Mitsubishi Electronics of America has launched the VolumePro 500 PCI board, the first real-time volume rendering solution for the PC.
Volume rendering takes 3D, or “volume,” data and displays the data in a visually meaningful way using graphical techniques. This method is often used to understand data that may otherwise be difficult to analyze using traditional tables or charts. Sources of such data include medical imaging, geophysical modeling, or scans of airplane wings.
The VolumePro 500 PCI accelerator board features an ASIC rendering engine that can transform one billion Bytes of volume data per second into 500 million Phong-lit, colored samples per second. The board can therefore render a 256 cubed data set at 30 frames per second.
With 128MB of usable memory, the board can store 512-by-512-by-256 volume slices. The VolumePro 500 also features hardware-assisted operations such as cropping, slicing, line or plane cursor support, super-sampling, and multiple light sources. A Volume Library API allows the board to be programmed using a C++ extension of Open GL.
The VolumePro 500 is priced between $2,995 to $5,495, depending on configuration. For more information, see www.rtviz.com.