While most virtual worlds are limited to “thousands” of objects in a single location, OpenSim can support hundreds of thousands, according to a white paper published by Intel this month.
As a result, OpenSim-based virtual worlds — like the Intel-backed ScienceSim grid — can be used to simulate complex environments for training, education, physics and chemistry, natural resources and urban planning.
“The potential for other types of applications is far-reaching,” the company said. “In the health care arena, for instance, physicians might use ScienceSim to simulate the outcome of reconstructive surgery or visualize medical concepts, such as the impact of asthma or smoking on lung function, or how diet affects the circulatory system. Businesses could use ScienceSim to conduct highly realistic virtual conferences, or to collaboratively develop cars or other complex products.”
To help the process along, Intel has put its own resources towards helping the OpenSim community improve performance.
“We’ve contributed a number of patches back to the core OpenSim group that have made it run much more efficiently,” said Mic Bowman, the principal investigator from Intel who is leading Intel’s research in support of ScienceSim. “For instance, we’ve increased the number of objects that can appear in a scene by a factor of 10.”
An example of this is the Fashion Research Institute’s Shengri La Chamomile, home to over 160,000 primitive objects (“prims”). By comparison, Second Life regions top out at 15,000 prims.
According to Intel, immersive three dimensional worlds will continue to gain adoption in business due to a combination of faster broadband connections, rise of social networking, emergence of user-generated content, growth in mobile devices and the growing popularity of these visually rich worlds in gaming and other contexts.
The emergence of ICE applications in domains such as social networking, online gaming and online retail, is being driven by the convergence of five trends in Internet-based computing: widespread broadband connectivity and the visual data (photos, video, 3D movies, etc.) it enables; the rise of social networking; the emergence of user-generated content; the spread of mobile computing and devices; and the growing popularity of visual, immersive virtual worlds.