30 December 2007

Week 27 Headed to Camp Victory, Iraq

I depart for Iraq via Kuwait this week. With only 90 days until I turn my report, I'll renew my part-time efforts and post progress almost daily. Even though I will not have worked on this grant as expected, I will continue to deepen my knowledge of X3D for usage with North American Public Sector clients open to 3D graphics for their web presence.

I have come across two X3D browsers for mobile devices. One from Italian company that emerged out of the Udine and one from a German company, BitManagement.

I've been learning Enterprise Architect slower than I planned but I've have more time to draft all 10 or so application UML/SysML diagrams in Jan 08.

As I talk to individuals about the concept of human, nature, manufactured goods and services rendered for all three, I get positive responses for the ideas. I haven't had any luck with cold emails to researchers about their thoughts on the topic. I should expect a low reply/response rate so I will turn to the Web3D consortium member priviledges I have to solicit feedback on my work.

08 December 2007

Week 25 and 26

The last two weeks were filled with activities other than building SysML models.

22 November 2007

Week 24 Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne (Harvard Business School Press) is a book I read before applying for this grant. I referenced this book in my application because of its good analytical framework for entrepreneurs to create an business strategy for sustained growth--something very difficult to achieved after attaining blue chip size.

I will discuss a strategy for a company leveraging the power of X3D to enable a blue ocean of value for an individual's life management 3D application, nHand software, which is extensible to enterprise management applications. The discussion will be dual tracked: one for the individual's view and one for the enterprise owners' (i.e., service-oriented and materiel-oriented businesses).

The value innovation (p.16 figure 1-2) is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost according to Kim and Mauborgne. Favorably reducing the time, effort and cost to plan, acquire, manage, and archive one's possessions (i.e., man-made and natural resources) and one's health (i.e, fitness, illness, wellness and diet) from pre-birth thru post-death are the strategic goals.

For an enterprise, the goals include reducing the its cost of doing business--less energy consumption, fewer hectares of land, people and/or floor space, or less insurance without more risk exposure. Increasing nHand buyers value by creating X3D models of traded goods and rendered services that are comprehensively tagged with metadata for applications like nHand software to integrate into one's life story is the other pursuit.

I must say here I'm not talking about "life-logging", per se--this conceptualization is a subset. At the enterprise level, increasing consumers' value means the same--giving the international standard format of the good or service to a buyer for her virtual world so she can manage her efforts towards her goals more effectively than without having access to the cumulative results of her economic behavior.

So how much time does it take and money does it cost to do this to some arbitrary grade and quality?

A benchmark and baseline have to be documented before a claim of reduction is put forward. For the sake of bounding the limits of X3D information creation, integration and accumulation, assume the life span of economic activity is 100 years (= 36,525 days). For now lets just guessimate an average accumulator of wealth with average American health will need 365 GB (that's 10 MB per day) to archive her 100 years of life's property and personal services. I'll flesh out a better estimate as this grant unfolds. One can hold that much data in the palm of there hand today so toting around a 300 GB or 300 TB solid state or biological storage device that is smaller than the palm of your hand a century from now should not be a surprise. I wonder what's the largest X3D model out there now!

Baselining the time and effort one would have to take just to have an integrated economic record of her health and wealth is difficult--I haven't such a record nor do I know anyone who has! So let's assume several things to get a WAG on this blog and move on. First, the average instances of daily economic and health activities (e.g., she goes to the grocery store and buys 50 items, that's 50 X3D models and 50 instances of economic activity, not cash register receipts) over her life of 100 years is 10, so 365,250. Next, assume it takes a minimum of one minute to log each instance, maybe two minutes, so 365,250 - 730,500 minutes or 101 - 202 days! That's 0.138 - 0.277% of her lifetime just transcribing the alphanumeric only data into the paper or electronic log. Who knows how much time would be spent formatting the data and trending plots resulting from aggregrating the data but let's assume 1 - 2 minutes per item as well. Now the time is up to 0.277% - 0.554% of her lifetime for using the composite data for any number of reasons.

nHand software and business partners have to be faster than 4 minutes per economic and health actions while providing more value to her to be compelling to buy. The same goes for an enterprise. The biggest source of error in my time WAG is knowing how much time it takes for format data and generate the kinds of correlation plots to make sense of all the data.

19 November 2007

Week 23 - Sparx Enterprise Architect & SysML

I purchased two software applications to create SysML diagrams (there are 9 diagram types in this UML profile to choose from; UML 2.0 has 13 profiles, which is a criticism of its complexity). The software was installed on the CSC Thinkpad T60issued to me earlier this year. I've finished all the CBTs on Skillsoft that are related to UML. It was a good refresher in a number of topics since my first introduction to OOAD in the Air Force's 5-course curriculum for their Software Professional Development Program (circa 1997).

I feel confident I can create meaningful structural and behavorial diagrams for the nHand mobile application I described in the proposal. I think of nHand as a service to those who want instant access to their human body, earthly possessions and manufactured goods including finanical securities. I expect there will be a few design iterations as I create something, forget about it for a couple of days then revisit my creations, wondering what I was thinking (I'll use the documentation features extensively).

