Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gigabit Hack Weekend

I went to a gigabit hacking event this past weekend hosted by Mozilla Ignite at the Internet Archive's building. I got to meet some interesting people and had a great time.

The general theme of the event was to try and demonstrate what kind of applications we can build when people's internet connections get really fast (e.g. gigabit). Since I work on federated 3D repositories with both the Sirikata project's Open3DHub, and also OurBricks, I wanted to  showcase applications that can be built with online 3D repositories and fast connections.

3D models can be quite big. Games usually ship a big DVD full of content or make you download several gigabytes worth of content before you can start playing. In contrast, putting 3D applications on the web demands low-latency start times. To showcase online 3D, I took the awesome ThreeFab project and added the ability to load files from an external repository.

For a demo:

  1. Visit http://blackjk3.github.com/threefab/.
  2. Click the "Import" button.
  3. Pick a 3D model from http://open3dhub.com/ and copy the "Direct Download" link box.
  4. Paste the link into the Import box.
  5. The model should load into the editor. (most models work)
The ThreeFab editor lets you export the scene you make. Here's a demo of a scene I created this weekend running on jsfiddle:

What's important to remember there is that all of the 3D content is being loaded asynchronously in the background directly from Open3DHub. The editor supports URLs from any site as long as they support CORS headers. As a result of the weekend, the Internet Archive is working on enabling these headers for its content, so hopefully we will be able to load 3D content directly from the archive soon.

Thanks to Mozilla and the Internet Archive for putting on a fun event!