Monday, February 05, 2007

Technology Entropy in 3D Visualisation

Not long ago visualisation was the preserve of cutting edge aerospace research. In the last decade, it was still the preserve of high end workstations from organisations like Silicon Graphics. Those folks are still leading the pack, but now fairly ubiquitous PCs and Macs can be used with the right software to create stunningly rendered environments. Still, I was amazed to see recently that 3D visualisation has moved into the realm of the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader. The 3D images need to be created from a CAD package with the $995 Adobe Acrobat 3D product, but then anyone with Reader can view and manipulate the image. Sounds dull huh? Just try it...

Have a look at this jet engine data sheet. Zoom in on the engine in the top right corner of the sheet and then use the special toolbar to pan, zoom and rotate. Also, try the tabs on the left hand side to add or remove components and assemblies.

Absolutely amazing. Just remember this is a free viewing tool.

There is a warning message here for other specialist technology companies. You need to keep innovating to stay in business. You can't hold back the knowledge from progressing into the main stream- I call it 'technology entropy'. We're seeing the same in healthcare with Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) which are used to store and distribute complex and large MR and CT images. We are moving from this being the exclusive domain of heavy iron manufacturers into being wrapped up in terrabyte drives, browser applets and broadband connections.

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