I've created a short list of manufacturers (10) to contact with my short list of questions about their products' design artifacts. I have a similiar list for service providers (10). Thinking about this, I will find each of the ten industrial sector's association or federation to ask the question of X3D exports for consumers of there products and services. I'll try to answer the question, "what's in it for me?" in the letter because if I was to receive an unsolicit letter from a researcher, I would want to know what's in it for me to respond with my thoughts on the questions asked.

I'll take a few paragraphs to brainstorm Blue Ocean business models here because I need to solicit feedback from investors, manufacturers and service providers to move forward on a business strategy in the grant report. The context is at least two dimensional (i.e., time and object type). The letters in the nine cells are placeholders for software applications that serve that market. nHand software, assuming the ubiquity of X3D models for your pieces of earth, your bodily images (all modalities) and your products, will have features that assist reviewing (past), monitoring (now) and planning (future) in these areas.

earth body products

past A B C

now D E F

future G H I

The letters represent the set of companies with solutions in these broad category for the individual. For example, E can be a body and body fat mesurements from a Tanita scal3. We finished then


People first, the X3D format has to be branded as a life-lasting presentation standard for our changing world. This will take millions of advertising and marketing dollars [$] along with word-of-mouth multiplier effects to get the same level of awareness and expectations as say, HTML or PDF in cyberspace. Extant products and services in the marketplace without its X3D implmentation needs it and someone has to run the export feature if available or someone has to reverse engineer it and sell [$] it or give it away. This means more digital storage [$]. Products and services in development with CAD/CAE/CAM documents for all parts, components need to be X3D exportable via CAD...tool upgrades. Someone has to write and sell [$] an X3D export add-on. Finally, for unstarted product developments, X3D formatting has to be a project requirement [$] that is not waived or deviated at any decision point. This means executives need to understand the value of producing X3D versions for all there offerings--they have to a trend of profits in the price chosen to deliver the X3D implementation with real thing and not negatively affect sales. While specifying this is like specifying all extant printed text be implemented in PDF via scanners or retyped by OCR/typists for the powerful features of searching the text etc., I know this will never happen in its entirety because of differences in value of the texts to potential owners and readers. It's only the majority that matters in this enterprise. What you read wasn't a business model but a bunch of tasks and thoughts about making X3D as ubiquitous as packaging that encapsulates the product inside it. I just about having an fleet of mobile 3D scanners making a business of working off the backlog of unavailable X3D models in residents' homes and small businesses by scanning their objects multispectrally for the kind of application I'm attempting to specify and partially design.

Second business model, More X3D software [$], more X3D data transfered [$], more storage required for X3D worlds [$], more processing power for database-driven X3D worlds [$], more energy consumption for X3D interactity, more information integration and summation, more behavior modification, more

Technically, X3D has nodes (~209 now, not including the volumetric proposal for medical apps) for modeling the elements of earth, humand bodies and manufactured items but not everything (100s of thousands) in each of these broad categories, especially the myriad of dynamics between them. For example, humans bleeding, soil saturation from rain, and rusting car metal do not have computationally efficient nodes for a digital content creator.

Nonetheless, Valuation of VR models of real consumer products has happened but not on a large-scale. Just imagine the Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) (ie., Universal Product Codes, European Article Numbers and Japanese Article Number) including an X3D model for everything that gets a code assignment and it being free!

The basic market transformation that has to occur is the wholesale availability of real objects' X3D models in virtual worlds for people to claim as their own and configure their life's possessions in VR for a better management of their future.

I came across the term life-logging today while surfing www.virtualworldsmanagement.com and wondered what that meant. In the VR/VW context it probably means having your avatar's every event logged for review at some point--motion, speech, text, intercourse, location, etc. For an enterprise the analagous term might be business logging.

10 November 2007

Week 22 Using the tool

I purchased Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Professional and the SysML profile for the diagramming I'm ready to start very soon. I'm finishing up the last three UML course on Skillport before studying for the OMG UML certification exams. The UML self-paced learning is on my time. I've charged 65 hours to date for this grant so I have about 350 hours to execute and most of them will be perform in a FULL TIME status during December and February.

One SIGGRAPH2007 contact recently forwarded me an email about a website for the National Digital Medical Archive, https://www.myndma.com/myndma/home/InitHome.do, which is a germane business to the development of nHand software. The first thing you notice is that its national scope, which doesn't necessarily serve the global citizen who gets health care outside the US, nonetheless, the business executives and lawyers who created a strategy to work the privacy issues of medical informaiton exchange between health institutions are to be sought after for a short conversation. I haven't thoroughly reviewed all their web pages but I don't think these guys are like the photographers at the entrance of a rollercoster ride who take your picture hoping you will buy it as you walk by the large color prints while exiting the ride area. I mean, it's not like they are entering aggrements with owners of medical imaging equipment to let them store all medical images for them (i.e., outsourcing the on-line and archival data) so patients can just get access to it later amongst other uses. They do not reveal how they make money, although there is an unaswered question to this effect on one of their blogs. What I don't know are the technical standards (i.e., X3D, MedX3D or DICOM compliant) that might be the enabler to this versus a recent piece of legislation or policy change in several states.

