...TO KICKING TIRES ON A CONVERTIBLE
ANOTHER USEFUL WEB TRICK SPEEDS UP THE DELIVERY of 3-D pictures. OLiVR Corp. in Lexington, Mass., has come up with a way to interact with photo-quality images of 3-D objects within a Web page. A car company might use the scheme to let people inspect its new convertible from any angle, in different colors, or with the top up instead of down. They could even zoom in for a close-up.
The challenge is how to do that without too long a wait. Nowadays, if you download a simple 15-second video clip through a 28.8 kbps modem, you wait 10 minutes before seeing anything. But OLiVR's approach, based on ``progressive rendering,'' gets an image to show up in a few seconds. It's fairly rough at first, but the subject is recognizable. And things quickly improve as more data streams in off the Web to fill in the details. Best of all, you don't have to wait for the complete image to arrive to start rotating and interacting with it. Even as you change the point of view or ask for red, not blue, the image steadily improves with more data.
OLiVR is giving away its PC viewer software, a ``plug-in'' for Netscape Communications Inc.'s Navigator 2.0 Web browser, at www.olivr.com. Software for producing and delivering OLiVR images will go for $495 and $2,500, respectively, when out late this year.
EDITED BY JOHN W. VERITY
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.