XenoVision gives new meaning to visualizing the battlefield

It reminded me of the scene in "Star Wars" in which the 3-D holographic monster chess pieces fight it out. I was looking at a 3-D map, complete with hills and streams, that demonstrated troop movements. It was, in fact, displaying the Civil War battle of Antietam.

The 3-foot by 4-foot map was produced by the XenoVision Mark III from Xenotran Corp. The basic design of XenoVision is simple, like one of those toy pads filled with pins that you can push in with your fingers to make shapes. In this case, XenoVision received an elevation file from the computer that controlled it and raised and lowered the hundreds of pins in the table, creating the terrain of the map. The pins have an elevation range of 6 inches.

Next, the image of the terrain is projected on the fabric that covers the pins. The projector is an LCD unit with XGA 1,024 x 768 resolution. Other data, such as labels or routes, also can be projected onto the map. The device supports JPEG, GIF, MPEG2 and SWF image formats and GRIDASCII elevation data.

The software controlling XenoVision can create a topographic map in less than two minutes. It takes about 30 seconds to erase an existing map.

XenoVision was developed under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with military uses in mind. Xenotran is also marketing the XenoVision Mark III for use in advertising, disaster planning, resource planning and real estate. For pricing information, go to www.xenotran.com.


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