Week 22 Focusing on the Big Picture

So how do understand the big picture of X3D enabled enterprise management software versus personal management software? For the personal viewpoint, you step back and realize there is your body, your manufactured goods, your natural resources and the services for your body, manufactured goods, natural resources and services too. The enterprise viewpoint contains only three building blocks by tradition--land, labor and capital, which are natural resources, human resources, materiel resources and financial resources. In both instances, the transactions between the individual or enteprise and the sellers of goods and services are distributed in space and time. The big picture then is consolidating the distributed for each individual and enterprise who wants the ultimate obeservation to orient their abilities, decide on what to do next and then act on that decision. These steps are taken from John Boyd's OODA loop development and applified to developing a software-intensive system to capture and communicate the chaos of business and life's value-driven behavior.

16 October 2007

Week 19 MedX3D

I am almost finished reading the mailing list postings from 2004 to present for the Med Working Group. The basic questions that I'm seeking will have answers that fill in the Use Cases on nHand software's human body features.

How well does the MedX3D extension to the X3D specification allow extant gamut of human body (i.e., brain waves, blood chemistry, bone density, etc.) measurements to be rendered? There are many imaging modalities in use to digitize human structures and behaviors at the molecular level upwards. When you look at your body like an enterprise with multiple levels of structure (anatomy, physiology, etc.) that has more connections than connectors, you can appreciate the computational challenge of the living hunman representation in 3D and 4D.

I want an X3D-based application for patients (consumers) that captures, stores, supplements, and complements with ontologies for pathological and physiological features and functions all the medical measurements they get throughout their life span. The European Union developed a Strategy for The EuroPhysiome (STEP) that describes the Living Human Project. It involves Grid Computing and 3D visualization amongst a long list of buzzwords.

Just imagine having your electronic health record in your hand that starts with your birth and ends with your death rendered in 3D or 4D with text and audible layers that you can hyperlink to your other records (finanical, criminal, political, etc.) to correlate and contemplate causation. I've pondered a personal portfolio composed of record types that should be all-inclusive for the average American (maybe human being in the civilized world), so far I have the following.

High-Level Personal Records (X3D supported?)

01 Health (mental, physical, vision, dental, sexual, nutritional, etc.)
02 Financial (property owned, outstanding debts, income and expenses)
03 Legal (voting for laws-all levels of govt to breaking them-Crimes! ...documents)
04 Instructional (academic and learning--formal and informal)
05 Professional (paid job or volunteer performance evaluations--self and raters)
06 Navigational (walking, driving, flying, etc.--where have you been and when?)
07 Recreational (lifestyle choices not covered by above categories, etc.)

08 October 2007

Weeks 15 - 18

I focused my discretionary time on a 8,000 word paper and 13-slide presentation for the week-long (24-28 Sep) 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad, India for the last few weeks. That's over and I'm back to working on the X3D grant. I am defining requirements for the nHand applications and analyzing the X3D specification for the architectural solution for a presentation layer.

14 September 2007

Week 14 - Planning for Success

I've been consumed with my writing my paper and presentation for the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad, India next week. The paper is about an Architecture for Earth Outer Space Traffic Management and Control. X3D will be a key technology in the development of space traffic management & control workstations for the web-based emulator and simulator systems proposed in the paper.

I'll visit CSC India in Hyderabad (i.e., Covansys) if all goes well coordinating with Ganesh. Hopefully, they will be open to discussing how 3D graphics might affect their lines of business.

I've started to block out weekly grant activities for the next six months leading to a demonstration of X3D nodes in the current X3D browsers and an estimated 100-page final report (screen shots being the cause of the bulk) with SysML diagrams for an embedded system that uses the X3D format alluded to in the proposal. These features are thought to be scalable to enterprises infostructures small and large but my research will explore how scalable they really are while focusing on the X3D standard and its evolution for enterprise applications.

13 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 6

This was my first and hopefully not last visit to the University of California at San Diego's Supercomputing Center. I carpooled to the Center with Don Brutzman and two others. The X3D Earth Working Group got started about 09:20 am once the 14 participants took their seats. Don Brutzman ran the meeting and our UCSD host was the Chief Scientist. We went around the table and room introducing ourselves and stating the reasons we were in attendance. I was not the only one there in learning mode. There were three others who were all ears during the 6-hour gathering. The host spent fair amount of time describing the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) capabilities and projects.
Justin Couch, Yumetech Inc., gave a short presentation on new specification recommendations for X3D earth. His brief left the audience with a few new nodes to study and comment on. Mike McCann, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, demonstrated MBARI's tools that use GeoVRML for visualizing bathymetry data. He told us that MBARI is migrating those tools to use X3D to exploit it features which do not exist in GeoVRML.
Everyone had lunch in the food courtyard amongst the students in summer session.
The afternoon session was filled with discussions about volume rendering and navigation controls across the X3D implementations. There seemed to be an agreement that vendors need to implement navigation controls uniformly for a base set of controls. Don Brutzman gave me a 156 page publication from the first X3D Earth WG that I read on the flight home. I have thought of a few use cases for X3D earth that I will document later in my grant report.
This meeting officially ended my trip at SIGGRAPH 2007.

