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Interactive Immersive Theater Opens at Tech Museum June 5

Press Release Date 
Wednesday, 21 May, 2003
From June 5 through July 6, 2003 only, The Tech Museum of Innovation will debut its first-ever Virtual Reality Experience. Visiting guests will experience and interact with the world's scientific discoveries using the same SGI technology that leading researchers depend on for ground-breaking discoveries in medicine, archeology, cosmology, defense, and manufacturing. This immersive theater is designed and integrated by SGI (NSE:SGI), using SGI Reality Center technologies powered by the SGI Onyx 300 IR4 visualization supercomputer. Using the latest scientific data, visualization tools and interfaces, the Virtual Reality Experience allows visitors to literally fly through seamless virtual worlds. Visitors will not only be immersed in a large-screen theater, but also participate virtually in the demonstrations, including "Space to Face", illustrating ways that satellite imagery is being used today. Viewers will be taken out a satellite's view and zoomed back in to detailed close-ups of streets and terrain, down to a one-meter resolution of the Earth's surface. Other demonstrations showcase the latest human body visualizations and up-to-date images of the Earth's night sky, forest fires, weather and earthquake locations. "The Virtual Reality Experience will ignite the imaginations of our children," said Peter Giles, The Tech's President and CEO. "Not only will they learn about the world around them, but also be able to visualize and experience amazingly complicated processes simplified using the latest technology and scientific data." The Virtual Reality Experience will open to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 5. Local politicians, SGI executives and others will gather to celebrate the first West Coast museum installation of this SGI Reality Center. Dr. Victor Spitzer, Director of the Center for Human Simulation at the University of Colorado, will be at the ceremony, touring guests through the virtual model of the Visible Human, a three-dimensional, computer generated atlas of the human body, a program funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). In this world-renowned project, Dr. Spitzer cross-sectioned a frozen cadaver into 1,862 one-millimeter slices and photographed each slice. An imaging computer re-stacked the images, allowing any part of the human anatomy to be virtually reconstructed and examined in minute details in the virtual world. Special speakers will be at The Tech during weekends throughout the month-long exhibition to present special data sets they are working on: Virtual Reality Experience at The Tech/2
  • Dr. Victor Spitzer, from the University of Colorado's Center for Human Simulation will discuss how the Visible Human Project helps virtual medical training on June 5
  • Dr. Charlie Taylor, a Stanford University Department of Surgery assistant professor, will present technologies that he uses for virtual heart bypass modeling, a tool used to simulate results of a complicated surgery before performing them on patients, June 21.
  • Jacob Fisch of the Israel Antiquities Authority will give a tour through his virtual reconstruction of Jerusalem's Temple on the Mount as it stood 2000 years ago on June 28.
The one-month prototype of the Virtual Reality Experience was made possible by the United States Congress enacting Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's request for funding under the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution for fiscal year 2003. This is the first such federal appropriation that The Tech has received since opening in 1990. Located in downtown San Jose, CA, The Tech Museum of Innovation, a non-profit organization, engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing the technologies affecting their lives and aims to inspire the young to become innovators in the technologies of the future. With over 250 hands-on exhibits, an IMAX Dome Theater, weekend workshops, summer camps, community outreach programs, Tech Challenge and Tech Awards, The Tech has inspired more than 5 million visitors since opening the doors to its first facility in 1990. For more information, visit www.thetech.org or call (408) 294-TECH.