Applications and Tools, Business in Virtual Worlds, Visualization in 3D

Europe Drive to Virtual World Innovation

Since the European Union came along, countries in Europe have been more eager to cooperate with one another, with the most dominant example being the creation of the controversial Euro. But now, this cooperative attitude has trickled down into the virtual world/virtual reality industry, as reported at Scientific Blogging.

The developments really began to hit full stride in 2004, with the creation of INTUITION, an EU-funded Network of Excellence that brought together various arms of the virtual reality industry – 58 participants in total – to reach the shared goal of cooperation and a sense of community. And also, of course, to develop products.

“For many of us, this looks like a key technology that could really enable innovation and creation of new jobs, opportunities and products,” Angelos Amditis of the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems in Athens, the network coordinating body, told Scientific Blogging.

Some of the shared resources include “an online knowledge base in VR, a ‘virtual lab’ where partners could use one another’s infrastructure, and an employment exchange and mobility scheme,” said the article. There is also a VR trade exhibition show that is the biggest in Europe. Another group, EuroVR, to come out of Brussels, is notable because of the interest it is garnering in these tough economic times.

“We already have more than 60 organisations interested in taking part,” says Amditis. “Half of them are from the original INTUITION consortium and the other half are outsiders. Even during the current economic crisis people are looking at VR with great interest.”

Amditis estimates that 85 companies have a VR specialty, noting that industrial prototyping – trying out new products and innovations in the virtual space, rather than on costly real-life models – is a growth area. And looking at the INTUITION Web site, there are 11 areas that have a devoted virtual reality working groups: aerospace, entertainment and culture, augmented reality, evaluation and testing, automotive and transport, constructions and energy, haptic interaction, medicine/neuroscience, engineering/design, and VR/VE technologies.

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