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3D display aids drug discovery

17 Jun 2002

A new volumetric display technology will help scientists in biotechnology and drug design.

US-based Actuality Systems, has developed a three-dimensional display technology that it claims gives the highest-ever resolution in volumetric imagery. The first beta customer to use this spherical display unit will be fellow US company Structural GenomiX (SGX) which specializes in experimental and computational biology.

Named Helios, the display globe is 20 inches in diameter and allows multiple users to move around the device to visualize color images at any angle.

Actuality's display transforms the three-dimensional data into a format that is similar to thin slices of an apple around its core. A high-speed digital projector then shines these slices onto the screen. The image can be placed at any location, giving it true three-dimensional coordinates.

The display has a resolution of 100 million volume pixels or "voxels". Instead of flat square pixels, voxels also have depth. The complete volumetric nature of the display means no special goggles are required to visualize the image.

SGX specializes in studying protein structure to alter the way drugs and compounds are discovered. Genomic information is transformed into so-called "structural templates" that are used for drug discovery. Actuality Systems founder Gregg Favalora said: "The range of possible uses for drug design and biotechnology is so varied that it makes this the perfect industry to begin our beta testing with real-life applications."

Actuality will name other beta customers in the coming months and plans to have the first commercial units ready for shipment by the end of 2002.

IDS Imaging Development SystemsABTechECOPTIKSchaefter und Kirchhoff GmbHCeNing Optics Co LtdMad City Labs, Inc.Alluxa
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