An international audience of more than 14,275 attendees from 78 countries enjoyed the 50th edition of the computer graphics conference and its Mobile and Virtual Access component.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Delivers A Triumphant Keynote at Siggraph on Tuesday. “In 2018, we bet the company on AI,” he said. It has paid off handsomely. He introduced several new products and partnerships, some already announced. Most importantly, he introduced GH (aka “Grace Hopper”), a super chip for AI, which Huang described as computing’s “killer app.” The chip is ten times faster, much cheaper, and has lower power requirements. Huang emphasized the democratizing effects of AI. “Everybody can do this,” He said several times.
Other Siggraph Highlights: the new Dreamscape free-roam experience, “Clockwork Forest,” straight from their labs in Geneva. The adventure represents an important technology pivot away from backpack PCs. The new technology is the result of a massive R&D effort from Vicon and Artanim, the Swiss research institute behind Dreamscape’s VR tech platform. The benefits of markerless are tremendous across all motion capture applications, from Hollywood VFX, AAA games, and life sciences and engineering. The technology is still in its prototype stage and is not yet available to market. The experience will be open to the public at Dreamscape’s LA location beginning early-August.
Siggraph’s 50th Anniversary Time Tunnel. An immersive experience, maybe a hundred feet long, showed animated projections on both walls illustrating the milestone developments of the computer graphics industry. ACM, the academic organization which puts on the show, Autodesk and a student team at the University of California, Santa Barbara, created the immersive exhibit.
Mort Heilig’s Sensorama, in all its mechanical glory, was on display. USC’s Scott Fisher told me they’re still restoring the fiberglass and wood hull, which contains a movie projector and the smell-o-vision apparatus. They used a Quest 2 to demonstrate the films, which Heilig made by lashing two movie cameras together to create the stereographic effect. The smellovision was delivered by the attendant.
In addition to restoring the Sens-o-rama cabinet, Heilig’s six janky films have to be restored. The two I saw consisted of a dizzying handheld frolic with a beautiful girl on the California coast and a 60 mph motorcycle ride through 1956 New York. Heilig was selling the immersive movie theater for $6,000 ($67,000 today). At $.25 per play, a Sens-o-rama cabinet would need to generate 24,000 plays to break even. Does the machine below look like it’s capable of running a one-minute film 24,000 times, or even 100 times? Insanely impractical, the Sensorama is an idea whose time still hasn’t come.
Also featured were the famous Ivan Sutherland 1968 demo recreating his lab and first VR experiences. Again it is recreated in VR on the Quest. As you can imagine, it was very short and crude.
Siggraph 2024 will be in Denver July 28th through August 1st , 2024.