Fashion Research Institute Oversees Another Round of the Science Sim Land Grant Program with Intel Labs

New York, NY February 18, 2011 – Fashion Research Institute Oversees Another Round of the Science Sim Land Grant Program with Intel Labs

Fashion Research Institute has been collaborating with Intel Labs since 2009, helping to push the limits of content development, and overseeing the Science Sim Land Grant Program. The program consists of ‘supersized’ 3D volumes called regions, which can support 100,000 primitive units. These regions are awarded for a six-month period to educators, scientists, and researchers who wish to explore using OpenSim for their work, but who have not yet managed to have a presence in OpenSim.  These regions are provided for six months, with the current program scheduled to end June 30, 2011.

We are pleased to share the 2011 awardees, in alphabetical order.

The Abyss Observatory (http://chikyu-to-umi.com/abyss/) The Abyss Observatory is a museum of earth science, undersea technology and also Sense of Wonder for the mysteries of Earth & Life in 3D virtual world, established mainly by Japan and US volunteers, supported by SciLands, NOAA, JAMSTEC, Open University UK and Science Circle.

“Earth system science research fields are spread world-wide and far from human habitation.  To gain a better understanding of global issues, visualization in immersive virtual world is powerful tool.  Our students can develop observation methods of virtual environment phenomena or law of physics easily, cost-effectively and safely, ”says Hajime Nishimura (RL, JAMSTEC, http://www.jamstec.go.jp/).

IDIA Lab: Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts at Ball State University The Institute For Digital Intermedia Arts is an interdisciplinary design laboratory exploring the intersections between art, science and technology – developing solutions in virtual reality, interactive interface, hybrid worlds, games, simulation and human computer interface. Academic and industry partners engage in intermedial arts projects, collaborating through this project-based learning and research center – investigating the forefront of discourse in emergent media design. http://idialab.org/

John Filwalk of IDIA Lab says, “We are honored to participate in ScienceSim – contributing our design and research approaches to virtual worlds, mash-ups and hybrid reality within the creative and scientific. We will explore broad concerns within human interface with new technology and media. We are developing rich and integrated immersive environments – employing multi-directional interaction with 3D interface to data, information, and media. We are eager to both learn and collaborate with the ScienceSim development community.”

Meta-Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA) MICA (http://mica-vw.org/) is the first professional scientific organization based in virtual worlds.  Its goals are to explore how the immersive VR technologies can be best used for science, scholarship, and education, and to promote the development of these technologies and exchange of ideas in the academic community.

“Many of us who took this technology seriously as a potential scientific collaboration and communication platform are convinced that the 3-D interface is the future of the Web – or whatever comes after the Web.  It will change the ways in which we communicate, collaborate, and educate.  We also think that the immersive, collaborative data visualization and exploration will be a powerful new tool for science, and many practical applications beyond the academia,” said George Djogovski, Cal Tech.

Science Circle. The Science Circle is an alliance of Scientists from various disciplines dedicated to connect scientist and students worldwide. We use digital mediums like Second Life® to hold seminars and we are starting in 2011 with various courses for our student group.

“The Science Circle wants to offer our members the possibility to discover OpenSim. Like MICA we are convinced that 3d platforms based on OpenSim are a great tool to offer education. The Science Sim Land GrantPprogram is a great initiative that enables us to do that,” says Agustin Martin on behalf of the Science Circle.

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About Fashion Research Institute, Inc.: FRI is at the forefront of developing innovative design & merchandising solutions for the apparel industry.  They research and develop products and systems for the fashion industry that sweepingly address wasteful business and production practices.

Science Sim is part of an evolution toward online 3D experiences that look, act and feel real. Sometimes dubbed the “3D internet,” Intel Labs refers to this technology trend as immersive connected experiences, or ICE. ScienceSim is differentiated from most virtual world environments by its open source architecture. ScienceSim leverages open source building blocks (installation utilities, management tools, client viewers, etc.) based on OpenSimulator (OpenSim) software.

