2/18/2004 - Traditionally, only desktop operating systems have offered 3D graphics, making 3D user interfaces difficult or impossible to implement on embedded devices. But that’s no longer true, thanks to new technology previewed by QNX Software Systems.
With release 6.3 of the QNX® Neutrino® RTOS, QNX becomes the first RTOS vendor to offer native support for 3D graphics and multi-layer user interfaces. This integrated support not only helps embedded developers get up and running quickly, but, unlike other offerings, saves OEMs the costs and integration hassles of purchasing third-party 3D software and technical support.
Optimized for in-car navigation systems, process control applications, medical instruments, and other mission-critical embedded devices, QNX’s new 3D support can work with or without a windowing system, giving developers flexibility and control over their memory footprint. Moreover, it’s based on the Mesa 3D library, an open-source implementation of the OpenGL standard that allows developers to leverage a rich pool of 3D programming expertise and source code.
Designed for high performance, QNX’s implementation supports multi-buffering to deliver smooth, flicker-free animation. It also employs the graphic card’s 3D engine to deliver hardware-accelerated alpha blending for both 3D and 2D graphics. Conventional implementations provide this acceleration for 3D only.
Highly flexible, the new implementation can render 2D and 3D graphics directly to various elements, including windows, user-interface controls, hardware, and layers. Developers can, as a result, integrate a variety of 2D and 3D displays into a single, dynamic user interface. For instance, by using layers-capable hardware, a developer can seamlessly blend two layers, one displaying menu buttons and the other a scrolling 3D map, with no performance lags.
“Embedded engineers can now create 2D and 3D interfaces that are more engaging, more dynamic, and, in many cases, more useful than conventional text-based or 2D graphical displays,” said Darrin Fry, GUI development manager at QNX Software Systems. “Better yet, they can combine this high-impact visual experience with the ‘bullet proof’ reliability of the QNX Neutrino RTOS, an operating system designed from the ground up for high-uptime embedded systems.”
Also at Embedded World, QNX unveiled native support for multi-headed graphical displays. The support comes in two forms. The first allows a single head unit to support multiple monitors, with each monitor displaying a different view. This approach eliminates the cost of deploying multiple head units, making it ideal for markets such as in-car infotainment. The second approach allows multiple monitors to share the same view, providing improved usability and convenience for a variety of environments, such as industrial control.
QNX also demonstrated its new QNX VoyagerTM 2 web browser, which delivers feature-rich web access on almost any size display. Highly scalable, the QNX Voyager 2 browser is based on ACCESS Netfront technology and provides up-to-date support for HTML 4, XHTML, SSL, WAP, and WML, plus dynamic content rendering for ultra-small screens.
All three technologies — the 3D API, the support for multi-headed displays, and the QNX Voyager 2 browser — are compatible with the QNX Photon microGUI® windowing system, the native GUI for the QNX Neutrino RTOS. Based on an innovative microkernel architecture, the QNX Photon microGUI offers a customizable look-and-feel, an extensible multimedia framework, and support for multi-lingual interfaces, all on a very small memory footprint.
Visitors to the Embedded World conference can get a first-hand look at the new 3D graphics capabilities and Voyager 2 web browser by visiting the QNX booth: Hall 11, Stand 322. All the new features will be supported by the QNX Momentics® development suite v6.3, slated for commercial release in Q2 2004.
About QNX Software Systems
Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems is the industry leader in realtime, microkernel OS technology. The inherent reliability, scalable architecture, and proven performance of the QNX Neutrino RTOS make it the most trusted foundation for future-ready applications in the networking, automotive, medical, and industrial automation markets. Companies worldwide like Cisco, Ford, Siemens, and Texaco depend on the QNX technology for their mission- and life-critical applications. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, QNX Software Systems maintains offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, and distributes its products in more than 100 countries worldwide. Visit http://www.qnx.com
QNX, Momentics, Neutrino, and Photon microGUI are registered trademarks of QNX Software Systems Ltd. in certain jurisdictions. Voyager is a trademark of QNX Software Systems Ltd.
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