Engineering Animation, Inc. Uses 3D Technology To Visualize Geological Wonders For Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History

September 19, 1997

3D animations and interactive multimedia in new Geology, Gems and Minerals exhibit revolutionizes the museum experience

AMES, Iowa -- (September 5, 1997) -- Visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History can build volcanoes on the computer screen, soar through the creation of the universe and hurl various-sized asteroids at the Earth--due to 3D animations and interactive kiosks developed by Engineering Animation, Inc. (Nasdaq: EAII). These productions will be unveiled at the new Janet Annenberg Geology, Gems and Minerals exhibit grand opening, September 20 in Washington, D.C.

"EAI's state-of-the-art technology truly revolutionizes the museum experience by transforming museum-goers into active participants who interact in a 3D geological world," said Carol Jacobson, senior director of business development for EAI Interactive.

Arranged to tell a geological story, the exhibit begins with a microscopic crystals presentation and culminates with a far-reaching expedition through the Milky Way. Stationed throughout the display, which showcases the Hope Diamond and the National Gem Collection, are six 3D animation movie stations and fourteen interactive-multimedia kiosks that feature over 100 animations.

"The 3D-rich presentation allows museum attendees to immerse themselves--and partake in--a variety of geological adventures," said Jacobson. "When you compare the typical museum tour of a few years ago, it is evident that new technologies are propelling these exhibits into the twenty-first century."

From Viewing Volcanic Rock to Interactively Building a Volcano

3D multimedia enhances museum displays by serving as 3D interactive complements to physical pieces. Precious gems and jewelry, volcanic ash, meteorites and crystals are enhanced by these companion technologies that add a high-tech, hands-on dimension to scientific learning and discovery.

"EAI's technology brings geology out from under the exhibit glass, allowing kids and adults to interactively build and erupt volcanoes, puzzle together a rocky landscape or witness the formation of the Himalayans," said Jacobson.

Additional geological quests are possible on the computer--including "Asteroid Experience" where baseball-, basketball-, or bus-sized asteroids can be flung toward Earth while viewing the resulting impact craters. The "Rocks Deform" kiosk asks users to push, pull and rotate rocks at different temperatures and strain rates to uncover how igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic specimens are formed.

New Scientific Venues for 3D animation

High-end 3D animation--ordinarily reserved for Hollywood feature films and commercials--is increasingly being used in atypical venues. From courtrooms to operating rooms--and now museum exhibits--custom animation has evolved into an optimal tool for communicating, demonstrating and leveraging scientific ideas.


"We show museum visitors scientific concepts that could otherwise not be viewed," said Jacobson. "From the Earth as it appeared 200 million years ago--to the photonic process that gives rubies their rich, red color--EAI reveals theories, discoveries and vantage points that people are only able to imagine." EAI combined the expertise of several renowned geologists as well as in-house scientific illustrators, researchers, multimedia artists and 3D animators to produce these scientifically-accurate animations.

About EAI
EAI specializes in applying 3D visualization technologies to meet the productivity, communication, education and entertainment needs of its clients through product visualization software, interactive multimedia and custom animation. The company's custom animation products combine proprietary 3D visualization technologies with 3D-rich content to address the communication needs of clients in the litigation, biomedical, corporate communications, multimedia and entertainment markets.

EAI's team includes Ph.D.-level engineers, scientists, modelers, animators, motion experts, special effects technicians, illustrators and graphic designers. The company uses an extensive library of models, textures and a proprietary anatomical database to create detailed and scientifically accurate animations that conform to the laws of physics and nature.

EAI's corporate headquarters and technology center are located in Ames, Iowa, with other offices worldwide.


Slides, VHS, Beta videotape and additional materials are available upon request. For more information about EAI, visit us at or call toll free at 1-800-324-7760

Engineering Animation, Inc.

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