Digital Bayou Fact Sheet

The Digital Bayou showcased the most advanced interactive and graphics technologies on the planet, co-existing in one vibrant space.

Networked virtual societies, innovative interfaces, pre-competitive technologies, scientific visualization, teleoperation, and fun were linked by meandering walkways, punctuated by gathering spaces, and protected by canopied nets. Activity migrated from exhibit to stage to screens. Attendees engaged in conversation with the experts, then met in a comfortable setting to reflect on their experiences in the Digital Bayou.

Over 90 pieces were submitted and 45 were selected for the Digital Bayou. The contributors were chosen based on their innovative thinking and design, and fall into the following categories:

  • Human-Machine Interface

  • Art

  • Entertainment

  • Exploration

  • Scientific Visualization

  • Online Societies

"We've tried to assemble the most innovative designs of interactive software, hardware, interfaces, and ideas we could find -- ones that point the way for researchers, students, artists, designers, and users to make better and more transparent tools, applications, and content," said Brian Blau and Clark Dodsworth, Digital Bayou Co-Chairs. "If we've done it right, the Digital Bayou is where many attendees will see their future."


Bayou Sauvage

Bayou Sauvage is a dramatic, entertainment-oriented implementation of the most advanced multi-user virtual world application. It is a multi-vendor, multi-platform demonstration of the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol used in military simulation training. Approximately 20 different vendors of computer hardware, software, and systems are participating in a game shared across the SIGGRAPH 96 exhibit floor and Digital Bayou. Participants start in different vehicles from different locations and race across the Bayou to reach a wayward alien spaceship. They encounter active and passive obstacles, not the least of which is each other, in a complex 3D world.

Distributed Scientific Visualization of Ocean Models

This prototype simulation enables operational or exercise planners to test various scenarios prior to initiation of the operation. The application is highly adaptable to training operations via interactive "fly-through" of ocean simulations, including interactive control of the ocean model itself.

The project features a continuous animation that describes the evolution of the science of oceanography. In the virtual reality displays, 3D images of the ocean include undulating surfaces, small tracer balls flowing through space, tub-like surfaces representing currents and eddies, and graphics from raytraced surfaces. The interactive circulation model is user-controlled via keyboard. Certain parameters that affect the model's solutions, such as current strength and wind force, are controllable.

Haptic Challenge

Force feedback brings video games to the next level of play, moving beyond mere sights and sounds and immersing users in a physical reality that is as compelling and satisfying as the real world. Traditional game controllers can only track a user's actions; they cannot convey physical interactions.

Haptic Challenge is a multi-user gaming environment focused on the sense of feel. Two players engage in a 3D game scenario in which they propel a virtual puck at the opponent's goal. They are armed with virtual paddle controllers in a full dynamic simulation, allowing them to feel the puck interacting with the paddle with such realistic fidelity they can actually take advantage of fine manual dexterity to put spin on the puck. Force feedback is so central to this experience that the game simply could not be played without it.


This interactive multimedia program for interviewing young children who may have been sexually abused provides a structure that helps children tell their stories verbally or non-verbally. It assists the interviewer by providing a framework of questions and an easy-to-use system for taking notes and tracking the children's selections. Because it simplifies the interview process by giving the interviewer more time to focus on the child and by supporting nonverbal communication, this interview method enhances children's abilities to communicate a greater amount of vital information with less chance for biasing their answers.

Virtual New Orleans

Virtual New Orleans is a 3D, VRML representation of downtown New Orleans. It includes several neighborhoods, including the waterfront, the French Quarter, and the convention center area. In Virtual New Orleans, you can walk (or fly if you prefer) down actual New Orleans streets. As you pass your mouse over a building, its address and company name are displayed. Each building is hyper-linked to the occupant's Web site, if they have one. Some buildings lead to interior building models.

Neither Here Nor There

In Neither Here Nor There, virtual reality becomes accessible to digital artists through the ImmersaDesk, a powerful new design and visualization tool. It is a projection-based, drafting-table-sized virtual reality system. The size and position of the screen provides a sufficiently wide field of view so the viewer feels fully immersed in the visual scene. Head tracking allows the participant to experience a first-person view as opposed to a third-person view experienced on other visual media. The user's hand position is tracked by the "wand," the main control device with which participants manipulate the scene. Additionally, the desk is surrounded by a 3D directional sound system.

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Final SIGGRAPH 96 Web site update: 25 October 1996.
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