Blog Category: virtual worlds

Business value of the immersive internet


Just out last week: a survey report from Erica and Sam Driver of ThinkBalm on the business value of immersive internet technologies and applications. By “immersive internet” they mean a culture developing around a media-rich cloud of emerging technologies including virtual worlds, mobile devices, social apps, the semantic web, and gaming.

Here’s the report (PDF).

Key findings are nicely summarized here. This report supports our own findings at FXPAL in experimenting with different uses of several different virtual world platforms: “The most common barriers to adoption are target users having inadequate hardware, corporate security restrictions, and getting users interested in the technology.”

Science of Chocolate on KQED


You can get a look at our Virtual Factory and some of our molecular dynamics animations on “The Science of Chocolate” which is showing tomorrow night on Channel 9 (in the Bay Area) as part of the KQED Quest series. The story is focused on the hows and whys of chocolate making, not on our Virtual Factory project, but it’s still fun to see some of our work on the air.

Model of a theobromone molecule

Model of a theobromine molecule

All these 3D models and animations were created by FXPAL’s resident Art Guy, Tony Dunnigan, with Sagar Gattepally handling the virtual world construction; the video embedded in-world was shot by John Doherty.

The show is on tomorrow night, June 2nd at 7:30PM on KQED, Channel 9; and will also commence streaming on the KQED web site as of tomorrow.

UPDATE: oops, this show was pre-empted for pledge programming! This Quest segment is re-scheduled for June 16 at 7:30 PM.

JCDL 2009 and Second Life

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The ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL)  2009 program is up. The conference will take place June 15-19 in Austin, TX.  It looks to be a good conference, featuring two keynote speakers:  Christine Borgman, Professor & Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA and Gerhard Fischer, Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning and Design and a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

There is a new wrinkle to the Poster Session: In addition to the physical posters at the conference site, there will be a parallel Second Life session  that will allow remote participation from those who were not able to make it to the conference. Once the (virtual) poster selection is finalized, instructions on how to get to it through Second Life will be posted on the conference web site (and echoed here).

High Tech Chocolate: FXPAL at PARC Forum

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The PARC Forum last week featured Timothy Childs of TCHO with a cameo appearance by (ahem) me. The talk was part of a “Risk Takers” series at the PARC Forums, hosted by Linda Jacobson (who Timothy and I both knew from Web3D long ago – small world!).

The talk was primarily about TCHO’s re-invention of the chocolate production process, starting with the cacao farmers in countries like Peru and Ghana. The FXPAL/TCHO collaboration, which focuses on applying emerging technologies in a real-world industrial setting (the chocolate factory) is discussed starting at about 23:00 in the streamed video.

Sadly, though we do a lot of multi-modal media and interface work here, we are not yet equipped to provide chocolate tastings on this blog.

Noto bene: you might want to FF past some start-up kerfuffle (recalcitrant new laptop, USB drive troubles, projector connector troubles, finally solved by Ed Chi to the rescue with just the right cable). Talk really starts around 1:30.

Theobromine molecule

Theobromine molecule

Event: Women at work in virtual worlds

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SDForum’s Virtual World SIG  (which I co-chair) and Women in Technology SIG celebrate Ada Lovelace Day by holding a joint SIG meeting featuring a panel of women who build, create, and work in virtual worlds. Panelists come from both industry and academia,  and will discuss their work in virtual worlds.

The SIG is Monday, March 23, from 7 – 8:30 PM; networking (and pizza) starts around 6.  It’s held at the Pillsbury-Winthrop offices in Palo Alto, off Page Mill Road. It’s free for SDForum members, $15 non-members.

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Collaborative Information Seeking

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Last June, Gary Marchionini hosted a workshop on Information Seeking Support Systems, which I was privileged to attend. The workshop brought together researchers from industry and academia for two days of stimulating discussion about systems, models of information seeking, and evaluation. One of the results of the workshop was a Special Issue of IEEE Computer that Gary and Ryen White edited.

We published a position paper at the workshop, and followed up with an article for the special issue, out today. We look broadly at collaboration in information seeking, including some motivating scenarios of use, a model of the design space, and a short discussion of roles.

This is the same issue that Daniel mentions in his post.

Update: IEEE says they are undergoing a “software changeover”, and expect the TOC to be up early next week.

Update 2: The online copy is now available from IEEE and on our web site.