Nvidia Pushes the 3-D Internet

Nvidia’s Nvision conference and celebration of all-things-graphics-processor starts today. As part of the brouhaha, the chipmaker is showcasing about 60 startups building businesses on the back of its GPU, and it’s interesting to see how many of these firms have nothing to do with gaming. As we’ve noted before, visual computing is becoming more important for everyday consumers on their desktops, and GPUs are making inroads into scientific and data intensive computing tasks.

We’ve written about multicore programming on GPUs and using the chips for scientific computing, video encoding and decoding and even chip-design verification. Companies such as Accelereyes, Silicon Informatics, Gauda and Elemental Technologies fit that mold. But some of the more interesting technologies are bringing intensive visuals from gaming and online worlds to the average consumer.

Startups like Bumptop, which is creating a 3-D desktop interface that screams out for touch screens; Cooliris, developers of PicLens visual web site displays; and SpaceTime, which allows for viewing the web in 3-D (it’s like tabbed browsing taken to the next level) all are pushing what people call the 3-D Internet. Other firms such as SeeFront and Spatial View (a SeeFront licensee) enable 3-D displays.

Today, those display products are for gamers or enterprises working with 3-D CAD programs, but if the consumers embrace 3-D desktops and web searches, such displays could appear on computers everywhere. Luckily multi-touch pioneer Perceptive Pixel is also at Nvision to show people how using touch could make such 3-D sites more navigable.

image courtesy of SpaceTime