Imagination showcases Ray Tracing Accelerator at MWC16

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 24 2016 @ 13:08 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Imagination Technologies keeps pushing its hardware-accelerated ray tracing, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the company showed off new demos running on its PowerVR GR6500 GPU. PC Perspective reports the demos used a modified Unify 5 engine and showed off several cool light effects.

Whether we'll see ray-tracing anytime soon in video games remains to be seen, it enables the rendering of very realistic lighting but the performance hit is so big that real-time ray tracing is still elusive.
This graphics processor has dedicated circuitry to calculate rays, and they use it in a couple of different ways. They presented several demos that modified Unity 5 to take advantage of their ray tracing hardware. One particularly interesting one was their quick, seven second video that added ray traced reflections atop an otherwise rasterized scene. It was a little too smooth, creating reflections that were too glossy, but that could probably be downplayed in the material. Back when I was working on a GPU-accelerated software renderer, before Mantle, Vulkan, and DirectX 12, I was hoping to use OpenCL-based ray traced highlights on idle GPUs, if I didn't have any other purposes for it. Now though, those can be exposed to graphics APIs directly, so they might not be so idle.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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