Issue: Volume: 23 Issue: 3 (March 2000)


Win Body healing, tolerant edge functionality, new solids features, and more data translators highlight CADKey 99 from Cadkey Corp. This version polishes off its high-end solid-modeling capabilities with an ample addition of enhancements, including wireframe, solid and sheet-metal bending, a visual feedback tool for modeling, and easier ways to create complex models. The data-translation lineup offers a high-speed, one-pass IGES translator and a Parasolid file translator for XT files. Users who have a current annual update contract get a bonus CD that contains CADInSite, a multimedia training tool from Distance Engineering, and Merlin VR real-time 3D graphics creation software from Digital Immersion Software Corp. The price is $1995. (Marlborough, MA; 508-229-2020;

Win Cat/Falancs from LMS International runs within Catia to help a designer predict the critical life locations and time-to-fatigue of a component subject to real-life loads. Users can recall complete parameter sets created by durability specialists, launch a fatigue analysis, then visualize the stresses, strains, and resulting damage contours.

This way, designs can be checked for flawed concepts early on in the development cycle. Expert users will benefit from the sophisticated analysis features and the speed of the process from CAD model to final analysis. (Leuven, Belgium; +32 16 384 200;

Win Detect and repair geometry and topology imperfections in CAD models using CADfix 3.0 from International TechneGroup. This software contains a number of significant enhancements, including import and export for native CADDS, STEP (AP203 & AP214), ACIS version 5.0, and Parasolid files. In addition to standard and I-deas flavored IGES export, this product can output IGES files flavored specifically for Pro/Engineer and Catia. A new geometry editor tool enables users to create entities that might be missing from the source CAD data file. Another new capability lets users remove points from a NURBS edge or surface. (Milford, OH; 513-576-3900;

Win Opto-mechanical 3D solid-modeling software TracePro 2.0.4 from Lambda Research includes bulk scattering for biomedical applications, updated luminaire design and analysis, a tracing tool for arbitrary bitmap images, and a more powerful user interface. New features for medical equipment applications include the ray tracing of volume scatter in human tissue, and of general bulk scatter through any volume. The CAD user interface makes the product compatible with more than 200 CAD-based programs, including AutoCAD and Mechanical Desktop. (Littleton, MA; 978-486-0766;

Modeling & Animation

Win Credo Interactive is offering Active Avatars for 3D animation on the Web. Actions supplied with the avatars include sit, spin, flip, cheer, shrug, and more. The collection is available in a variety of file formats that provide functionality from simple drag and drop to full editing. Pricing starts at $99 and includes all 12 models in the collection. (Vancouver, BC; 604-291-6717;

Win/Mac/Unix Designed for use in simulators and virtual environments, 3D-BIRD from Ascension Technology measures orientation angles without range limitations or line-of-sight restrictions. The product's tracking technology makes 160 measurements per second and outputs orientation angles (yaw, pitch, and roll) to a host computer. For head-mount applications, users can move up, down, and sideways, as well as rotate their heads without jitter, drift, or lag. This "sourceless" tracker has no magnetic, optical, or acoustic transmitter, thereby allowing unlimited range and virtually no metallic interference. (Burlington, VT; 802-893-6657;

Win/Mac An Adobe Photoshop compatible plug-in series from Meta Creations, KPT 6 provides graphic designers, digital artists, and Web content developers with tools for enhancing digital content. The product features eight plug-ins that share a consistent interface, with standardized workflow and behavior. Other features include precise numerical controls, large previews, real-time performance, robust libraries, and easy image-effect reproducibility. The plug-ins include KPT Materializer, KPT Equalizer, KPT Gel, KPT LensFlare, KPT Turbulence, KPT Reaction, KPT Projector, and KPT Goo. KPT SceneBuilder and KPT SkyEffects are two bonus filters that come with the product. The price is $199.95. (Carpinteria, CA; 805-566-6237;

Unix New animation and graph editors in Avid Media Illusion version 6.0 replace previous curves with more flexible Bezier curves for editing effect and composite parameters. Node cloning provides the ability to create multiple clones of a single process node, allowing changes made to a particular parameter or an entire process of any one node to be automatically updated to all the associated clones. Improved tracking offers the ability to edit tracking data as graph curves and to track an image based on its alpha channel, as well as improved error tracking and correction, plus occlusion support and a magnifier on the track tool. The company announced that it will cease to develop both Media Illusion and the Matador paint application but will continue to sell, support, and maintain them. (Tewksbury, MA; 978-640-6789;

Scientific Visualization

Win/Mac/VMS/Unix The image processing improvements in IDL Version 5.3 from Research Systems are designed to increase the product's capabilities in quantitative image analyses, such as those needed to analyze images from medical scanning technologies, satellite data, machine vision systems, microscopes, and telescopes. The more than 30 new and improved analysis routines deliver a robust set of polygon mesh routines and mesh utilities for increased performance with large 3D data sets. This version supports GZIP file compression/decompression. For those who use IDL to write their own applications, this version includes IDL Projects, which enables developers to organize and access IDL source code, IDL GUIBuilder files, bitmaps, data, and other files. (Boulder, CO; 303-786-9900;


Win The Erazor X graphics accelerator and the Erazor X(2) with Double Data Rate (DDR) memory from Elsa utilize the GeForce 256 graphics processing unit from Nvidia with four parallel rendering pipelines to reduce the processing load on the computer's CPU and provide fast on-screen imagery. Both come with an overclocking tool that automatically protects hardware from damage that can be caused by the demands of hard-core gaming. The Erazor X costs $269. (Santa Clara, CA; 800-272-ELSA;


Win/Unix Designed for easy transport and fast deployment in the field, the ImmersaDesk H3 from Fakespace Systems is a fixed horizontal display system. The H3 is designed in two modular units that break down into separate, self-contained, wheeled shipping cases. When viewed through shutter glasses, computer-generated models and simulations displayed on or above the 76-inch diagonal diffusion screen appear to have a real presence in space. Five pairs of StereoGraphics CrystalEyes shutter glasses and a six-degrees-of-freedom virtual wand are included. Optional head tracking and Pinch gloves for hands-on interactivity are available. Pricing starts at $125,000. (Kitchener, Ontario; 519-749-3339;

Win/Mac The patented CRT in the Diamond Pro 2040u monitor enhances the performance of the S-NX DBF electron gun for the uni-pitch aperture grille, including reduced spot size from center to corner for superior screen focus uniformity. The 22-inch screen allows for high dot count and provides a maximum resolution of 2048x1536, as the full 20-inch DVI allows for more surface phosphor. FlatOn instant convergence technology provides instantly stabilized images. The unit has a 30-121kHz horizontal scanning range and a 240MHz video clock frequency. On-screen controls allow for the manipulation of more than 20 settings. The price of the monitor is $1349. (Cy press, CA; 714-220-2500;

Win From Elsa come 3D Revelator stereo shutter glasses, which add depth to viewing and offer expanded capability for enhancing PC game realism. The glasses optimize the Transform and Lighting functionality of the Elsa Erazor X graphics accelerator. The sunglasses-like product is lightweight, fully adjustable, and features the latest LCD stereo-control technology. The product boasts a resolution of 1280x1024 pixels and 16-bit or 32-bit color depth. Cable-tethered ($69) or wireless infrared ($99) versions are offered. (Santa Clara, CA; 800-272-ELSA;

Win/Mac MGC Technologies' 3D Monitor Series is a line of 17-inch CRT color monitors that allows users to view the screen stereoscopically. According to the company, the units can give animated characters the appearance of jumping in and out of the viewing area. The price is not available. (City of Industry, CA; 877-428-9642;