3D tool adds directional flow
Jeff Lowe, consultant and immersive tool architect with Immersive Life, demonstrated the second version of his BrainBoard three dimensional collaboration tool today on ReactionGrid.
The tool allows users to create visual representations of flowcharts, diagrams, and brainstorming sessions and integrate it with a Web-based hosted database or a private server-based database.
The board allows users to place text and squares, circles and other diagram symbols on a primary white board and a second supplemental whiteboard, then connect them with lines. The new version uses special effects to create directional flows along the lines.
“I can see possibly plotting a network topology one day with this,” said Kyle Gomboy, CEO of ReactionGrid Inc. “Or a flow diagram for software.”
The new version of the BrainBoard uses “particle” effects to create the impression of flow along the diagram lines.
“This new particle feature opens up all sorts of discusions about logisitics, flow, process,” said Gomboy.
ReactionGrid offers the BrainBoard and other collaboration tools to its grid hosting customers — but they are also users of the tool.
“I’m already thinking of ways to use this to lay out the grid logically,” said Gomboy.
The tool can also be used to design database schemas, he added.
Gomboy said he also likes the tool for in-world note-taking. “I use it for quick notes sessions all the time,” he said. “It’s become easier to use the BrainBoard than take notes externally.”
This ease of use is the key to the adoption of 3D tools, he added.
Lowe also uses the tool, he said, for client brainstorming session and to map processes.
According to Lowe, V1 of the tool is currently available for purchase through XStreet for L$16,000 (approximately US$60) and at ReactionGrid’s Outpost Web storefront starting at US$50. It can be used in both OpenSim and Second Life regions.
BrainBoard V2 will be released within a week, he said, first on OpenSim and then on Second Life.
Version 3 will be available in the first quarter of next year, he added.
All the information from the board can be backed up to an external databases.
“Saving the notes to a database and restoring them later — or on another board — is a joy,” said ReactionGrid CTO Chris Hart.
In addition, the backend database can generate XML exports and reports, said Gomboy – making it possible to integrate the technology with other business applications.
“We can work with enterprise clients on deeper integration,” said Hart.
During the ReactionGrid demonstration, ten avatars were using the tool simultaneously. They created 50 notes, with 45 flowing particle connection lined glowing between and out from two main whiteboards. At the end of demonstration, Lowe added in a third whiteboard — a feature which will be publicly available in Version 3 of the tool.
BrainBoard Version 2 is now available for purchase.
The new version includes several new features and a simplified interface, said designer Jeff Lowe, including the ability for users to connect notes “on the fly” and change the shape of the notes.
“These were specifically added due to numerous user requests,” he said.