Using Ontologies to Build Virtual Worlds for the Web

Today, the development of a VR application is still a long and difficult task. You need to be skilled in Virtual Reality (VR) technology to be able to develop a Virtual World. There are several technologies like VRML, Java 3D and X3D available to create 3D for the World Wide Web. To be able to develop a Virtual World for the Web, one needs to know how to use these technologies from a programmer’s perspective or how to use authoring tools supporting one of these technologies. To ease the use of VR, there is a need to have modeling tools that allow the designer to model his Virtual World much more in terms of the domain expert point of view. In this paper, a new approach called “VR-Wise” for designing and developing Virtual Worlds, is introduced. This approach uses the domain expertise to shorten and facilitate the generation of a virtual world. To do this, our approach uses ontologies. As ontologies are describing a domain or part of a domain, the information contained in the ontologies can be used to express the Virtual World in terms of the terminology of the domain for which the Virtual World has to be generated. Therefore, the use of ontologies in our approach can be seen as a way of grasping already available knowledge. This allows a non-VR-skilled person to model his Virtual World in terms of his domain expertise. The proposed approach is in particular interesting for VR on the Web since the Virtual Worlds on the Web are usually limited to desktop VR and do not need the same level of realism and complexity as immersive or augmented VR. Furthermore, with the realization of the Semantic Web, more and more domain ontologies will become available. The proposed approach can open up the development of VR for the Internet to a much broader community.
Publication Reference
Bille, W., De Troyer, O., Kleinermann, F., Pellens, B., Romero, R.: "Using Ontologies to Build Virtual Worlds for the Web", Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference WWW/Internet 2004 (ICWI2004), Volume I, pp. 683 - 690, Eds. Isaias, P., Karmakar, N., Publ. IADIS PRESS, ISBN 972-99353-0-0, Madrid, Spain (2004)