Key Messages for VPL announcement


*Sun has acquired from Thompson CFS and Greenleaf Medical, the

complete worldwide rights to the patent portfolio and technical assets

of VPL Research -- the pioneer of virtual reality technology and

networked 3D graphics.


*Sun will incorporate the technology protected by the VPL patents,

which extends beyond virtual reality to networked 3D graphics, human

body based input and 3D window systems, in its own Java 3D API and

networked 3D graphics products, as well as make the technologies

available to partners in the same manner that it makes available

technology developed directly by Sun.


*Sun has long been an innovator in the area of virtual reality, 3D

graphics, and open standards. The first paper on virtual reality was

written in 1965 by current Sun Fellow Ivan Sutherland and Java 3D is

rapidly becoming an industry standard. The acquisition strengthens

Sun's already strong intellectual property position in 3D graphics



*Virtual reality and networked 3D graphics have impact beyond

entertainment (arcades, web-based network games) to areas of MCAD,

medical imaging, training and simulation, product development and

testing -- any instance where large databases of representative

information (often involving multiple senses) are used interactively

across a network.


*This acquisition is important to Sun because it involves real-time

computer-generated 3D synthetic environments, which many experts

believe are rapidly becoming the user interface to the Internet. As

this comes to pass, this technology will likely impact most commercial

and non-commercial uses of computers for interactive communications in

the next decade



Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Anne Little 650-786-6702


Burson-Marsteller for Sun

Jessica Kersey 650-287-4006






As Open Standards, These Fundamental Patents will Impact Interactive

Consumer and Industrial Communications and Applications


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- February X, 1998 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc.

today announced it has acquired the patent portfolio and other

technical assets of the former VPL Research Inc., a pioneering firm in

the field of virtual reality and networked 3D graphics, from Thompson

CSF and Greenleaf Medical. Under the agreement, Sun has acquired the

worldwide rights to more than a dozen key patents and related

technologies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


The technology and patents relate to fundamental concepts of virtual

reality and networked 3D graphics, including networked computer

interaction, datagloves and other computer wearables, image rendering

and manipulation, and standards for programming software for virtual

environments. The acquisition represents the latest development in

Sun's long history of innovation in virtual reality and networked 3D

graphics. Sun Fellow Ivan Sutherland wrote the first paper on

virtual reality in 1965, and Sun's Java 3D API is rapidly becoming an

industry standard. In keeping with its policy of developing to and

offering open industry standards, Sun intends to incorporate the VPL

technologies into the Java 3D model and its other graphics products.


"The pioneering work that VPL Research and its founder Jaron Lanier

did in developing virtual reality technology has a substantial

carry-over benefit to the types of advanced graphics capabilities that

Sun is developing, particularly in networked 3D graphics and 3D window

systems, " said Michael Deering, Sun Distinguished Engineer. "As an

open systems company, Sun's acquisition of this important technology

is also good news to companies that have extended many of the advances

within virtual reality into commercial and technical computing."


The VPL patents enhance Sun's own fundamental research and development

for the past ten years in the areas of virtual reality and general 3D

graphics. Sun has long been the leading manufacturer of graphics

workstations used for mechanical computer aided design (MCAD) and

scientific computing. It was the first to introduce stereo-ready

workstations in 1993. Sun's recently announced Elite 3D, the fastest

single-channel, triangle rendering product, is a graphics option for

many of its Ultra workstations, including the new Ultra 5 (tm) and

Ultra 10(tm) workstations announced in January. Other

graphics-related technology advancements from Sun include 3D RAM,

geometry decompression, and Java 3D software.


In the area of virtual reality, Sun has developed virtual holographic

workstations, virtual portals (three-screen immersive projection

displays), the Java 3D View Model (a virtual reality viewing model for

the Java 3D package), as well as a virtual reality authoring and

display package, and virtual camera.


Virtual Reality -- Beyond Sci-Fi and Into Corporations


Virtual reality, which received recognition earlier in the decade for

its impact on the entertainment industry, has recently gained

widespread interest for its importance to the emerging market of

interactive communications. Many experts believe real-time computer

generated 3D synthetic environments are rapidly becoming the user

interface to the Internet. Virtual reality and networked 3D graphics

are becoming a competitive edge for commercial and non-commercial

companies in the areas of MCAD; medical imaging; education, training

and simulation; product development and testing -- any instance where

large databases of representative information (often involving

multiple senses) are used interactively across a network.


VPL Research was a leader in the early development and

commercialization of virtual reality technology and products. VPL

founder Jaron Lanier gained recognition for coining the term "virtual

reality" and became its guru. VPL's groundbreaking efforts and

research have become an important influence on much of the virtual

reality and 3D graphics products that succeeded the company. In

particular, many of the advances that made possible interactive,

networked, 3D games like Doom(tm) and Quake(tm) have derived from the

early work in virtual reality.


"I'm delighted that Sun has acquired VPL's assets," said Jaron Lanier,

Lead Scientist for the National Tele-immersion Initiative, a coalition

of research universities working to create the next generation of

virtual reality applications on the Internet. "Sun's commitment to

open systems and the Java paradigm will provide a superb context for

the formulation of competitive strategies by both VR users and

developers. The next generation of applications will have to deal

with a level of complexity that other leading platforms cannot

address. Virtual reality-based applications will be needed in order

to manage giant data-bases and networks, advanced medical imaging, and

fast turn-around mechanical design. And all of these mega-applications

will have to support real time collaboration over the net. Sun is in

an ideal position to enable this new level of increased productivity."


Greenleaf Medical was an early licensee (1988) of VPL, and has

developed several medical products based on VPL technology. From 1992

until 1997, Greenleaf Medical maintained the VPL intellectual property

and other assets.


"Sun's acquisition is very good news for the virtual reality community

and for everyone who uses computers to interact with information,"

said Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D., president of Greenleaf Medical. "It is

important that open standards be established in this area, and we are

very pleased to see Sun step forward and rescue VPL. We could not

imagine a better steward for this important portfolio of patents."


About Sun Microsystems

Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision, "The Network is the

Computer (tm)," has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) to

its position as a leading provider of hardware, software and services

for establishing enterprisewide intranets and expanding the power of

the Internet. With more than $8 billion in annual revenues, Sun can

be found in more than 150 countries and on the World Wide Web at




Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, "The Network is the Computer,"

Ultra and Solaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun

Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.


Doom and Quake are registered trademarks of ID Software.

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