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N'Sync lights up the stage with high tech

N'Sync concert goers this summer have exclusive seats to a visual effects show powered by some of the same technology used for PC games.

As N'Sync fans fill up concert halls to listen to the band's pop tunes, they'll also be getting a glimpse into a video, light and laser show that blends some of same technology used for PC games.

WildTangent--long known for its plug-in technology--is now moving from the PC into concert halls by combining its Web driver with 3dMaxMedia's interactive media technology, dubbed Zuma.

During the concert, musician Mobius 8, who is touring with N'Sync this summer, performs with an instrument called the Hydra--a mixture of a keyboard, drum set and body suit. While the musician is using the Hydra to play tunes, he is also controlling the video, lights and multiple lasers for the visual effects show, which concert fans can see behind the stage on a huge screen.

"The ability to translate my music into a visual display gives me the power to actually play the graphics, lights and video for the audience," Mobius 8 said in a statement. "The combination of sight and sound is incredible."

WildTangent said Mobius is able to create the 3D imagery presented to the audience through the interaction of his instrument and the body suit. Mobius' Hydra instrument is connected to a PC with installed Zuma applications. Zuma sends data to the Web driver--the plug-in that is used to stream 3D animations and works with audio players such as WinAmp--and the Web driver generates the images on the screen.

Analysts said a trend is growing in which companies, such as WildTangent, are finding other uses for software and hardware that were once thought of as PC-based only.

Billy Pidgeon, an analyst at Jupiter Media Metrix, said that such applications have uses beyond PCs, video game consoles and other digital technology.

"As digital media migrates beyond the desktop, some of these applications used to enhance digital media on the computer will migrate with them," Pidgeon said. "People are finding uses for this technology (but) technology is not worth much unless you come up with some real-world applications that are entertaining or lucrative."

Founded three years ago by a former Microsoft employee and a Cambridge mathematician, WildTangent said it differs from its competitors in that its Web driver supports 3D animations with real-time 3D rendering. The WildTangent plug-in also supports Java, JavaScript and Vbscript while other technologies use a proprietary scripting language.

"The Web driver is the core technology that allows for the creation of interactive 3D content on a browser," said Doug Wallace, vice president at WildTangent. "We are a technology platform. What this means is that we have powered third-party developers to be creative with rendering animated visuals beyond the desktop for users."

In addition to its plug-in for PC users, the company works with developers such as 3dMaxMedia to build and publish content. WildTangent's content is also available through Sony Pictures Entertainment, WinAmp, MSN's Gamezone and Hewlett Packard's laptop and desktop computers.

In April, the Redmond, Wash.-based company raised $34 million in its third round of financing with investors that included Sony Picture Entertainment and Accenture Technology Ventures.