Net lets hand-helds view 3D data

May 5/12, 2004

Researchers from Torino Polytechnic in Italy have developed a distributed processing scheme that allows users to find and display complex three-dimensional models on hand-held computers.

The scheme offloads the compute-heavy modeling and graphics processing required by three-dimensional models to specialized network graphics servers. This type of processing is far beyond the relatively low compute power of mobile devices like hand-held computers.

The system could make it more practical to remotely display high-quality complex three-dimensional models like medical images and computer-aided design models. The scheme can also be used in collaborative work to allow several people to share the same model remotely, according to the researchers.

The researchers' scheme works within a highly structured network that manages both searching for a model and rendering the three-dimensional image. Any client device with Web access can use the system, which consists of gateway nodes that communicate with the hand-held computers; broker nodes that coordinate queries, data and rendering; and provider nodes that handle the graphics processing. The scheme is based on the JXTA peer-to-peer architecture.

The researchers are working to improve the system by changing the flow of data from static images to an MPEG stream, which allows for more interactivity, higher frame rates, and larger pictures.

A practical system could be developed immediately, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the February 7, 2004 issue of the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

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