IBM Educational Project

This Web site presents the results of a pilot study conducted by the University of Michigan Virtual Reality Laboratory for IBM, Inc. The study explores the usefulness of VRML, the Virtual Reality Modeling Language on the World Wide Web, for the development of educational material on the Web.

The following two Pilot Applications were developed:

Conic Sections
An interactive tool to visualize the intersection of a cone with a plane
The Great Wall of China
A section of the Great Wall with an animated fly-over sequence

VRML is a standard for the distribution of 3-D models over the Web. The models can be functional and interactive. To view VRML models, a VRML plug-in is required for your favorite Web browser. We recommend the CosmoPlayer plug-in for the Internet Explorer or Netscape browser. The following instructions are for CosmoPlayer 2.1 for Windows 95/NT. The controls may vary a bit with different operating systems and different versions of CosmoPlayer.

Use the dashboard control in the lower left corner to choose one of the preset viewpoints. To change viewpoints, click on the Viewpoint List (below the name) and you should see a list of available viewpoints. You can select directly or toggle through the list by using the Next/Previous buttons on each side of the viewpoint name or by using the Page Up/Page Down keys.

Alternatively, you can navigate manually through the VRML world (scene) using the Go (linear movement) and Rotate controls. These are located on two different sets of movement controls. Other movement options include Zoom, Pan, Tilt and Slide. You can toggle between the sets of movement controls by clicking the small button (Change Controls) to the left of center. When the mouse pointer is over an item (button), text describing the item is displayed on the dashboard. The larger button left of the Change button allows you to Seek (zoom in on) any part of the scene that you select by a mouse click.

Note that the current version of VRML is VRML 2.0. In December 1997, VRML 2.0 was replaced by the International Standard ISO/IEC 14772 and called VRML97. VRML97 is almost identical to VRML 2.0.

Selected VRML Links

Last update: April 24, 2001, kpb
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