The VersaBench and the Immersive WorkBench, the well known family of virtual model display (VMD) systems, designed by the Fakespace company, recently were expanded with a versatile and transportable baby brother. The Mini WorkBench serves indeed as a foldable VMD version for qualitative stereoscopic viewing and efficient manipulation of dimensionally accurate 3D visualizations. In addition, the model also supports direct 2D design input in real time by means of an on-screen digitizing tablet and a direct input pen. The interactive tool provides the scientific and industrial user with bright 3D images of an excellent sharpness.
The new VMD has been equipped with a practical footprint which makes it very suitable to be used in an office environment. The device can be easily folded whether for storage purposes or for transport to exhibitions. The Mini WorkBench has the familiar appearance of the two other Fakespace VMDs, since it also consists of an adjustable, rear-projected viewing plane in the style of a drafting table. The computer-created 3D models can be viewed as well as manipulated in real time and seem to be actually present in space through the stereoscopic shutter glasses, worn by the user.
The VMD tool offers the customer a large and crisp view of product designs, scientific visualizations and complex medical 3D images, given the fact that the display measures no less than 44 inches diagonally. The screen can be adjusted from a nearly horizontal position to 60 degrees upward, allowing the user to sit or stand while he is viewing and manipulating the 3D images. The system is mounted on wheels and occupies a very modest space of only W2,5xL4xH5 feet when folded down. The footprint has a dimension of 4 feet by five.
The device will appear on the market in three different configurations. The basic model is used for stereoscopic viewing only. This CRT-based tool will be sold at $56,995 with a pair of StereoGraphics CrystalEyes active shutter glasses included. The second model is the most versatile because it offers hands-on interactivity in order to bring 3D data to life. With the additional on-display digitizing tablet and direct input pen, the tool is suitable for direct 2D design input. The cost for this type of combination amounts to $68,995. The third model is based on LCD projection technology for 2D design input only and will be priced at $64,995.
The first two models for 3D imaging are provided with Electrohome Marquee 8500 CRT projectors which generate 225 ANSI Lumens and achieve a 1280 x 1024 pixel per inch resolution. The LCD-based 2D system also is capable of supporting the same high quality resolution. For 2D input, a cordless, RF-based stylus with two programmable buttons and pressure sensitivity has been included. Additionally, the Fakespace company offers a wide variety of optional peripherals, such as tracking or navigation devices and the PINCH gloves hand gesture interface systems.
The Mini WorkBench is able to handle all kinds of visual simulations and design data created by a very broad range of computer workstations and visualization platforms running Unix or Windows NT operating systems and applications. As such, the tool is able to meet the large spectrum of end-user requirements for high resolution immersive display technology. You can find more news on Fakespace in the VMW article New PUSH 640 Display to deliver affordable 3D immersion at your desktop in the November 1998 issue.