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.