Access Grid

January 1st, 2000 - August 31st, 2003

Categories: Devices, Networking, Software, Tele-Immersion


EVL is using the Access Grid (AG) project developed by Argonne National Laboratories (ANL) as the communications backbone for high-bandwidth, collaborative, cutting-edge graphics work. The AG is a collection of computing resources (computers, network, software, etc.) that enables group-to-group communication. The AG at EVL is integrated into distributed, collaborative “amplified work environments” as part of the Continuum Project. EVL uses the AG for seminars, collaborative work sessions, and distributed meetings as well as for more informal interactions between researchers.

EVL became an Access Grid node site in 2000. EVL’s main AG node utilizes three plasma displays, four remotely controlled cameras, and an echo-cancellation audio system using up to eight microphones and a telephone backchannel. Four low-cost PC’s drive the node by capturing audio and video, displaying the video, and controlling the audio system over IP networking. The image quality is enhanced with studio lighting, and a convenient patch bay readily aids in handling the variety of camera feeds and other video source input to the AG.

EVL also has developed a mini-AG node powered by a single Pentium 4 machine. It uses a single plasma screen and one remote-controlled camera. It has a powerful echo-cancellation audio system that uses four microphone inputs. It has proven to be an excellent addition to EVL for small meetings and testing.

EVL is currently testing a dual processor Xeon machine as the driver for EVL’s main AG node. The intent is to capture four video inputs, output to four displays, capture and play audio, and manage an AG session all from one computer. Look for this new addition in the fall of 2004.