12 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 5

Today I started off by attending the multi-user Birds of a Feather hosted by Chris Thorne from West Australia. The 90 minute BOF had three demonstrations. There wasn't much advertisement for this BOF so the attendence was low; about 11 people showed up. The purpose of the BOF was to demo X3D virtual worlds that multiple users could simultaneously interact in. A few members of the Web3D consortuim were present--BitManagement, Planet9 Studios and Naval Postgraduate School/MOVES Institute. A young man from Sweden gave an impressive demonstration that was particularly fast compared to the other demos. The design did not use the extensible messaging and presence protocol (XMPP) like the others. His demo show how digital content creation in a tool could be driven by the commands from another digital content creation tool while the standard based file describing that world was viewed by all DCC tools in that session. The X3D standard is a file format that Web3D Consortuim is leveraging with networking technologies to enable now. Changes to the X3D specification regarding networking multi-users filled the BOF's time after the demos ended.

Afterwards, I interviewed Planet 9 Studios' CEO Dave Colleen for 75 minutes outside the convention hall. I explained my grant proposal and its motivation. He shared several business stories about his customers' projects, how he gets business and how customers are who want X3D enabled applications in their workflow. I was left with the impression that l should let the deep pockets pay for the big and risky ideas that try to "boil the ocean".

My day at the Convention Center ended with sitting in on the Web3D symposium committee. The committee decided to schedule the next Web3D symposium to start a couple of days before SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles. They discussed the implications of coordinating their event with a big management body like ACM SIGGRAPH.

09 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 4

I started today’s events by discussing my grant idea with a few exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall. I was looking for technologies that scanned human body exteriors optically and found a couple. One cornerstone of my application deals with capturing the medical models and data about oneself from service (i.e., health care) providers. A person should be able to request or automatically receive electronically all images (from any equipment or device types) and physiological measurements taken for medical and mental health, nutrition and fitness for their intrinsic value of self-awareness. The X3D Medical working group is addressing this but I will examine the X3D specification recommendations from the Medical WG for its adequacy to support an application that will playback the changes in a person’s body and mind from their medical history. One instance of this could be a time lapsed animation of exterior images taken and using interpolation to stitch them together where data is missing. I think health and fitness professionals should use these measurements to improve their service delivery.
I attended the Web3D Tech Talk, where I had a chance to talk with Octaga’s CTO, John Arthur, about specific interests I had with their tool. I explained the CSC lines of business and what opportunities might exist between us, understanding he is here to assess such things.
My attendance at the Collada Tool chain allowed me to see the Agency 9’s MadLix product, which is the closest to my grant idea. I got to speak to the CEO of this nine person Swedish Company and will have follow up discussions via email.
I sat in on one presentation of the Interaction Tomorrow half-day course in the afternoon. I saw a technology involving a pen device that used infrared imaging of high-density dots printed on wall-size sheets of paper for 3D applications like SolidWorks.
The OpenGL 3 Birds Of a Feather was all about the differences and improvements of OpenGL 3 over Open GL 2. OpenGL 3 hasn’t been released but it will be this year. I realize that implementations of the X3D specification are usually with Open GL. So it was purposeful to listen to the influence of graphics hardware advancement on the design decisions involving this widely used language.
There was a reception at the Embarcadero Marina from 8 – 10pm. I mingled with Web3D consortium members and ate way too much BBQ.

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 3

I started the morning (after a refreshing mile swim in a pool) with breakfast at the Hilton where members of the Web 3D Consortium discuss business and their calendar of events for the next few months. There were approximately eight members present from Yumetech, Virignia Tech, Naval Postgraduate School, CSC(me) and Intelligraphics.
The first course I went to was the M0bile 3D Ecosystem, which started at 0830. I listened to one presenter on game development before leaving for a kewl paper in the Illustration & Sclupture session, which was about cutting planes of multilayered 3D models. The examples demonstrated were from the medical and automotive domains. The software developed is smart enough to know how to remove layers in the human body as the viewing perspective changes along with the adjustable cutting window. The software slides the cutting window along curved objects like tires or translates when the user moves it across rectilinear objects. I left this session after the presenation to attend part of the Intellectual Property & Patent panel
Three panelists, lady from the Disney Corporation, a partner from the Nath Law Group and a patent attorney each presented their views on IP & Patent law. The first attorney presented an argument for patenting movies and scripts because they are processes, which is a term in the 35 USC on patents & IP. He thinks these artifacts of the creative process can meet the three criteria for patents. The second presenter discussed Supreme Court cases involving IP and the relationship between the courts making policy while the legislature passes IP law. I did ask a question about changing the term of patents in light of their comments about the increasing number of patents some of which are found not worthy in hindsight. They said there has been discussion about this but extant recurring requirements for keeping US patents current and the delay in processing patent applications balance most adverse effects of the increase number of patent applications. In Germany, you can get a patent good for only six years.
I also attended Birds of a Feather ACM SIGGRAPH Carto meeting, where I met a professor from the University of Maryland. He was marketing his book on data structures for 3D and geospatial rendering. I explained my grant work to him but he didn’t show much interest. I think four quick demonstrations of 3D geospatial browser/viewers took place during the BOF. The use case for demonstrations was focused on the technical capabilities and qualities like rendering performance of the software. The effort to tag X3D nodes with metadata using the MetaDataObject type in the scene graph appears to be a focus of the work for my grant idea.
On the floor of the Exhibit Hall, I visited the Web 3D Consortium’s booth. There I talked at length with Octaga's CEO, Ola Odegard, CTO, John Arthur, and visual artist, Ivar Kjellmo. I spoke briefly with Yumetech’s engineers Alan Justin and CEO, Alan Hudson. I planned to speak to C-level executives from Plante 9 Studios and BitManagement tomorrow.
I ate dinner with several members in the Web3D Consortium where I rambled about my professional background in the Air Force’s satellite activities over my Chinese Chicken salad.

