Virtual Reality (Archive 1995-1998)

VR Evangelism

The Grand Vision as of 1995

Introducing 3D

Print Media

The Story that Started it
All "Virtual Reality - Virtually Here"

Real-time 3D Tools & Accelerators

CyberSpaceShip Adventures

Exploring the Multimedium

Maximum Impact

Future Pavilion Visions



3D Interfaces

Computing Fabrics & 3D





Exploring the Multimedium:
Where Multimedia meets VR

We blew their doors off at COMDEX/Spring '95 with our conference session Exploring the Multimedium: Where Multimedia meets Virtual Reality.

We presented the products of 64 vendors on a 40-foot panorama of 5 screens, pumped-up with thousands of watts of surround-sound, theatrical lighting, fog, strobes, and virtual worlds navigated by 9 costumed vendor executives.

We essentially followed the same pattern as in our PC Mag story. First we delivered a briefing. Using VR we defined for the audience what VR is, what it isn't, and it's dimensions of interactivity and interface - all experientially. Next, we explored Virtual VR. Then came the experiment.

What do you get when you cross contemporary computing - Windows, Multimedia, the Web - with Virtual Reality? We found example after example where real-time, interactive 3D made existing applications easier to use and introduced powerful, undreamt of applications - in areas such as presentation, training, engineering, and communication.

In short, the experiment was a complete success - we discovered the next revolution in personal computing.

CyberSpaceShip Adventures

Presented at COMDEX/Spring 1995



"This one session was worth the entire price of the conference program!"
- frequently from attendees

"You are masters at combining education with entertainment. I confess, I learned a ton of new stuff listening to you and the team."
Robin Raskin, Editor of PC MAGAZINE

" and your sponsors gave us the most interesting, dynamic, and just plain exciting session we have ever produced."
Jim Lucas, Director of Conference Development, SOFTBANK COMDEX
"You are the ultimate VR and New Media prophets."
Bobby Orbach, President, Orbach Inc.
"I think you are doing something big and wonderful."
Robin Raskin, Editor, PC MAGAZINE

Comdex Guidebook Description

Is the world of multimedia computing flat and two dimensional? Come join the Infomaniacs and Epranian for a ground breaking experiment to test their latest hypothesis: that the world of multimedia is curved, reaching into the 3rd dimension. Exploring VR for PC Magazine they found the promise of multimedia inside virtual worlds. Has the industry delivered yet? To find out they will construct a working lab with the fastest graphics accelerators, parallel processing machines, windows-based virtual world creation tools, and exciting navigation and viewing devices. Upon entering, you'll be briefed: what virtual reality is, what it isn't, its varieties, and its dimensions. Then this outrageously entertaining trio will take you on a raucous journey through many virtual worlds evaluating graphics, sound, animation, and video. Using multiple projectors and special F/X they will guide you through the Multimedium: where multimedia meets VR. So don your 3D glasses and join the adventure.

The Call to Adventure - As presented in the Comdex Show Preview

Infomaniacs: Exploring the Multimedium Video Cover

where Multimedia meets Virtual Reality

by Linda and Erick Von Schweber

Date: Wednesday, April 26, 1995

Time: 3:45-5:00

Don your 3D glasses and join the adventure. Virtual Reality is now real on today's PCs. VR is the future of computing - the next dimension beyond multimedia and the graphical user interface. And it will be experienced at an exciting conference session - Exploring the Multimedium: where Multimedia meets Virtual Reality.

This is no ordinary conference. Attendees will actually be able to see and experience VR in a lab-like setting. Just back from authoring PC Magazine's first ever spread on Virtual Reality, the session leaders will take you on an exploration of the edge of PC technology, using the newest hardware, software, and presentation techniques. An experience in interactive edutainment, this event will provide both a good time and real information as you discover hard facts, experience products, and start making sense of it all.

