For a long time now, computer graphics have been made mostly out of polygons, which are flat shapes that can be stuck together to make things look three dimensional. An Australian company claims to have done away with polygons completely, allowing for near-infinite graphic detail.
The concept behind the polygon is simple: the more of them you use, the less polygonal computer graphics look. A flat wall might just take a couple polygons to generate, while anything curved or spherical takes a whole bundle of them. In general, more polygons means more detail (and prettier graphics), which is fine, except that more polygons also means that your computer has to work that much harder to draw them all, putting a cap on how many a game designer can use at any given time. This leads to lots of compromises: you want detailed characters? No problem! But the polygons you're gonna need have to come from somewhere, so that plant over there only gets a few and ends up looking terrible.
What an Australian company called Euclideon wants to do is just dump the polygon completely, and instead render graphics in a cloud of points, or "atoms," as they say. Sounds great, except that doesn't having more little things on the screen just make it that much harder for a computer to draw them all? Yeah, you'd think so, especially when Euclideon says that you can use virtually unlimited numbers of them to the point where one cubic inch of Euclideon's virtual dirt contains a million of these atoms, but somehow, they make it work and say that your computer will be able to as well.
See what all the fuss is about in this breathless and entirely too long presentation on the current state of their technology:
Generally, I'm suspicious about dudes with accents making wild technological claims, but if Euclideon can make this work, it really could be the next generation of computer graphics, and polygons will finally be polygone. HA!