America's Cup, SGI, Trimble and ESPN

Did you ever wonder how they did that spiffy computer graphics on the ESPN broadcasts?

From: (Lois Kiriu)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.sgi.announce
Followup-To: comp.sys.sgi.announce
Date: 10 Apr 1995 14:48:25 -0500
Organization: Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Distribution: world
X-Newsreader: NN version 6.5.0 #4 (NOV)


ESPN, Television New Zealand and  the Louis Vuitton Media Centers
Deliver Real-Time 3D Animated Graphics to Audiences Worldwide

SAN  DIEGO, Calif.  (April 9,  1995) --  Technology from  Silicon
Graphics,  Inc.   (NYSE:  SGI)  and  Trimble   (NASDQ:  TRMB)  is
revolutionizing the  way worldwide television audiences  view the
America's Cup  races. A combination of  Trimble's satellite-based
tracking  devices  and  powerful  Silicon  Graphics  workstations
enables broadcasters to produce  real-time animated graphics that
provide  enhanced information  about  the  races. These  advanced
graphics  allow television  commentators  to educate,  entertain,
conduct  "chalk talk"  replays  of key  maneuvers, or  illustrate
aspects of the sailing competition as it unfolds in real-time.

Data  is gathered  by Trimble's  Global Positioning  System (GPS)
technology which identifies the exact location of moving objects.
The Silicon  Graphics technology then takes  that information and
renders it into realistic, animated graphical images. Using these
technologies, Louis  Vuitton has  made it  possible for  ESPN and
Television New Zealand to produce live two- and three-dimensional
animated graphics of the races for worldwide television coverage.
In addition, the Louis Vuitton Media Centers in San Diego, Paris,
Tokyo,  Sydney  and  Auckland  are airing  graphics  coverage  to
provide journalists  writing about  the races with  more detailed

"Even non-sailors  now can  understand open-ocean  racing because
these  real-time  graphics  clearly  mark  the  race  course  and
illuminate the  mysteries of  wind and currents  and strategies,"
said  Forest  Baskett,  senior  vice president  of  research  and
development for  Silicon Graphics.  "Viewers can apply  what they
learn  from  watching  the  animated coverage  to  improve  their
comprehension of the live coverage of the sport."

Trimble's tracking  devices use GPS, a  worldwide satellite-based
radio  navigation  system developed  by  the  U.S. Department  of
Defense.  GPS is  a  constellation of  24  satellites that  orbit
11,000  miles above  the earth.  It is  the most  accurate global
navigation and positioning system ever produced and can determine
positions to within 100 meters.

Because tracking yacht racing requires even greater accuracy than
standard  GPS  can  provide,  Trimble  has  installed  a  special
Differential  GPS (DGPS)  transmitter on  the highlands  of Point
Loma in  San Diego  to sharpen  the system's  accuracy to  two to
eight  meters.  The  DGPS transmitter  calculates  and  transmits
corrected GPS  signals via a Motorola  radio/modem communications
link  to  the  GPS  receiver  on  each  racing  yacht.  After  it
incorporates the corrections,  the transmitter then automatically
broadcasts this more accurate position data for each vessel.

After  collection,  the  data  is processed  by  broadcasters  on
Silicon  Graphics  computers   running  specialized  software  to
convert  the  data   into  animated  three-dimensional  graphics.
Silicon  Graphics' Onyx=81  graphics supercomputers  with Reality
Engine2=81 graphics supply the  power and advanced features, such
as  photographic   texture  mapping  to  create   very  life-like
animations in  real-time. Each  broadcaster can give  a different
look and feel to its  animated coverage because the software that
converts the data is customizable.

The  technology builds  on SailTrack=81,  an Emmy  award-winning,
satellite-based  graphics  tracking  system first  introduced  by
Silicon Graphics, Trimble  Navigation and ESPN, and  used by ESPN
for coverage of the 1992 America's Cup races.

Trimble  is the  world leader  in the  emerging world  commercial
markets  for  GPS  satellite-based  navigation,  positioning  and
communication data products. Trimble products are sold world-wide
for diverse applications including  land and hydrographic survey;
GIS data acquisition; military; general, corporate and commercial
aviation; marine navigation; vehicle tracking and communications;
and  mobile GPS.  The  company also  manufactures  and sells  GPS
engines  for the  OEM  market.  Founded in  1978  and located  in
Sunnyvale, California, Trimble has been a leader in providing GPS
solutions since 1984.

Silicon  Graphics and  the Silicon  Graphics logo  are registered
trademarks and Onyx and  RealityEngine2 are trademarks of Silicon
Graphics,   Inc.  MIPS   is  a   registered  trademark   of  MIPS
Technologies, Inc.
SailTrack is a trademark of ESPN, Inc.
All other  trademarks & registered  trademarks are the  rights of
their respective companies

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