The Eyes Have It At Nvidia's NVISION Event

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang discusses the Nurien Social Network with Taehoon Kim of South Korean company Nurien Software during Jen-Hsun's opening keynote Monday at the inaugural NVISION event in San Jose, Calif. Promising an event that would be more a celebration of visual computing than a marketing platform for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Nvidia's graphics processors, Jen-Hsun shared the keynote stage with several guests who demoed cutting edge visual computing applications.

The Nurien Social Network features dynamic computer-generated avatars that interact with each other in graphically rich settings. And it's free to join, according to Kim, whose company makes its money on "micro-transactions," small fees paid by Nurien Social Network members for upgrades to their avatars' appearance, abilities and home base.

Marv White, CTO of SportVision, explains how his company's arsenal of television graphics works as he and Nvidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrate SportVision's yard marker graphics for National Football League broadcasts. Other SportVision breakthroughs include TV graphics that trace footballs in flight and highlight airflow around speeding NASCAR vehicles.

It was only a couple years ago that the user interface technology in the film "Minority Report" seemed preposterously futuristic. Here, Jeff Han and Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrate that yesterday's technological tomorrow is today.

Han, a well-known research scientist at NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Science, developed this multi-user, multi-touch user interface technology at a company called Perceptive Pixel. Standing side-by-side in front of a 100-inch display, Han and Jen-Hsun are able to independently manipulate an array of applications by touch on their respective sides of the screen. Perceptive Pixel's most notable customer to date is probably CNN, which uses the interface on its political maps for election coverage.

Leggy actress Tricia Helfer, who plays the Cylon character Number Six on the Sci-Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" television series, helps Jen-Hsun close his keynote with a discussion of the demands on actors in CGI-heavy shows like BSG. The explosion of photorealistic graphics in film and television is both threatening and exhilarating for actors like her, Helfer concludes.

Nvidia's first major misstep at NVISION occurs at the entrance to the main venue, the San Jose Convention Center. Branding is important, but whoever thought it would be a good idea to dye the water Nvidia green in the Convention Center fountain sent a message to attendees that was less "high-tech" and more "high-blecch."

NVISION's Club SLI all-night LAN party is one for the books -- the Guinness Book of World Records to be exact. This World of Warcraft gamer is one of more than 200 who jacked into the San Jose Convention Center's local area network for 36 straight hours to set a world record for longest LAN party.

If you're going to stay up playing video games for 36 hours, you're going to need plenty of liquid help. Fortunately the LAN partiers at NVISION had plenty of Bawls high-energy guarana drinks on hand to jolt them back into a world-record-setting frame of mind whenever they got sleepy.

E-Honor, a team of female gamers from China, compete in Tuesday's Electronic Sports World Cup (ESWC) women's Counter-Strike final at NVISION. The E-Honor players lost a hard-fought match to Emulate, a team of fragging specialists from France.

Members of the French gaming squad Emulate confer with their coach during a break in the action at Tuesday's ESWC women's Counter-Strike final. The Emulate players went on to win the prestigious title at NVISION.

It isn't clear if these NVISION gamers' shirts bear their nicknames or corporate sponsors. Either way, you have to wonder what a former U.S. vice president and a dead sax player have to do with video games.

This sign posted outside the LAN command center at NVISION's Club SLI warns all Cheeto-stained wretches to stay the hell out.

The very best custom rigs on display at NVISION'S Club SLI included this oddly beautiful robotic figure doubling as a fully functional gaming system.

We never did figure out what the Gatling gun was for, but this custom rig showcased at NVISION is pretty cool.

Moving out of Club SLI and the world-record LAN party, we make our way to the vendor exhibition floor and the exact same sights of people sitting in front of computer screens. At least the lights are a bit brighter in this Convention Center hall.

"Conan! What is best in life?"

"To crunch your algorithms, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the data."

Microsoft's Games for Windows division tempts passersby with an entertainment-centric living room in NVISION's vendor exhibition hall.

Booth babes for Pioneer Memory pose on the show floor at NVISION on Tuesday.

David Forster, director of channel relations at chassis and power supply vendor Antec takes a break from booth duty at NVISION. The Fremont, Calif.-based company has some interesting new products for its whitebox channel, including three mini-ITX cases based on Intel's new Atom-based D945GCLF2 motherboard, code named Little Falls 2, and clamshells for the chip giant's Rich Creek 2 mobile boards for whitebooks.

Elsa's Gladiac 960GT card features Nvidia's GeForce 9600GT GPU, core/memory clock of 700/2000MHz, 64 stream processors, 1GB of DDR3 memory and PCI Express 2.0. The Taiwanese company used to sell its gaming cards on, according to an Elsa representative, but unfortunately doesn't have any North American distribution at the moment.

This NVISION attendee appears to be preparing for the day he when becomes a little old man who can barely see over the steering wheel as he tests out this driving simulator in NVISION's automotive pavilion Tuesday.