. The system illuminates more than 100 million volume pixels, or "voxels," throughout a full range of 3D locations within its Lexan dome. This is unlike 3D displays that require special stereoscopic goggles to simulate multi-dimensional imagery, or flat-screen monitors that render 3D data into flat 2D images. Instead, Perspecta is compatible with a number of visualization software packages, enabling users to render high-resolution spatial images that can be viewed from any angle as the user literally walks around the display.

"We have two real objectives for the system," said Prof. Balakrishnan. "First, we want to explore how the display can be used to better understand 3D geometric models and to build them in a more intuitive fashion. Second, we want to invent an entirely new interface."

"Thirty years ago when high quality 2D raster displays began to appear in the labs, everyone was still using command line interfaces. Then, researchers at Xerox PARC developed the graphical user interface, which we now all take for granted. If you imagine into the future as spatial technology develops further, you probably won't be using a mouse or GUI. Our goal is to develop the next generation of user interface for this next generation of 3D displays."

Perspecta Features Advanced Optical Semiconductor Technology

The Perspecta system also uses the industry's most advanced projection technology, based on Digital Light Processing(TM) products from Texas Instruments. The state-of-the-art projector uses DLP(TM) technology and an optical semiconductor with as many as 1.3 million microscopic mirrors to manipulate light digitally and generate a picture with unmatched clarity, brilliance, and color.

Typical applications for the Perspecta platform include: drug discovery, such as visualization of protein structures; surgical planning and radiation treatment planning, for doctors working to understand the exact location of a tumor on an x-ray, CAT scan, or mammogram; for air-traffic control; game development; security specialists seeking a faster and more reliable way to visualize the contents of freight or passenger luggage, and numerous others.

About Actuality Systems

Actuality Systems, Inc. develops, produces, sells, and licenses the Perspecta spatial 3D platform, a combination of hardware and software that permits 360-degree visualization, simulation, and collaboration. Founded in 1997 in Cambridge, the firm has received venture funding and now operates from offices in Burlington, Mass., north of Boston. Actuality's President and CEO is Cameron Lewis, who, in addition to executive roles at Netscape and PatientKeeper, developed the first anti-virus ASP service at, and headed up more than $400 million in mergers and acquisitions at MedicaLogic. The company's chief technology officer, Gregg Favalora, has been named one of the top young technologists by MIT Technology Review. Company chairman, Rob Ryan, was a founder and former CEO of Ascend Communications, Inc., which was acquired by Lucent in a deal valued at more than $24 billion.

NOTE: Digital Light Processing and DLP are trademarks of Texas Instruments.

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