MURRAY HILL, N.J. -- Bell Labs is bringing 360 degrees of DavidBowie into full view on the Internet. Users of BowieNet (www.davidbowie.com), the rock star'snewInternet service, will be able to to experience intimate live-actionviewsof Bowie thanks to FullView*, a 360-degree panoramic Webcam designed byBellLabs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies. Initial applications call for the camera to be used forin-studio question-and-answer sessions with Bowie, as well as live"you-are-there" rehearsal sessions with Bowie and his band. BowieNet, which launched today, is a joint venturebetweenConcentric Network Corporation and Ultrastar Internet Services and isaccessible to music fans throughout the country. The FullView camera, invented by Vic Nalwa, member of the BellLabsMultimedia Communications Research Laboratory has a single vantage pointand comprises multiple charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras, each aimedat atriangular mirror. The images are recombined through proprietarysoftwareso that the full 360-degree live-action view can be displayed alongwith,say, a 60-degree closeup in any direction the user chooses.
"FullView is designed for just the kinds of live-event programsthatBowieNet is set to deliver to its customers. BowieNet users can, say,choose what image of Bowie's band they want to see, and can easilyprogramtheir own viewing angles, storing individual images as they desire ontheirPCs," said Vic Nalwa. "BowieNet users will experience the kind ofcommunitythat Bowie has created in ways that weren't previously possible on theInternet. BowieNet will have the only large-scale seamless 360-degreevideoexperience on the Web." The resolution of FullView is 10 times greater than anycomparable panoramic camera, offering 480 x 3200 pixel (columns x rows)resolution at 15 frames per second. Bell Labs has been granted 3 patentsforFullView. "BowieNet's mission is to deliver a service thatcombinesDavid Bowie's artistry with unparalleled technical capabilities, and theFullView camera is a big part of that experience," said Ron Roy,co-founderof UltraStar and a pioneering Web music producer. "Bell Labs'involvementin BowieNet brings a high level of innovation to what we know will be anentirely new way to see David Bowie." The FullView camera leverages Bell Labs' heritage inimageprocessing. The CCD was invented at Bell Labs in 1969 by Willard BoyleandGeorge Smith and led to the invention of the first solid-state TVcamera.The CCD revolutionized the video industry and continues to find newapplications in areas as diverse as medicine, security, and astronomy(http://www.lucent.com/ideas2/discoveries/telescope/docs/ccd1.html). For more information on Bell Labs multimedia, go towww.multimedia.bell-labs.com.
Users wishing to utilize davidbowie.com as their Internet serviceprovider will pay a fee of $19.95/month. For a limited time the firstmonth's fee will be waived. For those users wishing to remain with theircurrent provider, access to davidbowie.com can be obtained for a monthlyfeeof $5.95. Music fans choosing full Internet service will receive aCD-ROM containing the customized browser along with two classic liveBowieaudio and video tracks never before released to the public. As aspecialbonus, there will be an exclusive encrypted newly recorded audio trackwhichwill unlock via the Internet. UltraStar is a management technology partnership thatspecializes in the arena of Internet services, bringing majorentertainment,sports and fashion clients to the world in a community-based forumdeliveredover the Web. UltraStar's philosophy is to allow users a personalexperience with their favorite personalities via the Internet. Neverbeforehas there been a gateway where the private and public worlds of famousfigures has been opened with the continued support, input and materialsofeach star. Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J.,designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and privatenetworks,communications systems and software, data networking systems, businesstelephone systems and microelectronic components. Bell Labs is theresearchand development arm for the company. For more information on LucentTechnologies, visit the company's web site at www.lucent.com.