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Pittsburgh Native Helping To Develop New 3D Technology

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A graduate from North Allegheny High School is involved in the creation of advanced 3D technology that's been presented to both the military in Fort Bragg and here in Pittsburgh on our local waterways.

As nightfall approached, passengers aboard the Gateway Clipper's Empress took in the beauty of the city. But this wasn't just a joyride for Pittsburgh native Marek Lapinski.

"We feel like we can add a significant benefit to navigation on the waterways," said Lipinski.

Lapinski along with his partner at Total 3rd Dimension, based out of California, used the cruise to showcase a new 3D technology where you can take any camera and using special software, show the images on a screen in 3D.

"Just like driving a vehicle. If there's heavy rain or fog, the barge will stop," said Lapinski. "This allows them to see through that low-visibility weather."

Keeping operations moving and giving river pilots depth while they're doing it, the technology was developed primarily to help military operations traveling at night in poor visibility to avoid casualties.

"Just imagine if you were driving at night time with no headlights and looking at a 2d screen. It's basically like watching a black and white TV and trying to judge the depth and trying to drive," says Lapinski. "It's very dangerous."

This is the first time it's been tested on any waterway and proved to be a success.

Port of Pittsburgh Commissioner Jim McCarville says this is just part of a much larger project here in Pittsburgh that many land-locked Pittsburghers may be unaware of.

A wireless network is being built at several locks and dams that will help update the out-of-date communications systems. McCarville describes it as a network of data-sharing.

"We're looking, trying to make it as efficient and modern as possible," he said. "Law enforcement can monitor security breaches. We'll be able to have the opportunity to pass navigation information along."

Right now, Pittsburgh has become a test-bed for new technology to help monitor the waters, share data, and find ways to make the rivers safer.

Lapinski says Total 3rd Dimension is working on producing another model based on the military's recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Port of Pittsburgh hopes the creation of the test bed here will bring in more exciting new technology.

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