Virtual Reality used to be the province of programmers armed with expensive workstations. Not any more. Two important trends have come together to transform the landscape. VR authoring packages have advanced to the stage where an end-user can create their own worlds point-and-click style - no programming required. And hardware has progressed as well, with single and dual pentium machines and affordable 3D graphics accelerators, bringing SGI-(Silicon Graphics Inc.) level performance to PCs. Now end users can create interactive 3D worlds where they were previously limited to 2D multimedia. And those with programming skills can develop in the same VR toolkits used on SGI machines, now in Windows, add a mind-blowing six Pentium machine with ultra performance graphics acceleration and rival yesterday's top of the line workstations.

In the lab, attendees will explore VR world creation software operating in Windows and Windows NT. They will learn how products compare, how they differ, experience hardware/software combinations that make sense, and view applications important to the business user.

They'll see end user products from Virtus, VREAM and Sense8, and a real-time version of TrueSpace from Caligari. The newest Windows NT ports of SGI's Open Inventor and the workhorse C++ toolkits of VR: WorldToolKit from Sense8 and Autodesk's CyberSpace Developer Kit.

The lab also will be equipped with a wide spectrum of hardware. Pentium laptops and portables. Desktops from H-P. Intergraph's dual-Pentium TD-5 with GLI graphics. Affordable graphics accelerators from Matrox, Evans and Sutherland, and others. The highly specialized interface peripherals of VR: 3D pointing and tracking devices and 3D stereoscopic displays and projection.

Will moving to VR mean giving up the multimedia elements users have grown accustomed to like sound, video and animation? And what will be the role of 2D Windows applications in a 3D world? Attendees will participate in an experiment to test a new hypothesis: that at the juncture of multimedia and VR, there is a new world, a realm where sounds embrace the user, where videos become integral parts of the 3D environment, and where users can freely walk around 3D animations and interact with them! A new world where 3D objects link to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, where virtual documents launch Microsoft Word, and where spinning a globe connects you to the World Wide Web.

COMDEX conference attendees will have an unequalled opportunity to explore these new vistas and experience the exciting reality of the Multimedium: where Multimedia meets VR.

The session leaders are experienced explorers of emerging technologies. Linda and Erick Von Schweber, principles of Infomaniacs, a think-tank based in cyberspace, are researching quantum computing and exploring virtual reality as a new computing paradigm. Brad Epranian, President of GRAY Productions of San Francisco, constructs and merges 3D graphics, animation, virtual reality, multimedia, virtual puppetry and motion capture for films and music videos.



Thanks to these 3D and web pioneers, sponsors of the Infomaniacs' COMDEX/Spring '95 show.

  • 3D Artist
  • 3D Labs
  • Accuris
  • Adobe
  • Advanced Visual Systems (AVS)
  • Apple Computer
  • Ascension Technology
  • Autodesk
  • Caligari
  • Creative Labs
  • Doceo Publishing
  • Dolch Computer
  • DreamScape Productions
  • Electrohome
  • Evans & Sutherland
  • G2 Design Works
  • GRAY Productions
  • Handykey
  • Hewlett Packard
  • HSC Software
  • IBM
  • Infogrip
  • Intel
  • Intergraph
  • Interlink
  • InterMetro Industries
  • Interplay
  • Logitech
  • Matrox
  • Microsoft
  • Narada Media
  • Netscape
  • Noumenon Labs
  • Omnicomp
  • PC Magazine Labs
  • PC Video Conversion
  • Polhemus
  • Quercus Systems
  • Rosco Laboratories
  • Sense8
  • Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI)
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Spacetec IMC
  • Spy Glass
  • Stereographics
  • Strata
  • Template Graphics Software (TGS)
  • Toshiba
  • TPR Enterprises
  • Turtle Beach
  • Twelve Tone Systems
  • UB Networks
  • US Robotics
  • Vader Consulting
  • Viewpoint DataLabs
  • Virtual I/O
  • Virtual Reality Labs
  • Virtus Corporation
  • Visual Software
  • Warp



By Linda Von Schweber
& Erick Von Schweber

Copyright 1996-2004 by Infomaniacs. All Rights Reserved.
Updated January 25, 2002