Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Nvidia’s Eye-Tracking Tech Could Revolutionize Virtual Reality" (NVDA)

Yeah, but what have you done for me lately?

NVDA NVIDIA Corporation daily Stock Chart

Before we go any further, our NVIDIA boilerplate: we make very few calls on individual names on the blog but this one is special.

They are positioned to be the brains in autonomous vehicles, they will drive virtual reality should it ever catch on, the current businesses include gaming graphics, deep learning/artificial intelligence, and supercharging the world's fastest supercomputers including what will be the world's fastest at Oak Ridge next year.
Not just another pretty face.

Or food delivery app.
That's me, quoting myself (NVIDIA Sets New All Time High On Pretty Good Numbers, "Sweeping Artificial Intelligence Adoption" (NVDA))
While we are long-time fans of this little superstar we've given up posting each time NVIDIA trades at a new all-time high: we'd have something on the blog almost every day and there would be no time to get any actual work done. the stock is down $1.05 (1.95%) at $53.17 and this dropped out of one of the feedreaders.

From MIT's Technology Review, July 21:

A phenomenon first observed by Da Vinci is being used to make virtual images look more realistic.
Focus on a clock on a nearby wall. The focal point of your gaze should be in focus, while the scene around the clock is blurred, as if your brain is sketching your surroundings, or, in computer graphics terms, rendering a low-resolution version of the scene.

Nvidia is applying the same trick to rendering virtual reality, and it could help improve the realism of virtual worlds significantly. By focusing graphics rendering power on a smaller area, it is possible to sharpen the image a person sees significantly.

Leonardo da Vinci was the first person to notice this visual phenomenon, called foveal vision, in the 15th century. David Luebke, together with four other researchers at Nvidia, has spent the last nine months attempting to mimic the principle in VR by fully rendering only the specific area where a player is looking, and leaving the rest of the scene at a far lower resolution.
 This virtual scene was rendered using Nvidia’s foveal vision approach. The clock, top right, is the focus of the user’s gaze.
When the player using the Nvidia system focuses on a new area of the scene, eye-tracking software shifts the focus of the rendering in kind. To render a full scene in VR at 90 frames per second, the lowest acceptable frame rate in VR before users begin to report feelings of nausea, four million pixels must be rendered at almost a hundred times a second. But by focusing the rendering only on the player’s line of sight, huge computational savings can be made. “The performance gains are too large to be ignored,” says Luebke....MORE 
See also:
Seinfeld, Virtual Reality and Mild Revulsion
The Uncanny Valley, Interior-Design Edition
Greg Miller
The "uncanny valley" usually applies to human aesthetics. It describes that vague sense of revulsion you get when you see a fabricated person—a robot, usually—who looks aaaaalmost human … but not quite. So, for example, this lady. This dude. Anything displayed here. The "valley" refers to the emotional reactions humans have toward anthropomorphized machines, when those reactions are charted: It's the deep dip in comfort level we tend to experience, based on our finely honed survival instincts, when we humans come face-to-quasi-face with beings that are at once extremely like us and extremely not....MORE

Possibly also of interest:
June 1
Machine Learning: JP Morgan Compares Google's New Chip With NVIDIA's (GOOG; NVDA)
May 23
Huh, This NVIDIA Company May Be On To Something (NVDA)
May 16
Analysts React To NVIDIA's First Quarter Report (NVDA)
May 15 
NVIDIA: A $2 Billion Chip to Accelerate Artificial Intelligence (NVDA)
May 12
NVIDIA Sets New All Time High On Pretty Good Numbers, "Sweeping Artificial Intelligence Adoption" (NVDA)
April 13 
CERN Will Be Using NVIDIA Graphics Processors to Accelerate Their Supercomputer (NVDA)
January 5
Class Act: Nvidia Will Be The Brains Of Your Autonomous Car (NVDA)
November 2015
Stanford and Nvidia Team Up For Next Generation Virtual Reality Headsets (NVDA)
November 2015
"NVIDIA: “Expensive and Worth It,” Says MKM Partners" (NVDA)
October 2015
Quants: "Two Glenmede Funds Rely on Models to Pick Winners, Avoid Losers" (NVDA)
May 2015
Nvidia Wants to Be the Brains Of Your Autonomous Car (NVID)
We've mentioned, usually in the context of the Top 500* fastest supercomputers, that:
Long time readers know we have a serious interest in screaming fast computers and try to get to the Top500 list a couple times a year. Here is a computer that was at the top of that list, the fastest computer in the world just four years ago. And it's being shut down.
Technology changes pretty fast. 
That was from a 2013 post.

Among the fastest processors in the business are the one's originally developed for video games and known as Graphics Processing Units or GPU's. Since Nvidia released their Tesla hardware in 2008 hobbyists (and others) have used GPU's to build personal supercomputers.
Here's Nvidias Build your Own page.
Or have your tech guy build one for you.

In addition Nvidia has very fast connectors they call NVLink.
Using a hybrid combination of IBM Central Processing Units (CPU's) and Nvidia's GPU's, all hooked together with the NVLink, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is building what will be the world's fastest supercomputer when it debuts in 2018.

As your kid plays Grand Theft Auto....