From: Axel Kohlmeyer (
Date: Fri Nov 12 2010 - 09:41:59 CST

hi everybody,

in recent years interest in 3d visualization and advanced
game controllers has been increasing and started projects
that made those (very affordable) controllers available
for scientific applications; quite similar to how 3d gaming
has evolved graphics processors to a point where we are using
them now to do accelerated computation.

one of those gaming controllers is the "Falcon" produced
by a company called Novint. This is essentially a simple
haptic device (i.e. a 3d-mouse with programmable force feedback).
If you don't know what this is about, have a look at:

while it is normally used to, e.g., simulate the recoil of
a pistol in a first person shooter game, it can also be used
to interact with running molecular dynamics simulations
throught the IMD protocol implemented in the VMD molecular
visualization software, the VRPN virtual reality software,
and several MD programs, including LAMMPS, NAMD, HOOMD-blue.

a while ago, i announced the availability of a VRPN driver
for this device looking for beta testers, i am pleased to
announced now that these tests have been very successful
and the driver is now integrated into the mainline VRPN package.
Also the documentation has been improved and ready-to-use
precompiled binaries (for linux only at the moment) are
available. Please check out:

if you are attending the upcoming Supercomputing 2010 conference,
in New Orleans, you will be able to see several demonstrations
using this software and the 'Falcon' in action and try it yourself,
e.g. at the Nvidia booth or the exhibition of the Leibnitz
Rechenzentrum from Munich, that will do a nifty demonstration
of remote rendering through "VirtualGL", which might be of
interest to some on this list in itself, since they are doing
simulations with large systems and data sets and use parallel
OpenGL rendering.

if you don't own a falcon, but are interested in buying one,
please note that Novint will give you a 20% discount on the
"Falcon" when you use the referral code 'vrpn-icms'.

comments, questions, suggestions are welcome.


Dr. Axel Kohlmeyer
Institute for Computational Molecular Science
Temple University, Philadelphia PA, USA.