3rdTech Installs HiBall Tracker System for
Japan’s Communications Research Laboratory

Wide-Area and High-Performance Critical for New Showcase Research Site

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., May 14, 2001 – 3rdTech Inc., developing products and businesses from leading-edge university research, today announced the latest HiBall-3000 Wide Area Tracker installation, and the first in Japan. The Communications Research Laboratory (CRL), an independent administrative institution in Japan, purchased a HiBall-3000 System for research in communications systems using virtual reality, through NISSHO Electronics Corporation – one of 3rdTech’s international resellers.

The HiBall-3000 C-50 System, which tracks position and orientation within a 4000 cubic foot space, is being used with two 150-inch rear projectors and a 200-inch display composed of 16 individual DLP projectors. Participants sit in specially designed, fully wired, retractable auditorium seats for immersive explorations in communications system design. A custom ceiling moves the HiBall Tracker’s Beacon Arrays into position above the immersive space during use, and retracts into a storage position at other times. The HiBall Tracker’s autocalibration assures precise tracking even after these substantial movements.  


20ft. x 20ft. Ceiling Array

“I fell in love with the HiBall Tracker system at first sight at SIGGRAPH 2000”, said Kiyoshi Kiyokawa, scientist at the CRL. “Its performance is really amazing. I am very glad we have the first HiBall system outside the U.S.”  

Ceiling Array in Stored Position

The HiBall-3000 is a new optical tracker based on technology first developed by the Department of Computer Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It uses a custom sensor composed of six lenses and photodiodes arranged to view arrays of infrared LEDs that mount easily on the supports of standard ‘drop ceilings.’  The LED arrays can cover areas as small as 8x8 feet or greater than 40x40 feet.  The HiBall Tracker’s innovative design and technology break new ground in tracking range, absolute tracking accuracy, and tracking performance. These capabilities make it ideal for virtual and augmented reality, simulation and training, industrial tool and robot tracking, film and video production, and location-based entertainment.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected for the CRL’s new installation”, said Nick England, President and CEO of 3rdTech, Inc. “It will be a showcase for how the latest VR technology can be an invaluable R & D tool.” Additional information about the HiBall-3000 Wide Area Tracker is available at www.3rdtech.com/HiBall.htm