eMagin's award-winning Z800 3DVisor tapped for Virtually Better's stress-treatment applications

Bellevue 22 November 2005eMagin Corporation, an expert in virtual imaging technology, has been selected to provide the imaging device for Virtually Better's custom Virtual Iraq environment. eMagin's Z800 3DVisor is the world's first combination of high resolution OLED-based stereovision, advanced 360 degree headtracker and stereo sound for a 3D experience that puts viewers inside games or movies. With funding from the Naval Research Office, Virtually Better designed "Virtual Iraq" to support exposure therapy of anxiety disorders resulting from the high-stress environment. The treatment involves exposing the patient to a virtual environment containing the feared situation rather than taking the patient into the actual environment or having the patient imagine the stimulus.

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The virtual environment is controlled by the therapist through a computer keyboard ensuring full control of the exposure to the programmed situations. Virtual reality exposure treatment allows the therapist to manipulate situations to best suit the individual patient during a standard therapy hour - usually 45-50 minutes - and within the confines of the therapist's office.

Virtually Better chose to include eMagin's Z800 3DVisor as the medium for delivering the VR exposure. "It delivered the level of immersion we needed for successful treatments", stated Ken Graaf, chief executive officer, Virtually Better. "The combination of the OLED displays delivering 3D stereovision and the wide field of view were a natural fit for the simulations we have been developing." Besides "Virtual Iraq", Virtually Better applications currently include Virtual Airplane, Virtual Audiences, Virtual Heights, Virtual Storm, and Virtual Vietnam.

Founded in 1996, Virtually Better creates virtual reality environments for use in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of public speaking as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the Virtually Better has on-site clinic staffed by a team of licensed clinical psychologists devoted to using cognitive-behavioural techniques, including virtual reality exposure therapy, to treat various disorders in both adults and children.

Virtually Better grew from the collaborative research of Barbara O. Rothbaum, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Psychiatry, and Director of Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Programme at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, and Larry F. Hodges, Ph.D., formerly with the Georgia Institute of Technology, and now Professor and Chair, Department of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The company has continued collaboration with major research universities is allowing Virtually Better to expand its growth into other areas such as speech pathology, addiction, pain distraction, and other immersive environments.

According to Susan Jones, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, eMagin Corporation, "What Virtually Better has achieved in exposure therapy is proving repeatedly to be highly effective and remarkably far-reaching in utility for treatment of phobias and anxieties."

Built on the eMagin's proven OLED technology base, the Z800 3DVisor provides full-colour, 360-degree, 3D stereovision through its state-of-the-art head tracking and SVGA 3D OLED microdisplays. With stereo earbuds and a noise-canceling microphone, the Visor enables group training scenarios as well as individual-based training and therapy sessions.

Virtual Imaging went mainstream when eMagin Corporation's Z800 3DVisor was honoured as the Best of Innovations in the Digital Displays Category. The product also won Design and Engineering Innovation Honours in the Electronic Gaming category.

We are honoured to receive both of these prestigious awards for our Z800 3DVisor. In particular, the award in the Digital Displays category validates both the Z800 3DVisor and the emerging role of virtual displays in the consumer market", stated Susan Jones. "While virtual reality was a concept ten years ago, it has taken a number of advances to deliver a convincing virtual image today."

The award was officially announced in New York City at the 2006 International CES Press Preview. The "Best of Innovations" is awarded to the product in each category that receives the highest level of points as judged by a pre-eminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade press based on user value, aesthetics, contributions to quality of life, and innovative design and qualities.

eMagin's Z800 3DVisor tied with LG Electronics 50-inch Wireless Plasma Display to take top honours in the competitive Digital Display category. The Best of Innovations honorees will be part of a special display at International CES, January 5-8, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada in the Las Vegas Convention Center Grand Lobby and will be featured at CES Unveiled, the Official Press Event of CES on January 3, 2006, in the Bellini Ballroom at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. Best of Innovations and Design and Engineering Showcase honorees products will also be featured in the Innovations Plus area of the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

The Z800 3DVisor delivers a high-colour, high-contrast virtual image equivalent to a 105-inch screen viewed at twelve feet, in full-colour stereovision. The Z800 3DVisor's high-speed head tracking enables 360-degree viewing. Completing this experience is an integrated, audio system with high-fidelity ear buds and a built-in, noise-canceling microphone. To power all these capabilities, the 3DVisor requires only a standard USB port and can greatly extend a laptop's battery life when it's used instead of the standard LCD.

Based on eMagin's organic light-emitting diode (OLED) microdisplays and patented optics, the Z800 3DVisor is eMagin's first product sold directly to consumers. The company supplies its OLED microdisplays, optics, and near-eye viewing modules, as well as customizable systems, to OEM and ODM manufacturers. eMagin displays have proven to be low-power, rugged, near-eye displays in industrial, military, and medical environments for applications ranging from 3D simulation to thermal imaging to augmented reality.

At the heart of the Z800 3DVisor, eMagin's active matrix OLED microdisplays deliver high speed, high-resolution (800 x 3 x 600), high-colour imagery for near-eye applications. Because OLED materials emit light, the displays are thinner and lighter than conventional LCDs, and they require less power, permitting this product to be created without a need for added battery packs or power adapters. OLED microdisplays offer higher contrast and a wider dispersion of light, making them more comfortable to view and usable for near-eye applications. eMagin's 3D OLED microdisplays recognize and deliver left-eye and right-eye stereovision signals with unsurpassed efficiency. Colour pixel data is buffered under each pixel site, eliminating flicker and smear.

An expert in OLED microdisplay and virtual imaging technologies, eMagin integrates high-resolution OLED microdisplays, magnifying optics, and systems technologies to create a virtual image that appears comparable to that of a computer monitor or a large-screen television. eMagin's OLED displays have broad market reach and are incorporated into a variety of near-to-eye imaging products by military, industrial, medical and consumer OEMs who choose eMagin's award-winning technology as a core component for their solutions.

eMagin has recently introduced its first direct-to-consumer system, the Z800 3DVisor, which provides superb 3D stereovision and headtracking for PC gaming, training and simulation, and business applications. eMagin's microdisplay manufacturing and R&D operations are co-located with IBM on its campus in East Fishkill, New York. System design facilities and sales and marketing are located in Bellevue, Washington. A sales office is located in Tokyo, Japan. More company news can be found in the VMW October 2003 article eMagin supplies OLED displays as 3D imaging source for VRmagic surgical training simulator.


Leslie Versweyveld

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