Imagine a world where huge equipment racks, incredible amounts of heat, miles and miles of cables, and soaring operational costs are a thing of the past. Brian Edwards of Edwards Technologies has envisioned such a world, and these days he’s making it a reality with the ETI Cloud-based Content Management System.
The cloud’s a confusing enough concept. I’ll just simplify it by stating something along the lines of a room full of AV racks can be replaced by just a few Mac minis. I like to think of it like replacing your the gas tank in your car with with five D-size batteries.
So just these few minis, with the assistance of the cloud, can do incredible things. But what if instead of minis, you were using something else, like, say, a supercomputer?
Recently, Brian’s been spending a lot of time with Steve Chen, the lead designer of the Cray supercomputer and one of the industry’s pioneers. What Brian told me is quite mindblowing and here’s an example, based on what he told me.
I’ll work with two attractions from Disney and George Lucas: Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Adventure.
The second generation of Star Tours is randomized, but it’s limited. Everything is limited by 1. the storage space for data and 2. the prerendered visuals. With supercomputer and cloud technology combined, every single variable would be entered in the system and the backgrounds, elemental conditions, and animations would all be rendered real time. The ride could go anywhere within the boundaries set within the system and no rides would be identical. Instead of around 50 possiblilities, there will be millions.
Now imagine that you’re going on the Indiana Jones ride. It’s raining outside, and as you enter the show building, it’s cold and you hear rain dripping. There might be water flowing down the wall as if there’s a leak in the roof. Or it’s hot and humid outside so you enter a steamy interior with fog effects turned up. The computer knows the elemental situation outside and matches it to the inside, seamlessly integrating the real world with the imagined.
As you board your vehicle, there are no sets. There are LED or OLED screens along the walls, projecting real time animation in autostereoscopic 3D. And because you answered a few questions about yourself at an interactive terminal before boarding, the ride is tailored to the tastes of you and your fellow riders. Hate snakes? We’ll add them by the hundreds.
That’s the future. And it’s already starting at ETI. Find out more about their Mac-based cloud at www.eticloud.com.