08 August 2007

Week 8 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 3

I started the morning (after a refreshing mile swim in a pool) with breakfast at the Hilton where members of the Web 3D Consortium discuss business and their calendar of events for the next few months. There were approximately eight members present from Yumetech, Virignia Tech, Naval Postgraduate School, CSC(me) and Intelligraphics.

The first course I attended was the M0bile 3D Ecosystem, which started at 0830. I listened to one presenter on game development before leaving for to hear a paper presentation in the Illustration & Sclupture session, which was about cuttng planes of multilayered 3D models. The examples demonstrated where from the medical and automotive domains. The software developed is smart enough to know how to remove layers in the human body as the viewing perspective changes along with the adjustable cutting window. The software slides the cutting window along curved objects like tires or translates it when an user moves it across linear objects.

I spent the rest of the day listening to a Panel discussion on IP & Patents. I stayed for two of four presenters talks. Then I left to sit in on the Birds of a Feather ACM SIGGRAPH Carto meeting. Nothing much came out of that choice. I did met a textbook author from the University of Maryland afterwards. He wasn't very interested in my work. My last destination for the day would be the Exhibit Hall. There I spent most of my time at Booth 29 where the Web3D Consortium's members were. I talked about my concepts at length with Octaga's CEO, Ola Odegard, Octaga's CTO, John Arthur, and visual artist, Ivar Kjellmo.

The day ended with having dinner at a Mexican restaurant with the Web3D Consortium members.

07 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 2

I attended the Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds half-day course from 0830 - 1215. I thought this topic relevant to my specification for an application that takes pictures or video from the real world and gets augmented by virtual reality objects with behaviors. There were three presenters that discussed the state-of-art in AR and compared its evolution to VR in terms of display technology. The talk focused on the dismounted display technology for AR, which means projectors. Using projectors, some as small enough to hold in your hand, is at the opposite end of the display technogy spectrum of using low power lasers to project images on the retina. There were no papers relevant enough to skip this half-day course.
After lunch, I met with Leonard Daly of Daly Realism about grant specific issues for 75 minutes. I met Leonard via Don Brutzman several months ago. Leonard is the co-author with Don on the first textbook on X3D for Web Authors. I told Leonard I'm investigating how X3D can support the consolidation of humans acquiring 1) land 2) labor and 3) captial. To clarify this general and somewhat meaningless statement, I explained that an individual's goal setting (planning to get stuff and do things), capital acquisition (buying stuff) and its operation (using one's stuff) needs to be supported in one application that brings the spatialized artifacts of these activities together for review, preview and overview based on the computing machinery used to interact with the resulting virtual world. The superclasses of stuff that should cover everything someone (or company) comes to own or possess are land, labor (his or herself) and capital (intellectual, financial and plain on goods). Theses classes correlate to X3D Earth, X3D medical/Human Animation, and X3D CAD Distallation format. The ground, improved or not, that you see in wil be X3D formatted. The humanoid that is you in your VR built from CT scans, PET scans, MRIs, X-rays, blood panels, etc. will be X3D formatted. The land improvements you own and that houses you, your family and your stuff (wardrobe, food, furniture, etc.) will be X3D CAD Distallation formatted. Leonard gave me a couple of ideas to use in the business model I have to develop and the system model for the application that has to make Quicken and MS Money irrelevant. Leonard thinks the social implications, not technical issues, are hold the risk to creating such an application. I mentioned privacy, security and liability concerns arising with the capabilities of this application in my proposal. Once I enurmerate the top ten of these by category, I will take them to key companies or consortia thought to be the bellwether or voice for the collective and discuss strategies to overcome them.
My discussions with Leonard went so long that I could not get into the afternoon half-day course on Sorting in Space: Multidimensional, Spatial, and Metric Data Structures for computer graphics applications. That was ok because I made a schedule chance to attend the X3D Medical working group that started 45 minutes into the course once I read about it on the members page of the consortium. During the working group, I heard about the dozen or so new nodes for MedX3D that the US Army paid Web3D to develop via a grant they won recently. A US Army Broad Area Announcement was the stimulus for their proposal. The Consortium will be submitting a proposal for a $250K grant soon. They will work on six tasks, one being a X3D haptics standard, if they win another grant.
The two hour Electronic Theater at the San Diego Civic Center this evening was fantastic. They show opened with the programmer of Atari's Asteriods (1979) playing his game until he lost all his spaceships. There were many applauds during the whole thing. He was followed by the programmer for the Star Wars (1983) game who did the same. There had to have been 30 short films shown during the remaining 100 minutes. Many had amazing real time rendering of 100M+ particle systems, hair, fur, water, waterfalls, natural lighting, skin tones, etc. The power of Graphical Processing Units and Shaders has taken CG to a new level.