Vote for Your Favorite Sinewave Dances for 2011 Virtua Designer Conference Kick-Off Party Use #pvds to cast your vote!

We are pleased to announce that legendary animation company Sinewave will be providing dance animations for the 2011 Virtua Designer Conference networking parties, to be held pre- and post- conference sessions January 25-27 in ScienceSim.  Sinewave CEO Rohan Freeman (Easy Babcock) has agreed to provide several of his high-quality dance animations to help make the pre-party on January 25th a success.

As anyone who has shopped at Sinewave in Second Life® knows, Rohan’s team has developed a fairly comprehensive catalog of dances.  There are so many, in fact, that we would like to ask for input in choosing dances you’d like to see at the party.  So please use hash tag #PVDS and twitter which male and which  female Sinewave dances you’d like to see and use at the pre-party on January 25th in ScienceSim.   We’ll tally the results on November 30th and announce the selected dances on December 1, 2010.

Content Creation and OpenSim

We have been working in and developing content on OpenSim since September 2007, when we first logged into what would become the OSGrid.  Fashion Research Institute is the oldest professional content creator on OpenSim.  Our current research collaboration with Intel Lab® is focused on content management and movement using the OpenSim-based ScienceSim as our test platform. With Linden Lab’s recent announcements about price changes and the closure of Teen Second Life grid, we are seeing increased interest from educators and other consumers of content, many of whom are confused about what they can and cannot do with content they ‘purchased’  in Second Life®, and where to go for content which they have a legal right to use in their pending OpenSim-based educational grids.

In the hope of helping to alleviate some of the confusion, we offer here some of the insight we have acquired over the years of working in OpenSim and the best practices we ourselves use in developing our content in OpenSim.

We started moving our content out of Second Life® a year or so ago, and closed our final avatar apparel line last Spring, after Linden Lab® made some ToS announcements.  Our area of expertise, as one may expect from the Fashion Research Institute, is avatar customization content. We needed a substantial catalog of content to outfit our avatar models on our Virtual Runway™  product.  We have also developed content libraries of PG-rated avatars and a well-tested orientation region for OpenSim for various organizations to use on their OpenSim-based grids such as ScienceSim. We now have a huge body of content available for licensing by those who need an orientation program or avatar customization content.

Although we finished backing up our content from Second Life®  six months ago, what follows is our ‘best practices’ from that process.

We had an extensive collection of avatar content we had developed over the years.  We found that the best tool to move this content was Stored Inventory. (aka Second Inventory)  It will move the contents of prim containers, including scripts, textures and other objects. Although the process itself is slow, it is also relatively mindless and can be performed in the background while other tasks are being accomplished, or given to an intern for completion.  All content brought in using Second Inventory should be checked for completeness, as it is prone to not completely backing up containers of content.

Please note that Stored Inventory will only allow the actual content creator to move his or her own content.  If a user licensed content within Second Life®, but they are not the content creator, they will not be allowed to move that content.

Something a content user should be concerned about is knowing the provenance of the content they are acquiring: who made it and is it original content.  Professional content developers will do business either under a business name, which should be registered and have a employer identification number of some sort, or as a real life individual who will also have some sort of  taxpayer identification number.  If a content creator refuses to provide such information you may wish to reconsider conducting business with them. There is no way for you to track them down if there proves to be a legal or other issue with content you may have licensed from them.

Of course, licensing or purchasing content that uses trademarks owned by real world organizations is also rife with issues. Most of the owners of these marks didn’t license them for use by Second life® or OpenSim developers, so you run the risk of legal liability.  Can your nonprofit, for profit, or school afford the legal fees to defend itself?  If not, be very careful about allowing licensed trade or service marks into your content.

