mental images has just completed a $6 million investment round led by ViewPoint Ventures and another large international private equity investor to expand its product offerings to include the 3D collaboration platform, RealityServer. The transaction was managed by ViewPoint Capital Partners. The company will also expand its U.S. operation in San Francisco.
Based on the same fundamental technologies used in mental images' Academy Award-winning software mental ray, RealityServer addresses the need of many industries for secure, server-based collaboration with high-quality, photorealistic images of 3D content. For example, engineers can use it to access physically correct pictures of computer-aided design (CAD) data, planners can alter 3D models of buildings and urban space and kids can play online games-all from any web-connected PC, PDA or cell phone without any special software or "client" system. RealityServer takes full advantage of 64-bit processing power and advanced graphics chips. While authorized users may access original 3D models, their data never leave the server, providing the highest levels of security and intellectual property protection.
RealityServer can be integrated with existing or new Web-based software applications in a wide range of markets, including: remote maintenance and repair; online training and product support; collaborative product design and content creation; medical imaging; interactive online gaming/entertainment; and e-commerce.
The second generation of RealityServer will be developed at an accelerated pace during the next 18 months and will provide extended scalability for very large and possibly heterogeneous computing environments, support for interaction with additional data formats and sources and enhanced functionality.
One of the key benefits for developers is being able to easily create applications on top of RealityServer that permit the dynamic generation and secure distribution of accurate, up-to-the-second visual information to users on any network-enabled device. The end result is a unified RealityServer workflow that will permit thousands of users to simultaneously access the original unmodified 3D data and to interactively collaborate with other users from anywhere in the world.
The RealityServer platform provides essential features that are required for building applications and Web application services, including:
* Fully interactive and collaborative interaction with 3D design content that is guaranteed independently of the front-end device capabilities without requiring custom plug-ins or players.
* Proprietary content and data is protected and efficiently managed in one central, secure environment.
* Each solution is massively scalable across multiple commodity hardware platforms and operating systems with regard to data complexity, performance, image quality and number of simultaneous users.
* RealityServer software developer kit eases integration into larger corporate environments and solutions.
* Customers and developers can enhance and extend the system at every level through a comprehensive extensible environment with well documented programming interfaces and reusable source code examples for key system components, all based on industry standard languages and protocols.
"Remote visual interaction with accurate 3D content is central to more and more business processes," says Rolf Herken, founder, ceo and cto of mental images. "By delivering the results interactively within seconds of a request or instantaneously, RealityServer applications will change the way 3D content is created and used. We are looking forward to expanding mental images' market reach with the support of our new investors. We have seen solid growth in our core products and expect the demand for RealityServer to accelerate in such markets as aerospace, automotive, product design, telemedicine, retail and on-line entertainment.''
"mental images has a strong market position," added Christian Janson-Euterneck, managing director of ViewPoint Capital Partners. "Its unique R&D assets, solid product portfolio, long-standing customers, and clear perspective on how to leverage its technology into new and larger markets make us pleased to participate in mental images's future growth."
To date, mental images's patented technologies and products are distributed primarily as the integrated rendering and (in some cases) modeling software components of leading digital content creation and CAD programs, such as Maya, Softimage|XSI, 3ds max and 3ds viz, SolidWorks and CATIA. In addition, mental images works directly with some of the world's largest and most demanding end-users of 3D visualization to develop customized solutions. More than 130 Hollywood movies have been made with mental ray, including MATRIX RELOADED, HULK and TERMINATOR 3.
mental images GmbH (www.mentalimages.com) is a privately held company based in Berlin, Germany, with a subsidiary in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1986, mental images is a recognized international leader in providing rendering software to the entertainment, computer-aided design, scientific visualization, architecture and other industries that require sophisticated images.