This is a bit of an unusual post for this site because it is not directly related to IT Security, but I have recently watched a video of a lecture by Rearden CEO Steve Perlman that I found truly inspiring!
Steve Perlman is the Steve Job of Engineering.
He has participated/invented/funded many different cutting edge technologies and gave an overview of 3 of them in his lecture. What strikes me is how all those technologies are linked together even if isn’t necessarily obvious. It would be tempting to say it is all driven by his apparent interest in gaming but that would be too simplistic, it is driven by a desire to invent new technologies and not being afraid of rewriting the rules!
1. The first technology he spoke about is MOVA, which apparently rewrote the rules on how computer generated 3D characters were done (and more if you look at his last example about Batman). It is impressive to see the list of films that are now using that technology, from “The curious case of Benjamin Button” to the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I actually thought they were using real actors and a mask for Benjamin Button…
It was also interesting to see that studies show the human brain doesn’t like “almost perfect” images of human. In fact, we prefer a cartoon face over a very good but still not quite real 3D face. Something I believe we all sensed when watching some animated movies a few years ago which although technically impressive were just not quite right.
2. Then he spoke about ONLIVE, a technology which is primarily aimed at streaming HD and power hungry gaming experience to terminals such as TV, tablets, phone, etc…
Basically this is gaming in the cloud, but really, it is so much more!
I liked his analogy that today’s cloud solutions are more hybrids than complete solutions. You have a range of applications that are hosted in different “clouds” and some online storage stored in some other “clouds”, etc.
What they have designed is a huge power backend that “just” stream video/audio to a terminal.
But for this to be usable they invented a new video compression technology which is very performant. Apparently the requirements are 3 to 5 Mb/s (soon to be 2Mb/s) for HD video and 0.5 to 2Mb/s for phones/tablets quality, which can be obtained on 3G!
You also need to be within 1,000 miles of one of their datacenters: 3 in the USA and only 1 in Europe (Autumn 2011).
Not only do their gaming offering is already impressive and has been running for a year in the USA but he also demonstrated the use of MAYA directly from an iPad.
So you could always question how useful that can be to use such a complex application on such a small device which does not necessarily has the right human interface to interact efficiently… but that technology also works on MAC or PC and not everyone has a computer fast enough to handle such type of applications.
The great thing about their technology is that you do not need to upgrade your device to catchup on the latest CPU or GPU requirements in future applications.
It would be interesting to find out more about how they handle file sharing among applications and what security they can offer to protect your hosted data.
3. Finally, he presented a new wireless technology which sounds pretty impressive. One that apparently breaks Shannon’s law in regards of the shared spectrum capacity as it could offer 10x to 1000x times what is available today. Furthermore, it has a wider coverage than TV, with at least 30 miles coverage. It is also much faster than 4G with much less latency, consumes less power, costs less, etc…
It does sound too good to be true, but with Steve Perlman’s track record I am happy to believe him.
This is apparently possible because we should not be considering airwaves like strings or wireless telephone lines, he made an analogy with a cell bubble around a telephone which I didn’t really understand, but then I don’t think anyone in the audience did! There is a white paper HERE.
It is called DIDO for Distributed Input Distributed Output
According to Steve this is a completely new way to look (I should really say listen ;) at airwaves propagation and if you were to look for DIDO traffic with standard radio equipment you would not see anything but noise.
This got me thinking, if this technology is so new, has such a huge and yet unknown coverage, cannot be detected with today’s radio technology… shouldn’t someone speak to SETI so they can listen to this “advanced” communication method ;)
Seriously though, this is all very impressive. It is a long video, about 1h30, but as I said at the start of this post Steve is an amazing source of inspiration. What a great attitude and great achievements!
He created a technology to produce life like animations, a technology to provide those graphics and more to everyone and finally a transport medium which could deliver all this almost anywhere in the world. This may be a loose link between all those inventions but a link nonetheless!
I am looking forward to see those new technologies hopefully blossom and to his future inventions!