Navy decimates data overload
- By Florence Olsen
- Jan 26, 1998
Under contract with the Navy, Muse Technologies Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M., will adapt
its Multidimensional User-oriented Synthetic Environment (Muse) to cut training time at
the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and improve sonar interpretation and decision making.
The Navy requested a version of the multisensory Muse environment to run under
Microsoft Windows NT on the desktop PC. The Unix-based shell software, which includes user
interface tools and controls for interactive devices, currently runs only on high-end Sun
Microsystems Inc. and Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations.
The Navy also purchased Muse Technologies' Continuum. The real-time network version of
Muse lets users collaborate over a network.
The application-independent shell environment aids in understanding any type of
computer-based information from sources such as sonar, weather instruments and undersea
topographical maps, said Creve Maples, president and chief technical officer of Muse
Maples formerly headed Sandia National Laboratories' Synthetic Environment Lab, where
research scientists first developed Muse to make themselves more productive in using
Sandia scientists often need to understand up to 30 dimensions of data related to an
Muse can speed up by 10,000 and 100,000 times their perception and understanding of
problems that cut across disciplines, Maples said.
NASA will use Continuum for its Integrated Spacecraft Design Environment, a virtual
reality network connecting design facilities at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif., to other NASA centers at Moffett Field, Calif., Hampton, Va., and Houston.
The space agency already has used Muse to simulate from different angles a planned
35,000-mile-an-hour encounter between its Stardust spacecraft and the Wild-2 comet in
The Muse Technologies operating environment eliminates the need to write a
human-computer interface or to write to hardware devices, Maples said. Because it removes
user communication from the coding process, applications that run in the environment take
fewer lines of code.
"We've separated the user, so the user isn't talking to the application program
any more," he said. "We've changed the way software is developed."
Muse Technologies' Muse developer licenses start at $30,000.
Muse requires at minimum a flat screen, keyboard and mouse. If you add other devices,
it will adapt an application to them in real time, Maples said. Muse can accept voice
recognition, speech synthesis, sound generation and tactical feedback simultaneously, he
The company develops new readers, which are "simply ways of putting information
into the Muse environment," Maples said.
The speed and flow of data between human and computer matters more than how fast the
computer runs, because people "are roughly a million times faster and more effective
at processing large quantities of information than any computer," he said.