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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 29, 2000. All rights reserved.
Employees of Sarnoff Corporation have two chances to
gain equity in publicly traded companies this spring. One Sarnoff
spin-off, Orchid BioSystems on College Road has announced it will
do an initial public offering (U.S. 1, February 23). Another spin-off,
a technology called VideoBrush, was sold to a private company in California
that is just being acquired by a public company. PictureWorks Technology
is being bought by Internet Pictures Corporation of Oak Ridge, Tennessee,
which trades as IPIX.
Sarnoff developed VideoBrush for the military and revamped it for
civilian use. One application, VideoBrush Panorama, uses mosaicing
or what is called video stitching: software to "stitch together"
snippets of live motion video in real time and end up with an elongated
photo. In other words, it can produce still panoramas with a video
camera. Commercial applications include aerial surveying done by those
who manage forests or oil and gas pipelines. Consumer uses might be
for real estate (you see the whole street in one glance, rather than
just one house), for location research for movie makers (same reason),
and for interior decorating (to view a room as a whole).
Other VideoBrush products include Whiteboard, which eliminates the
need to take notes from a flip-chart or whiteboard. It captures the
meeting notes with a couple of sweeps of a video camera, saves them,
and prints them for distribution. Another is VideoBrush Photographer,
which enhances the detail of enlarged photographs by combining two
or more slightly different photos to produce a higher resolution.
The ownership of the Sarnoff technology will, says Jim Phillips, iPIX’s
chairman and CEO, "solidify iPIX’s position as the leader in imaging
for the Internet and will provide our B2B and B2C customers with the
most comprehensive, end-to-end content acquisition and delivery solution
in the market today." His first target will be to enhance offerings
to the real estate market and to new markets that can use large-scale
visual content solutions.
That Sarnoff employees will gain an equity position in iPIX "will
bring true stockholder value to Sarnoff and its employees," says
Norman Winarsky, corporate vice president of internet and multimedia
technologies. "In the last seven years we’ve created 18 venture
companies around Sarnoff technologies and the startup process is accelerating,
so we’re looking forward to more events like this."
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