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH Day 2

After my 9km run around the harbor, I got right into the half-day course on Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds (0830 -1215). Three presenters gave a very good review of the state-of-the-art display techniques of blending the real with the virtual on a display system dismounted from the viewer. They briefly discussed the evolution of VR compared to AR with an illustration to show how the two disciplines converged in the last decade. One presenter showed video of experiments and projects that investigated AR using the user's blowing (wind) ability to control VR objects on screen, electrically induced vestibular sensations that caused users to veer left or right at the whim of the person controlling the electrical inputs, and an olfactory simulator where two vortex scents intersect at a precise volume of space to create localized and ephemeral odors. After lunch, I met with Leonard Daly (Daly Realism) to discuss business models and application architecture regarding my grant. He had a couple of suggestions for both that I will note in my report. Repeated discussion of this topic affords me the opportunity to speak concisely about what I'm investigating and why. Leonard was able to tell me what I am exploring with few exceptions. I tell people, I am investigating X3D's capability to support three fundamental possessions of human 1) land 2) labor and 3) capital. Moreover, I'm exploring an application architecture for the operation, acquisition and goal setting behaviors

06 August 2007

Week 9 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 1

I attended three events today. First, I listened two university professors teach a half day course entitled, Introduction to SIGGRAPH and Computer Graphics, which was pretty much worth it only because this is my first SIGGRAPH. They simplying told the audience to plan your participation and stick to it because it is easy to get distracted and leave SIGGRAPH never have taken the opportunity to meet the presenters and find out that something you have been wanting to ask the expert. They even suggested planning a boustrophodonic visit through the Exhibit Hall. I didn't get anything new out of the computer graphics portion of the course because I'm familiar with the field and even reading the 2e of Virtual Reality Technology (hardback) for my grant work. The second event was another half day course. An Interactive Introduction to Open GL Programming was interesting too. Three speakers delivered a fast paced overview of OpenGL 2.0 programming. They even talked about shaders for 20 minutes at the end. The last event of the day was the 2-hr Fast Forward Papers Review. There had to be 3,000 people in attendence for this event. I loved the format. The papers Chair hosted the event and opened it with the state of SIGGRAPH. After he finished his remarks and recognized a special event planner with a plaque and trip to Itay, the paper review got started. Every author had 50-sec, no exceptions, to tell the audience what she/he would talk about for 25 minutes in the paper session. This gave everyone a real good feeling if they truly thought what the paper was about would satisfy their curiosity. Nearly every author had an animation or video clip to show the fruits of she/he labors. I propbably will attend three papers after seeing the review.

I plan to attend the Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds half day course in the morning and the Sorting in Space: Multidimensional, Spatial and Metric Data Structures for Computer Graphics Applications half day course in the afternoon. I chose the Monday evening Electronic Theater when I registred, so I'll be at UCSD at 7pm for that event.

05 August 2007

Week 8 - SIGGRAPH 2007 Day 0

I arrived in San Diego safely by noon. I checked the Web3D members' calendar and found out there are a number of Web3D/X3D working group meetings I can attend. The first one was the Networking WG and they met today at the Westin hotel in the lobby from 2 - 5pm. Don Brutzman, PhD (Naval Postgraduate School), Chris Thorne (PhD student, West Australia), Richard Puk, PhD (Intelligrahics Inc.), and Mitch (3Donline.com) showed up to discuss the software development by Media Machines et al regarding how to route events between virtual worlds such at X3D browser can shared one virtual world across the internet by any number of users wanting to navigate that world. Don talked about network time protocol as a possible solution to synchronization. The issue of discovery (i.e., peer-to-peer networking with apriori knowledge of peers seeking a world to explore or star (central server) spoke topology to notify viewers of worlds available) between the world to explore and explorers seeking worlds was discussed. I brought up subjects concerning my grant work and the guys shared there thoughts. I did hear the CAD Distillation format working group remains dormant but it will be coming to life later this year. The millions if not billions of dollars worth in intellectual property in CAD formats are initial conditions for my Use Cases in my grant. Tomorrow, I will attend the 0830 - 1215 Course 7 Introduction to SIGGRAPH and Computer Graphics. From 1 - 6 pm I will pop in and out of Emerging Technologies if I don't like Course 10: An Interactive Introduction to OpenGL programming started at 1:45 and ending at 5:30pm.

24 July 2007

Week 7 - Requirements & Modeling

I'm in the seventh week of the grant (Fri, 08 Jun 07) period and probably have spent 3 of 450 hours estimated to complete the work I have in mind. I surfed the Qwaq website and found it fascinating. Qwaq Forums is a product that its developers are hoping to have created uncontested marketspace for online collaboration tools, making WebEx, Gotomeeting and others irrelevant.

It's my goal to make MS Money and Quicken irrelevant (in the personal finance software marketplace but others in the business finance marketplace) with a product that integrates CAD data, 3D graphics, virtual reality, and search on mobile to desktop platforms, initially. The key features are the convergence and connection of effortlessly imported virtual objects and their methods for users/owners to see, query, etc. from their mobile or desktop computers to make better decisions (usually additional purchases) by knowing all that have, what they need to get rid of or how they will accomodate what they are about to acquire online or in the store.

