We’re delighted to have been named as finalist in the 2017 MS&T Magazine’s Industry Simulation & Training Awards.
The annual awards recognise leading companies in the global defence training and simulation community.
A major part of what I do is to develop the design tools we use during the early stages of each project process – the ones that help map system design and accurately produce layout data for our customer projects. Occasionally I work on system blending designs too and am increasingly working with the team to gather data for various projector models that we can use in blend analysis.
My involvement in projects usually depends on the scope of the client requirements. On some projects, we play a key part in the design optimisation process of the display system, helping the client to build and specify the optimum configuration. On others, we are contracted to design and supply an optimised blending system where the client has already signed off on projector layout.
I have a degree in Games Art and Design, so not really from the sim or viz industry as I know it now, but I still find there’s a huge amount of overlap and similarity in the worlds of simulation and gaming. I’ve spent a lot of time with CAD software, 3D modelling and programming which has really been put to use here.
Unfortunately, we’re unable to mention the specifics of many projects we work on for obvious reasons. Recently though, I’ve been working on the delivery of a project for a search and rescue helicopter training programme. As a display system, it’s actually pretty complex with 11-channels of projection. I’ve recently developed new design tools that have overseen the entire project for us from initial design process through to completion – the creation of the masks was then handled by our usual in-house team.
We’re always testing the compatibility of projectors which can be a little challenging. If we receive a new enquiry that specifies a model of projector that we haven’t tested before, it’s not simply about pricing something up. It can mean the start of an R&D project where we often have to simulate the client environment by bringing in new screen shapes or material. We need to ensure our performance specification is accurate first time around and have to go the extra mile to achieve this.
I find it really enjoyable to get into the programming side of things, particularly seeing how the tools I develop consistently produce high standard results and streamline the process. Plus, we have a great office in the Sussex countryside, yet I’m still able to live right on the beach in the bustling city that is Brighton.
Our Optical Blending and projector edge blending solutions maximise contrast of simulation displays, and optimise for dark scene applications.
When deep black levels are critical to simulated training environments, GBvi projector edge blending solutions allow you to maintain an even black level across multi-channel displays, enhancing the perception of life-like imagery within projected displays. The result is an absence of any residual light distractions or artefacts that would otherwise be found in digitally blended displays.
Our Chronos optical blending technologies enable display system designers and integrators to overcome the hurdles faced when using digital projectors in dark environments, namely, channel overlap visibility and inferior display system contrast and dynamic range resulting from projector light leakage.
Although I was unable to make it to CES this year, I’ve followed it closely to see what flashy new developments have made their way to the show floor. Dramas aside (such as one stand being raided by US marshals) there were some fascinating technologies on show.
Snazzy gadgets, such as Lenovo phones (no longer using the name Motorola) which will come with Google’s Project Tango made an appearance. Project Tango being a must see for anyone with an eye on augmented reality technology.
Drones and droids made a big appearance in this year’s show, featuring the latest Star Wars droids of course, but also a rather spectacular autonomous shuttle drone by EHang, that can automatically transport a person to a designated location.
There was also Bragi’s wireless earbuds, which appear to be filled with features that set them aside from other audio devices in their capabilities. Well worth a look (or listen)!
And of course, there was a considerable weight of cutting edge display technologies. Perhaps most eye-catching of all the display technologies on show was Panasonic’s transparent displays. Although the technology has existed for some time, it’s fascinating to now see it marketed amongst the consumer electronics community.
As well as a decent range of 4K LCD and OLED displays by Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic, there was also an emphasis on ‘Super UHD’ (Super Ultra High Definition), with LG’s stonking new 98” 8K Super UHD LED TV being one of the highlights. Is this a sign that displays may simply surpass 4K? How long will it be before ‘Mega Super Ultra High Definition’ hits the market?
In December I was lucky enough to get to I/ITSEC and meet once more with many friends in this industry.
I/ITSEC (see iitsec.org), a perennial event that’s always right after Thanksgiving in Orlando, is a conference and exhibition specifically focused on Training & Simulation.
For us at GBvi the main interest is projection displays – projector companies, systems integrators and related technologies.
DLP projectors continue to dominate in dome and high-light-output applications and indeed continue to improve, for example with motion blur performance, wobbulation to increase addressability (a subject for another blog, perhaps…) and ultra-short throw lens options.
A notable trend that many have commented on is the move away from lamp illumination towards solid-state – LED and laser phosphor illumination to be specific. LED illumination has been around a while now and has successfully occupied niche applications in simulation visual systems where the very stable output and low maintenance overhead is of most importance, while the relatively limited light output is enough – particularly in cross-cockpit collimated visual systems.
Laser phosphor projectors extend the benefits to higher-output applications such as domes, as several thousand lumens are now available per unit. So lamps beware – the writing is on the wall!
A notable non-trend, however, is that DLP projectors are stuck with relatively low native sequential contrast (full white to full black). Considering that laser phosphor illumination is likely to substantially reduce lifetime related issues with LCOS projectors – its main weakness – and that LCoS still has the edge with native pixel counts (‘resolution’) and sequential contrast, it seems that competition between these projection technologies is set to continue, at least within the T&S market.
Watch this space…..