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Improv, Sun Team on Wireless Authoring

Improv Technologies, building on partner Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java technologies, Tuesday announced plans to release a beta version of its digital media authoring software for desktops and wireless devices by late this year.

Improv said its new software will utilize the full range of Java technologies, including Java 3D, Java 2D, Java Advanced Imaging and Java Media Framework. The software allows Web developers to design, edit and integrate all forms of multimedia, including 3-D and 2-D animation, streaming audio and video, bitmap and vector graphics, and text with complete interactivity in an Internet-based collaborative work environment.

All lower-level coding is eliminated in the software. Improv said this enables the full range of Web developers -- from professionals to artists and amateurs -- to create sophisticated content. Also, the architecture is designed to give developers the flexibility to create custom features and functionality.

"Improv's new software and the technologies upon which it has been developed will make a powerful impact on the delivery of digital content creation from anywhere, anytime and from any device," said Fred Kohout, director of product marketing, Workstation Products Group at Sun Microsystems.

Kohout added that the technology will enable businesses to create more competitive e-commerce sites that are more interactive and enjoyable for the user. Also, businesses will save money and time building those sites, he said.

"From enabling enhanced, fully interactive online experiences for consumers to the creation of superior quality animation and scientific visualization, we are seeing the emergence of a new generation of applications that will power the new economy," said Athomas Goldberg, president and chief technology officer of Improv Technologies.

Improv is not the only company making noise about Sun's Java 3D technology. Others in the graphics and design communities are using the technology for cross-platform 3-D graphics application development and deployment. They include SDRC, Brigham and Women's Hospital, WebScope and INT.

SDRC incorporated Java 3D into a new Web browser interface in its I-DEAS 8, a collaborative e-design automation application. The interface displays a full, three-dimensional thumbnail image of a part or assembly. Brigham and Women's Hospital's Surgical Planning Lab used Sun's 3-D technology in SPLViz, an application that displays anatomical models and cat- or magnetic resolution imaging-scans of patients. WebScope built an Internet collaboration tool on Java 2D and Java3D, making use of real-time visualization, high-quality rendering, professional shading and flexible lighting. INT built J/View3D, a high performance Java 3D toolkit designed to simplify the creation of sophisticated 3D graphics for interactive data visualization.

Sun's Java 3D is a network-centric, scene graph-based API. It enables programmers to do 3-D visualization over a network, including game and educational software development, data visualization, mechanical computer-aided design and engineering (MCAD/MCAE), and digital content creation.