Posted by: Morten Nobel-Jørgensen | December 1, 2013

Impressions from Siggraph Asia – Hong Kong 2013

Siggraph AsiaFinally attended my first Siggraph conference – something that I have been wanted to do since I rendered my first triangle. Here are the highlights of my trip – note that I very likely have missed a lot interesting sessions (they were often located in the same time slot).

Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline


First impression of Hong Kong
When arriving to Hong Kong Monday evening the skyline blew me away. Amazing how they crammed so many skyscrapers into so little space. I took the train from the airport to Hong Kong station and walked to the hotel. The walk was a bit more difficult than I had imaged; Due to the limited space there is often no sidewalk – instead you have to walk through building, which makes it a little bit harder to follow directions from Google Maps.

Siggraph Asia – Keynotes

Thad Starner Professor of Computing Georgia Institute of Technology

Thad Starner

The first keynote was “Wearable Computing: Through the Looking Glass” by Thad Starner (Georgia Institute of Technology). When Thad was a freshman at the university he felt that during the lectures he was torn between on one side paying full attendance to the lectures, which made him understand the topics but the knowledge would only last for a few weeks, and on the other side trying to create good notes during, which had the side effect that he was unable to pay the needed attendance to the lectures. He solved this classic dilemma in a fairly obscure way; he started wearing a computer with a monitor in front of one of his eyes and a one-hand keyboard (Twiddler). Since then he had worn a computer, which allows him to easily take notes, search for answers, etc. His talk described how wearable computers have evolved and how it has turned into the Google Glass project, where he is the technical lead. I was a bit surprised to see that the Google Glass project is not just a technology wonder but also quite magnificent in terms of usability. It is easy to see whenever a person is using the Google Glass, since the monitor is transparent and can be seen by other people. Besides both the voice commands and the touch interface makes it easy to see when a person is using the Glass.

Philip Rosedale Founder, Second Life/Linden Lab Co-founder, High Fidelity

Philip Rosedale

The second keynote was by Philip Rosedale – the founder of Linden Lab (Second Life) and co-founder of a new company called high fidelity. The talk was about “The Revenge of Virtual Reality” and focused on where virtual reality is now and where it is going. He also had a small real-time demo of his next big thing, which worked somewhat ok until the audience was asked to participate, which was quite unsuccessful.


There was a lot of interesting talks. Here are some the best and most entertaining talks I attended.

Khronos DevU

Khronos DevUI also attended the Khronos talks about OpenCL and WebGL. The main thing that caught my attention was the focus on mesh compression using Scalable Complexity 3D Mesh Compression codec MPEG-SC3DMC, which is now open-sourced under the MIT-License [Link]. While the SC3DMC is not really Khronos related it is planned to be used the glFT (OpenGL Transmission Format) for 3D assets, which is currently in a Khronos public draft specification. [Slides]

Computer Animation Festival – Electronic Theater

The last night at Siggraph I attended the 2-hour overview of the computer animation festival. Some of the best shorts of the festival is already available online (click on the pictures to see the movies):

5 Meters 80

5 Meters 80

Chicken or the Egg

Chicken or the Egg





Shave it

Shave it


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