I'm still working through Skillport courses on UML on my own time and trying to find a company license of Artisan software with the SysML add-on to capture the requirements I'm generating in a word document.

I plan to talk to Dr. Don Brutzman (Naval Post Graduate School), Alan Hudson (Yumetech), Leonard Daly (Daly Realism), et al in the X3D community and the Web3D consortium while attending SIGGRAPH2007. I'll make an attempt to visit local Washington DC ACM SIGGRAPHH chapter members for hints on how to get the most out of SIGGRAPH too.

18 July 2007

SysML tool access (week 6)

The access to COTS software tools to create SysML (systems modeling language) diagrams is underway. I am awaiting a fellow company employee with access to one of these expensive tools to grant me access on a non-interference basis. These tools can cost up to $7,000 a seat!

I'm going through the Skillsoft CBTs on UML to be sure I'm using the right diagram for the systems model. SysML uses many elements of UML. SysML adds parametrics and requirements constructs to the constructs of UML for satisfying systems engineering needs.

13 July 2007


My copy of Virtual Reality Technology (ISBN: 0471360899) by Burdea and Coiffet arrived and I skimmed it.

I've read through the 30+ page advanced program for the SIGGRAPH2007. I visited all 191 exhibitors's web sites just to bookmark them and determine if I want to visit their booths at SIGGRAPH. There a five courses I have targeted: Su, State of the Art in Massive Model Visualization (full day 0830-1730); Mo, Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds (half day 0830-1215) and Sorting in Space: Mulitdimensional, Spatial and Metric Data Structures for Computer Graphics Applications (half day 1345-1730); Tu, The Mobile 3D Ecosystem (full day); We, Advanced Real-Time Rendering in 3D Graphics and Games (full day).

I chose the courses I did to serve the interestes of the Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence involvement with Finite Element Modeling of naval vessels, which are large (GB scale) datasets of meshes. And I have a potential role in developing the features of BMPCOE's web applications. I want to make virtual reality part of our web site experience where and when it adds value. Specifying and integrating acoustics, 3D graphics and semantics of manufacturing to create that value will be the challenge. One BMPCOE applications developer who is familiar with CG and BMPCOE would use resources for other SD activities if given the choice to pick one or the other.

I also chose the courses to learn about the system engineering considerations of designing a platform independent application for someone (the actor) who wants an interactive, virtual world (the area) of their economic activity and artifacts to aid planning and decision making.

09 July 2007


The Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Graphics 2007 (5-9 August 2007) will be a tremendous opportunity to learn and network with the who's who in computer graphics, storage, display technologies etc. I will prepare to make the most out of SIGGRAPH2007 by compling a list of questions for exhibtors and authors. The conference program is 31 pages. There are 191 exhibitors and I haven't summed the number of presenters in the preliminary program. There is an education track at SIGGRAPH2007 so I will carefully pick which classes I will attend because the paper sessions go in parallel and there are must see/hear presentations too.

Besides thoroughly reading the X3D specification, amendment and revision before participating in SIGGRAPH2007, I have started a listing of generic enterprise application features and functions unique to X3D and possible with ECMAScript and JAVA. I've started to reread X3D for Web Authors but this time I'm working through the examples on the book's web site. By writing nodes and attributes by hand along with changing the values in the examples, I retain the syntax longer and feel more comfortable with the work X3D authoring tools do for me. Mediamachines', Flux Studio is one such X3D content development environment that I use and beta test.

Closer to home, I have started that home inventory listing mentioned in the grant proposal. The goal is to use the my economic activity and artifacts from it as the test data for investigating X3D's potential for the consumer market. This means completing my home inventory including the home itself. And attempting 100% contact with all manufactureres and service providers I have done business with using a letter sent by email asking about and suggesting the value to X3D add-ons to their goods and services. Integrating the payment card industry in the letter will be necessary to explain how they might increase revenue and profit by investing in X3D models of their goods and services. My initial guess of the volume of correspondence I'll send out (and forget about because reponses are not in the critical path of completing this grant work) will be 500! It should be interesting to read any resplies.

05 July 2007

X3D browsers, viewers, players, modellers, exporters, etc.

Every since I stumbled upon VRML and X3D I wondered about a middle ground of features between a VR professional development environment and a VR browser. It is one thing to be able to read and render a scene graph or play animations but it is another thing for an application be able to author nodes and script animations for others to view and play.

The 'end game' for my grant work has me specifying an application and network that let's a user interact with a scenegraph (to actually reposition and reorient objects to start with) but record and save some or all of those interactions to a new scenegraph or overwrite the existing one. This will be memory intensive if you consider a 80-year lifespan of reconfigurations and reorientations. Remember, X3D is supposed to extensible and so survive generations of computer hardware and operating systems. This feature is not recording the trajectory of the viewer or rendered scenes in his/her virtual world. Although, may be this feature would be of value to some, it's equivalent to the history feature in html browsers. This feature is time stamping and recording the avatar's interaction with the nodes, like turning and translating objects in his/her's VW. And gravity is turned on so things get crushed, roll, fall off objects and dropped to the earth (sink through water if present) if nothing strong enough brings it to rest. Electromagnetic changes of objects but not biological and nuclear interactions would be simulated as a function an avatar's input too. These sort of features are Computer-Aided Engineering type of features that will challenge the handheld device's CPU but not a server's if the VR is access via a handheld computer. Distributed computing design options will be addressed near the end of the grant after a static analysis of computation and network can be performed.

