Samuel Cruz-Lara, LORIA / INRIA Nancy Grand Est, France
Many of today’s applications embed textual chat interfaces or work with multilingual textual information. The MultiLingual Information Framework (MLIF) [ISO FDIS 24616] is being designed in order to fulfill the multilingual needs of today’s applications. Within our research activity for the MLIF standard, we developed the Multilingual-Assisted Chat Interface, which intends to help people communicating in virtual worlds with other people who do not speak the same language, and to offer a new possibilities for learning foreign languages.
By developing this application, we also wanted to show the advantages of using web services for externalizing computations: we used the same web service for two virtual worlds: Second Life and Solipsis. In this presentation, we first propose a short analysis of social interactions and language learning in virtual worlds. Then, we describe in a technical way the features, architecture and development indications for the Multilingual-Assisted Chat Interface. This work is partially supported by the ITEA2 Metaverse1 (www.metaverse1.org) Project [ITEA2 07016].
J.H.A. (Jean) Gelissen, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships, Philips Research Lifestyle Program, Netherlands
Virtual worlds (often referred to as 3D3C for 3D visualization & navigation and the 3C’s of Community, Creation and Commerce) integrate existing and emerging (media) technologies (e.g. instant messaging, video, 3D, VR, AI, chat, voice, etc.) that allow for the support of existing and the development of new kinds of networked services. The emergence of virtual worlds as platforms for networked services is recognized by businesses as an important enabler as it offers the power to reshape the way companies interact with their environments (markets, customers, suppliers, creators, stakeholders, etc.) in a fashion comparable to the Internet and to allow for the development of new (breakthrough) business models, services, applications and devices. Each virtual world however has a different culture and audience making use of these specific worlds for a variety of reasons. These differences in existing Metaverses permit users to have unique experiences. In order to bridge these differences in existing and emerging Metaverses a standardized framework is required, i.e., MPEG-V Media Context and Control (ISO/IEC 23005), that will provide a lower entry level to (multiple) virtual worlds both for the provider of goods and services as well as the user.
Roland Geraerts, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
Navigating within Second Life can be hard, especially for novice users. We provide a way to assist the user. This assistance can be used in any virtual world. We have studied and implemented techniques for automated navigation such that user can easily navigate through the world without directly controlling the motion of the avatar. He/she is led to and along interesting places in a smooth way.
The user can travel through the world by using a flying device, such as a virtual air-scooter or magic carpet. This device contains a dashboard with a map of the world. By clicking on a place on the map, the device flies to the indicated position, using a smooth motion, avoiding collisions and leading the user along interesting locations on the route. While traversing this route, a smooth camera motion is provided which gives the user a clear view of the environment.
We are currently dealing with path planning for thousands of characters in real-time in dynamic 3D environments. The preliminary results are promising.
Dr. David Oyarzun, Head of the 3D Animation and Interactive Virtual Environments department, Vicomtech, Donostia / San Sebastián, Spain.
Vicomtech (Visual Interaction and Communication Technologies Centre) is an applied research centre for Interactive Computer Graphics and Multimedia located in the Technology Park of San Sebastian (Spain). Vicomtech is a non-profit association, founded by the INI-GraphicsNet Foundation, with the Fraunhofer-IGD as founder member, and the Basque Television, Radio and Broadcasting group EiTB. It is currently formed by 16 members.
Vicomtech works in a applied research in the following six application areas:
* Digital TV & Multimedia Services
* eHealth & Biomedical Applications
* eTourism & Cultural Heritage
* 3D Animation & Interactive Virtual Environments
* Industrial Applications
* Human Speech & Language Technologies
Sigurd Van Broeck, Senior Research Engineer, Bell Labs, Antwerp Belgium.
The PresenceScape system is a business tool that was primarily developed for use by a small group of people that reside in different geographical locations and have a need for better day-to-day communication to realize results at the speed of ideas. To achieve this goal, the PresenceScape system uses a 3D virtual environment to visualize presence and availability information in 3D providing as such a far more intuitive visualization then what current presence tools have to offer. The PresenceScape system also provides a data-driven configurable always-on communication channel enabling team members to engage in ad-hoc communications at any time about work, sports, politics, art, and other interests that will eventually strengthen team bonding and lead to better team results. The interface of the PresenceScape system was submitted to the ISO MPEG-V consortium guaranteeing interoperability with other graphical or textual presence tools. In the business area, the PresenceScape system therefore intends to interface with, complement or partially replace one or more commonly used communication and presence tools like mails, conference calls, chat rooms, voice groups, blogs, instant messaging, twitter, and other synchronous or asynchronous tools.
Vincent Verdot, Researcher, Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, France
The major research challenge we are addressing is to design how to connect people who are potentially located in different, heterogeneous, environments. Hopefully this “Hybrid Communication” problem corresponds to a real need and isshared with all the actors of Virtual Worlds.
- Customers. Providing intra-world communication features is just obvious but users also need to connect with the “outside” (e.g. friends). But connecting worlds implies connecting identities which must be handled carefully, e.g.“SupaNoobKilla” may not be the most appropriate ID with your boss. So we should simultaneously ensure privacy and reachability but also the communications mean exposure and its control.
- Service Providers. Integrating generic and interoperable communication functions would be a great advantage fordevelopers, accelerating the deployments, easing the maintenance and most of all connecting their users to an unlimited number of potential new customers (free advertising). In return, third-parties (such as telecom operators) can then easily benefit from the openness of the model, leveraging new revenue opportunities. We adopted a pragmatic and generic approach, using the Web as an interoperable pivot between heterogeneous Worlds. Thus, the technology developed in the Hybrid Communication dpt. of Bell Labs consists in:
• The Web Exposure Framework. A flexible Web communication model based on hyperlinks.
• The Web Media Gateway. A network component which enables the physical interconnection of heterogeneous environments (e.g. Web, mobile, etc).
• Unified API. Fine-grained interfaces enabling external applications to fully and generically control the communications.
We implemented several prototypes based on Solipsis (Orange Labs’ open source virtual platform) and the massively multiplayer online video game World of Warcraft, demonstrating the ability to establish communications between Virtual and Real Worlds, and so by reusing legacy telecommunication infrastructures (PSTN, 3G, Web, platform’s communication features, etc).