Nvidia chairs Emerging Companies Summit

Day two of Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference 2010 saw the company launch the Emerging Companies Summit - a look at start-ups that are innovating with GPU technology.

Jeff Herbst, Nvidia's vice president of business development, introduced the session and was keen to point out that the building of an 'ecosystem' of keen young start-ups looking to implement Nvidia technology was of vital importance to the company, especially given the "sluggish economy" that the world still faces.

The session then moved on to showcase what companies are actually doing with Nvidia's toys. The summit started with Universal Robotics, which is using Nvidia's GPUs as the 'hippocampus' in its robots' brains - processing the data from fifty different input channels ranging from touch, visible-light vision, infra-red vision, and sound to make informed decisions about their actions.

David Peters, founder and CEO of Universal Robotics, described the massively-parallel nature of the input processing work as "a natural setting for GPUs" thanks to Nvidia's GPGPU CUDA technology.

The next demonstration was from OptiTex, which is using Nvidia's GPUs in a very different market sector - fashion. The company has developed software which allows 'digital' clothes to be constructed of varying cloths and patterns before being modeled by electronic actors - which it hopes will eventually result in Internet shoppers being able to see a real-time simulation of their body wearing different clothes and strutting their stuff before making their purchases.

OptiTex is also hoping to put its clothing-simulation work into the gaming arena, leading to more realistic graphics - and company president Joram Burg stated that the ability to place a digital representation of yourself in-game, as with EA's GameFace technology, is "where the technology is taking us."

The medical theme from yesterday wasn't forgotten either, with Useful Progress demonstrating the use of GPU processing technology to create high-resolution 3D models of internal anatomy - enabling, hopes company founder Sylvain Ordureau, faster research in medical science.

The most surprising feature of the summit was the lack of presence from gaming companies.With the first day concentrating mainly on Nvidia's CUDA technology, it was expected that day two would be a return to basics for the company - but as the summit has shown, Nvidia is serious about expanding its customer base way beyond the gaming market.