Serving up innovate displays of patterns of behavior and just trends about changing attributes of interest over user-defined objects will be new features to make VR a powerful tool to a decision maker. For example, a homemaker or corporate IT manager might set a goal (w/ a date and exact quantity) for a behavior of him-/herself or others that affect his/her VR. The goal could be the repletion or depletion of a class of objects (i.e. a maximum rate regardless of absolute quantity). The application would serve up a transparent 2-D graphic overlaid a zoomed out view of their entire world once the criteria for notification was met. Maybe a click to acknowledge the event would be required to clear the graphic.

04 July 2007

iKnow (nHand) X3D Use Cases

The effort to take inventory of my home was the impetus for this project. My goal is simple. Create a labor easy way to consolidate, manipulate, investigate, and delete everything that I own and experience in virtual reality. Why? Because I want my VR on or accessible via a portable computing device to support decision making in realtime. Moreover, I want to be able to share my VR with trusted agents, merchants, etc. at various levels of detail anywhere and anytime I have my portable computer or access to the internet where I can host my VR just like this blog.

Exactly how many items and how much of life's experiences do I want to consolidate in my VR? What value does such consolidation have as a function of time, effort and content? Is there an uncontested market for providing quantified patterns of behavior and belongings to someone via a handheld device or other computing machinery? From a business perspective how many assets and liabilities from the transactions its agents perform have value being in its VR vice in electronic databases that feed charts and graphs? I will attempt to answer these questions in part and whole through use cases which correlate the features of X3D, scripting languages, complied languages, and other technologies with requirements for a VR system.

For the sake of brevity and market identity, I'll refer to this VR system as iKnow or nHand. The software and hardware names come from my idea that users of such a system are people who find themselves away from there belongings but in the marketplace replying to urgent or important questions with "I'm not sure if I have...", I don't know what...", I can't remember what's..." and "I wish I brought...so I could...". The end user, once equipped, will be able to say, iKnow... and it's right here, nHand!

I can't forget the use cases for anthropomorphic modeling, rendering and data convergence of human body measurements for (mental) health care, nutrition and wellness. This vein of investigation will be shallow and narrow compared to the manufactured goods but not overlooked, for its appeal to businesses in health care and the consumer market could be the greatest because of human egoism. The need for frequent and precise measurements of the human body and mind to create the highest resolution replay of their condition means more sales of equipment with X3D capabilities in the home and the office of health care and other service providers.

03 July 2007

2008 LEF Grant - First Steps

This is my first blog! I will we use this blog to document my investigation of X3D (ISO/IEC 19775) for the next generation of enterprise applications. I believe 3D multimedia features in enterprise applications will be a next step for the web application developers and customers will be seeking virtual reality technologies in their enteprise solutions to optimize their tangible reality.

My investigation is not basic research to solve fundamental technical challenges of bringing the 3D experience to users--developming materials for pliable/flexible large and tiled displays, tuning parallel programs, optimizing distributed computers running in parallel, precision control with haptic devices, refactoring object-relational databases for supply-chain applications, etc. Instead what you will read here are the research notes of specifying and engineering X3D-enabled solutions to tie a chain of maturing technologies so the life span of tangible goods (and some services) and groupings of them have a virtual implementation and value that are more accessible (i.e., interactive), portable, self-describing, and animated for viewers, managers, and owners. It will be the successful integration of X3D, Computer-Aided Design tools, Computer-Aided Engineering programs, Payment Card Industry networks, GPUs, CPUs, massively dense memory devices, High-Order Languages (e.g., JAVA and ECMAScript), and TBD others that will effectuate the next killer 3D enterprise applications.

I read X3D: Extensible 3D Grpahics for Web Authors by Brutzman and Daly prior to applying for the grant. Unfortunately, their book does not cover the CAD Distillation Format, which is the source of the digital content I will be investigating for integration. How to create content with development tools for art or the imagination is not my focus. Nevertheless, I will take a quick look at the effort to complexity ratios of X3D models from a consultancy perspective.

I've downloaded the leading X3D browsers and free digital content creation applications. My evaluation of them is ongoing. I completed the Skillsoft courses on Javacript language basics to understand the capabilities of client-side scripting in the context of compiled program languages capabilities like JAVA, which X3D has bindings for. I will have to allocate functions and features to 3GLs, Scripts, X3D and other technologies as part of the systems engineering. Moreover, I will attempt to identify necesary changes to the technologies best suited but still lacking in features to integrate an abstract lifecycle solution for an enterprise. Business barriers will be identified too.

As a systems thinker, I will take several moments to describe the demonstration I intend to make available and the outline of the report. My subsequent efforts limited budget will be focused on delivering those two products and I should be able to keep my inquiries brief in the enticing and related VR technologies like haptics, spatialized audio, geomatics (i.e., GeoVRML --> X3D Earth), humaniod animation (i.e., H-anim), and computer hardware and network gizmos.