SC05 AWARD: ACM/IEEE Supercomputing 2005 recognized our research demonstration "Wide
Screen Window on the World: Life Size HD Videoconferencing" with the "Most Innovative Use of New Technology" award:
McGill used high bandwidth to reduce latency on their high definition
video conferencing between Seattle and Montreal, so that two way synchronized
interaction of musicians was truly possible.
Gordon Foote (at left, in Seattle)
teaches a jazz ensemble at McGill, appearing life-size
in uncompressed high-definition video over three 65" plasma
displays. Photo: Peter Marshall. More
photos are available here.
The exhibit booth in Seattle had a panoramic 15'
wide screen made up of three 65" plasma displays showing three uncompressed
high definition video streams from the Instructional Media Services
studio at McGill in
Montreal. These streams were sent over the CA*net 4 Internet network
across Canada to Vancouver and then down to Seattle using McGill's
proprietary IP transmission software that provides extremely high image
very low transmission delay. The displays showed people at the McGill
end life size in high resolution. The delay was so small that people
talk normally and interrupt one another, unlike conventional videoconferencing.
People often described the interaction with those at McGill as startlingly
For the competition, McGill music professor Gordon Foote was in the booth
in Seattle teaching a jazz ensemble of music students in the studio at
McGill. At the end of the session, he took out his sax and played together
with the students, the first time this has been done using high definition
video across the continent.
For the rest of the conference, there was a model train in the studio
at McGill that could be seen and heard in high definition, and controlled
remotely from Seattle with a round-trip latency of less than 100ms. Several
hundred audience members tried the system, attempting to switch the train
between the three loops of track to avoid hitting a mechanical cow that
was meandering across the tracks. A vibromechanically actuated platform,
on which audience members stood, also reproduced the rumble felt every
time the train passed over the bridge -- a real show-stopper.
The Ultra-Videoconferencing team wishes to thank
all of the technical support personnel who gave their time and
assistance leading up to the
demonstration. Our "Wide Screen Window on the World" demonstration
would not have succeeded were it nor for the technical efforts of
Seth Everson (HP), Dave Tyszkiewicz (Neterion), Shaun Case (AJA),
(Foundry Networks), and Thomas Tam (Canarie) who worked through the
many problems that arose before and during our setup.