A final bit of advice, when a content consumer decides to move their content from Second Life® into OpenSim, or decides to license new content from a creator, make sure you document all of your content, including any licensing information, and back up that up in a commonly accessible document management system so that everyone in your organization that handles content has access to it. Create a special OS region where all you do is bring your content in and curate that region. Have your admin make OAR files early and often: nothing is worse than losing hours of backup because the region failed to save to the server properly. When you are all done with the region, make sure you have some sort of record of what is contained within the region, and then link that record to your OAR file for back ups.

NOTE:  Due to the announcement today from Linden Lab regarding yet another change in the ToS, the Professional Virtua Designer Society will be holding a special session to discuss how these new terms can affect content creators.  For more information about the PVDS, visit http://bit.ly/bQydjR.

FRI’s Open Classroom in ScienceSim

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As part of our regular office hours on ScienceSim, Fashion Research Institute will be presenting a series of regular content creation events in the Shengri La Rosemary region located in ScienceSim.  Please join us from 1-2 pm ET ( 10-11 am PT) every Thursday to participate in our open classroom sessions.  ScienceSim residents are encouraged to attend.  The sessions are open to the public.

Today’s topic will include the creation of small showrooms which may be used for display space for projects, store fronts, or offices.  Our expert content creators will teach  attendees to develop a simple space with windows and signage space.  We will showcase five different styles developed from a basic template which may be further customized for the user’s specific needs.

The instructor’s completed models will be donated to the ScienceSim library for the use of new users to ScienceSim, and new users learn valuable development skills to apply to other creation challenges.  Please join us today or any Thursday from 1-2 pm ET.

Fashion Research Institute’s Autumn 2009 Fashion Events

Having threaded our way through New York Fashion week, where CEO Shenlei Winkler spoke about Black Dress Design Studio and the related development of the avatar apparel niche market, we are now pleased to announce our planned fashion events for Autumn 2009.

First, we are pleased to continue to work with our emerging designers, and present their work in innovative ways in our Shengri La Hope region in Second Life.  These events enable us to research and prototype new ways of merchandising avatar apparel, with links to our real life colleagues in the apparel industry.  We will be presenting three of these events over the next 8 weeks.

purpleprose

Purple Prose is a showcase of jewelry designer Tiffy Vella, whose unique design vision continue to wow her customers.  Tiffy has been developing a line heavily influenced by the Art Deco period.  An even dozen of her designs will be shown on a dozen gorgeous models at this event, with clothing provided by Debutante.  Purple Prose will be held Saturday, October 17th, at 10 am Eastern, in our Shengri La Hope region.

mainelymen

Mainely Men showcases the corporate clothing of Debutante, the Fashion Research Institute’s lab line.  A dozen handsome models will present corporate men’s wear in a showcase designed to highlight these garments.  Mainely Men will be held Saturday, October 24th, at 7 pm Eastern in the Shengri La Hope region.

transformation

Transformation will be held on Saturday, October 7, at 10 am eastern.  Transformation showcases the Cocoon line of emerging designer Yoona Mayo, whose unique perspective and delicate touch have created an elegant line of dainty jewelry.  Yoona’s work will be presented in a unique interactive display in the Shengri La Hope region.

And of course, our interns will present their work at a final runway show in December, with date and time to be determined.

threadingtheneedle

Departing from Second Life and moving to ScienceSim, Fashion Research Institute will be presenting the first ever virtual worlds-based design conference for fashion design students from design organizations around the world.  Threading The Needle will be held Thursday, December 3rd, from 8 am – 5 pm Eastern, with notables such as Beth Harris, Director of Digital Learning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Fiona Jenvey, CEO of Mudpie, and Elaine Polvinen, Professor of Fashion at Buffalo State University speaking and presenting.  This conference will be completely free for design students to attend, and it is aimed at students studying design for the apparel industry.  Details to follow, but mark your calendar for this.

aboutavatarapparel101

Fashion Research Institute will again be presenting its Avatar Apparel courses this fall, with Avatar Apparel being presented from October 27th – November 19th; and two new short courses being offered in October, November and December.  Registration opens next week.