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NVISION 08: Day 1
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by Rob Williams on August 25, 2008 in NVISION

Day one at NVISION kicked off and kept us busy from first thing in the morning until the late into the evening. Though nothing new was announced, we did manage to check out a few interesting sights, such as Jen-Hsun’s keynote, exhibitor booths and more.

Introduction, Jen-Hsun Huang Keynote

Day one at NVISION ended off on a good foot. The show began off slow, but by the end of the day, many gamers were at their PCs doing what they do best and all of the editors headed back to their respective hotels to get some sleep. The event is a wee bit smaller than I personally expected it to be, but there’s still been a great turnout, not only from developers and industry members, but gamers as well.

The focal point of the day was Jen-Hsun Huang’s opening (two-hour!) keynote. All throughout, the general idea he was trying to pass off was that visual computing is here, it has been here, and it will always be here. The results of visual computing is all around us, from the cars we drive to the scans at the doctor to the movies we watch to everything else.

Throughout the entire keynote, Jen-Hsun brought on many industry people to show off what they’ve been working on in way of visual computing, and some of it wasn’t simply impressive, but draw-dropping. For those with geek fantasies left unfulfilled, he also brought out Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica fame to make the entire two hours of sitting down feel worthwhile.

Most of this brief article will be imagery, since nothing new was announced, and nothing truly incredible became noteworthy. Much of what was truly impressive cannot be represented properly in text here… it really does have to be seen to believe, such as an incredible touchscreen that became the first touchscreen to actually impress me.

One reason certain enthusiasts love NVIDIA is because of their incredible Folding@home performance, and Jen-Hsun made sure people knew it. He compared the fact that over 2.6 million PCs are being used to generate 288 TFLOPS worth of computational power, whereas 24K GPUs are generating over 1.4 TFLOPS. It begins to make you wonder why the PCs are running at all, since anyone with a GeForce GPU could easily achieve far more reasonable results.

Perhaps another staggering statistic is that 1 out of 7 people are expected to participate in some sort of MMOG by the year 2015.

Although there were plenty of demos on stage, there were only a few that really impressed me. One was Photosynth, while the other was the touchscreen mentioned earlier. Photosynth is an application that gathers a collection of your photos (taken around the same location) that pieces them together in such a way that you can experience them in a 3D fashion.

You can see in the images below that the edges are fuzzy and transparent, and that’s because it’s piecing all of the images together, and this one really has to be seen to be appreciated. The demo host hovered around the scene as if it was 3D, even though it was comprised of just flat images.

Also impressive might be a mode that turns all of the images into small balls, which results in an environment similar to a wireframe. But, this is much, much cooler. Once the images are transformed into this, the scene can again be traversed through… and this is all done through images. Really incredible stuff here.

As for the touchscreen, this simply has to be seen. Never before have I seen a touch surface so accurate to the touch and instantly responsive. Menus would raise instantly, the applications would respond as you’d expect, but it goes much further. If you have an application open, you can throw applications across the screen, rotate them, get a colleague in on the action… the options are likely limitless.

Another cool example given was a search for Jen-Husn on a search engine, with an image then downloaded. The demo host drew around Jen-Hsun with his pen and essentially cropped the image. He then drew certain points around the new image and animated him, which was both hilarious and impressive. What impressed me most was how simple it was to pull off… it looked to take no effort whatsoever, and was quick in the process.

Oh, and don’t forget Tricia Helfer. She’s tall, gorgeous and was really oddly-placed at a conference like this. But hey, it certainly drew a crowd!

On the next page, I’ll just toss around a whack of photos of around the show floor, in no particular order. As I mentioned before, nothing new was launched (that I’m aware of) and everything seen from the vendors already seen before. We might learn a lot more at Day 2. We just need to wait and see…

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Page List:
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1. Introduction, Jen-Hsun Huang Keynote
2. Misc. Images from the Show


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