The polygon and a suite of texture-based support technologies have been the mainstay of computer graphics, enabling both rendered imagery and real-time engines to their stuff. Well if we are willing to go with the crew at Unlimited Detail on their journey, this will all change.
[Unlimited Detail promo images via their website]
Their idea is to use search algorithms to deliver each pixel to the screen for us, and through that magic present incredible levels of geometric detail and in real-time. It is hard not to be sceptical, but I do love revolutionary advances, nice as the evolutionary ones are. I am always amazed that I can do a Google search for "pixel" and be told in the blink of an eye that there are 450 million hits on pages, video, images and such. So if our PCs (and mobile devices) can do this as well, and we can turn it to 3D graphics - then that sounds so so so cool. The potential here is off the charts and may well shake up all whole host of things including all the modelling apps and processes we use today, what does it mean for UVs, will this mean a new type of graphics card optimised for this sort of operation...
Here are 3 vide from the Unlimited Detail folk explaining the system: