Integrated High-Performance Remote Visualization Capability
SBIR FY03.2 Topic A03-222
Department of Defense (DoD)/ARMY - Tank Automotive RD&E Center (TARDEC)
The entire solicitation may be viewed at http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir/solicitations/sbir032/index.htm
A03-222 TITLE: Integrated High-Performance Remote Visualization Capability
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems, Ground/Sea Vehicles
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM Brigade Combat Team (BCT)
OBJECTIVE: Development of high-end remote transmission techniques to handle video, keyboard/mouse, serial, and audio signals for use in a centralized graphics-based supercomputer to run a multi-projector fully-immersive 3D stereo display device in real time at a remote location.
DESCRIPTION: The concept of "remote visualization" is highly sought after for several reasons, such as to leverage computing resources at remote locations and promote project collaboration, ultimately leading to cost savings and consolidated resources. Although "remote visualization" has several meanings, the approach pursued here is to use a centralized, non-Windows based, high end graphics-based supercomputer to run a multi-projector fully-immersive display device in real time at a remote location. The distance between these locations can be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. This initiative would seek to develop and implement a real-time signal transmission capability to include: 3D stereo video refresh rates at 96 Hz using a stereo sync signal, multiple serial communication streams (to allow wand, haptic, and tracking systems to communicate with the remote computer), and to address how multi-channel surround sound audio signals could be transmitted. Because this transition capability will be an extension to remote sites, a means for controlling these signals must be investigated that allows its incorporation into any current local computing environment.
A scalable technique that can provide a large number of possible input and output ports (such as "128x128" or "256x256") for signal management should be considered. Such a technique must support keyboard/mouse (PS/2 or USB), video (13W3 or HD15), serial (DB9), and audio (RCA) connections. Further, it should have secure communications and be highly programmable. Settings, macros, defaults, etc, should be easily configurable and be based on a standard communications protocol (i.e., RS232) that will allow it to be controlled through independent, outside front-end interfaces including custom-written scripts issued by remote computers, web interfaces, or programmable wireless remote control devices.
PHASE I: The contractor shall research, design, and propose the necessary hardware architectures and techniques to transmit, receive, and manage all the signals described above. A process for acquiring and implementing a high-bandwidth link using commercially-available telecom service as well as the DoD's "Defense Research Engineering Network" (DREN)-available access points should be investigated. Design of a robust graphical user interface to control the management of the signals is necessary.
PHASE II: The contractor shall develop and implement the techniques, hardware, and any related software designed in Phase I. Tests and performance benchmarks should be conducted to demonstrate robustness using various video formats through a variety of visualization applications. Implementation and configuration of a graphical user interface is to occur.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The technology to be developed through this research is currently sought after by organizations in government, academia, and industry that use such high-end computing resources and graphical display devices. For potential commercial applications, further research and development of the techniques and hardware explored here are necessary to offer a reduced bandwidth version using compression techniques. Its use will immediately benefit the Future Combat System (FCS) mission.
The Army stands to benefit from such an initiative in many ways including the advancement of our collaborative efforts using virtual immersive environments, having TACOM-TARDEC continuing as the proponent DoD activity to use and advance such technology, and the potential for expanding the Army's customer and project base by offering such high-end graphics technologies to locations not as familiar with them throughout industry, academia, and TACOM-TARDEC business partners.
1) Society of Automotive Engineers paper #2003-01-0217, titled "A Super Visualization Environment - Technology Enabling Army Transformation".
2) Lightwave/Lantronics : http://www.lantronix.com
3) Teraburst : http://www.teraburst.com/news/pr_100802_sgi.html
4) Blackbox : <http://www.blackbox.com>
KEYWORDS: remote visualization, Advanced Collaborative Environments, Teraburst, Lightwave, signal switching, video transmission, virtual reality
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July 1, 2003: DoD begins accepting proposals
August 14, 2003: Deadline for receipt of proposals by 6:00 a.m. EST.