The challenge that utilities are facing is how to attract and retain younger workers in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market place. What I am seeing is that 3D technology can help. The net generation is conversant with communications, media, and digital technologies and in particular have been brought up with gaming technology, PSPs, XBoxes, and Wiis. Many modern 3D design applications, which use the same 3D visualization tools that were developed for the gaming industry, provide an environment that is much more familiar and stimulating for the millennial generation, who may perceive traditional 2D design as something left over from the dark ages. In the last few months I have come across several utilities who are finding that for this reason 3D engineering design technology can contribute to attracting and retaining younger workers.
The UC-Berkeley lab that prototyped fast 3D city model generation using airborne lasers now brings us a cheaper and innovative method to map interiors in 3D.
Under the direction of Dr. Avideh Zakhor, lead researcher and UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering, the scientists have been able to use this more portable method of mapping by way of sensors or lightweight (less than eight ounces) laser scanners.
“We have also developed novel sensor fusion algorithms that use cameras, lasers range finders and inertial measurement units to generate a textured, photo-realistic, 3D model that can operate without GPS input and that is a big challenge,” said Zakhor.
… Using this technology, Air Force personnel will be able to collectively view the interior of modeled buildings and interact over a network in order to achieve military goals like mission planning.
A new project aims to produce a Google Maps-like guide of the brain’s labyrinthine structure At a presentation here at the SIGGRAPH interactive technology and computer graphics conference, researchers highlighted how a complete 3-D model of the brain could spark a new era in neurological research.
Called The Whole Brain Catalog, the project compiles data from across the research spectrum, in a variety of forms. It takes MRI data, pictures of stained neurons and theoretical diagrams of brain circuitry and presents them in a way that scientists, doctors and 3-D animators can digest in a unified way. Those users then contribute back to the site, wiki-style, to produce an increasingly full model of the brain at every scale, down to the molecular level.
Surgically cutting a patient open is sometimes necessary to expose the break and allow a surgeon to manipulate the bone so it fits together accurately. To ease these surgeries, researchers seek to combine state of the art of 3-D imaging, pattern recognition and robotics.
CT scans of healthy and fractured joints will be used to work out the mathematical algorithm for the exact displacement and rotation of each bone fragment. Using this information, a 3-D model of the broken bone will be made on software from the United Kingdom-based company Simpleware that lets doctors better see how to mend the bone during surgery.
Virgile Adam of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium [and collbaorators] describe the ultimate in holographic (three-dimensional) data storage: a chemically pure crystal composed solely of proteins that can be read and reversibly switched between at least two different states using nothing but light.
Embedded within the proper array of lasers (it would take at least two), such a crystal would represent something approaching the theoretical limit of data density in a storage medium: each bit would be represented by a single molecule
… at least one of these proteins, known as IrisFP, actually has the ability to store data in four different states, versus the two different states (on and off) encoded by a traditional bit. In other words, this protein could store data in base 4 instead of base 2.
“… We’re doing that three-dimensionally from the beginning, we’re not doing lots of concept art that then needs to be turned into a model or an asset later on, it’s straight into the 3D world. The changes that you make, you’re making to what will become the final asset.
“Because we’ve got experience at sculpting in the real world with clay we just go straight in with ZBrush and design it in there. It’s a quicker end result.”
… Legacy Effects re-invented the way Robert Downey Jr’s chrome plated gauntlets were assembled to maximise movement.
Acting within 24 hours of receiving a request from researchers, the National Science Foundation late last week made an emergency allocation of 1 million compute hours on a supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas to study how the oil spreading from BP’s gusher will affect coastlines.
The goal is to produce models that can forecast how the oil may spread in environmentally sensitive areas by showing in detail what happens when oil interacts with marshes, vegetation and currents.
What may be just as important are models that simulate what could happen if a hurricane carried the oil miles inland, said researchers in interviews.
This is the best use of the government’s scientific funds on this horrible disaster yet. Looking forward to images from and analyses of the model runs.
IBM scientists have created the smallest 3D map of the earth – so small that 1,000 maps could fit on a grain of salt. The scientists accomplished this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny, silicon tip with a sharp apex — one million times smaller than an ant — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity. This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and opto-electronics.
Last month, I attended the annual meeting of the ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) in Houston, Texas. This is the conference where oil and gas companies’ GIS professionals learn the latest applications of ArcGIS and geospatial technology to the exploration and production workflow.
It was my first time at ESRI PUG, having worked as a geologist and geophysical interpreter, i.e. the end customer, until 2009. Viewing the world of petroleum data management and analysis from the technology vendor/contractor side is a fresh, challenging flip on the same question all of us in the geo-industry ask: How can we push the limits of data access, analysis, visualization and scientific understanding using tech solutions, in this case GIS? This requires technological innovation, but, most crucially, a strong focus on the customer’s problem and closing the interpretation-GIS gap. This last theme came up over and over again, even if not explicitly stated always, during the three days of the conference.
I’ll put the concept in context as I run down key conference proceedings.
1. Keynote Address given by ESRI’s Clint Brown, Product Director, and Damian Spangrud, ArcGIS Platform Manager. After a few obligatory minutes on the hydrocarbon exploration and production (expro) lifecycle, Brown and Spangrud tag-teamed an hour-long talk and demo of the ArcGIS Explorer operational dashboard. Two items of note: a) Bing Maps as part of basemap library, which means viewing well location in birds’ eye view along with well and company-specific lease information, and b) ESRI in the cloud (I hate that word “cloud” – all we need is more marketing-speak) – more specifically ArcGIS Server on Amazon to use geoprocessing tools directly, presented by Lawrie Sims, ERDAS founder and ESRI’s current director of imagery enterprise solutions.Tom Bell, Shell’s head of GIS services, talked briefly about CAD integration into ArcGIS (more on this later).
… researchers from the University of Missouri have a 3D printer that could one day recreate human organs by using a cocktail made from human cells. If your liver was failing, for instance, cells from your liver could be used to print a healthy one, or cells from your heart could be used to create a new heart, and so on.
Right now, all of that is still a long way off. What has been done, however, is recreate a human vein using “bio-ink,” or the liquid sludge that’s produced using human cells and printed onto “bio-paper.” This paper slowly dissolves as the layers of ink bind and start to take on the shape us humans would recognize.
Anatoly Zenkov offers a tool (download for PC and Mac) that tracks your mouse’s movement across the screen. Turn on the utility, minimize it and go about your business on the computer. After an hour or four, pull up the Mouse Tracker screen to see scratches and splotches, i.e. mouse movement and periods of mouse inactivity, respectively.
Zenkov illustrated the utility’s use in tracking mouse movements in a program, e.g. Photoshop. What tools do you use the most, what repetitive movements do you make, where does your hand rest? I used the utility yesterday (on no program in particular) for a couple of hours and have two “Pollocks,” as Flowing Data refers to them: one for my left hand and the other for my right. Normally right-handed, I now mouse with my left hand to rest my right hand and alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms. The captures show how much less I use my left hand (fewer lines, more rest dots) than my right (lots more lines, fewer rest periods) in any given duration, but get the same amount of work done.
Mouse Tracks After Hour Of Working With Right Hand
Fast Company also features this tool and says, “You could almost use this as an ad-hoc tool for honing your site’s UI, since it allows you to see exactly how people are interacting with their screen.” I mostly disagree with this take because what the tool tracks is mouse movements on pre-made layouts. In other words, my mouse movements in GMail are going to look a certain way because GMail is designed that way, not because I choose to interact with the screen in that manner. What might be useful is assessing where people rest their hands or don’t go at all on the screen.
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