Saturday, June 26, 2010

Santa Fe Simtable in the News

One of the cooler things we've been seeing from a few New Mexico companies and organizations is their development of interactive experiences, whether it be for museums and installations like Ideum ( or this from Simtable, a spin-off of the Santa Fe Complex (

The unfortunate thing is that explaining these things in text or even in video (see the clip or follow the link below) leaves out much of the experience. The great thing is... there's more and more of this work going on in New Mexico, and more and more opportunities to get involved.

From KOB 4:

New tool developed in Santa Fe to help fight wildfires

In the corner of a Santa Fe studio sits a sandbox filled with what looks like holographic mountain ranges.
Before we go any further... this is the type of story you have to see to believe, so vivid it’s hard to describe, so be sure to check out the video.
If not, picture Google Earth in a box, Avatar style, with almost any data firefighters would need to strategize on how to tackle a wildfire.

First a camera installed next to a projector performs a 3-D scan of the box and color codes where to pile up sand to make mountains and where to dig it out to make valleys. Think color by numbers.
Then realtime data is pumped in via computer from Google Earth, US geological surveys, weather programs and even traffic patterns.
The simulator allows firefighters to spark up a simulated blaze with a regular lighter. A camera recognizes the flame and triggers a computer program that track what the fire will do according to wildfire variables like wind, weather and vegetation.
The Simtable also allows incident commanders to draw air tanker and bulldozer lines and even takes into consideration types of vegetations, roads and rock out-croppings.
Traffic patterns can be pulled up and projected onto the sand as well, showing emergency planners where bottlenecks could arise if evacuations were ordered...

More at: New tool developed in Santa Fe to help fight wildfires

(Full disclosure: I do a little work for the Santa Fe Complex where the Simtable is based. And I really like the work the folks at Ideum are doing.)

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