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Web3D Pushes Development of 3D Web Standard

In an effort to spur work on 3D standards for the Web, Intel Tuesday established the CAD 3-D Working Group under the auspices of the Web3D consortium.

The Web3D Consortium published a draft version of its own X3D specification, a 3D version of XML , in February. X3D is intended to help weave 3D graphics into applications for wireless devices, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and all manner of computing devices. When it published the specification, the Web3D Consortium said it would submit X3D to the International Standards Organization (ISO) as a potential royalty-free (RF) standard in August.

The CAD 3-D Working Group plans a more focused approach by concentrating its efforts on computer-aided design , or CAD, applications for creating 3D graphics for the Web. The working group noted that the multiple formats for viewing 3D on the Web which are currently in existence make it difficult for companies to use 3D content. The majority of 3D data which is currently created is constructed with CAD applications.

"We believe that removing the barriers to proliferation of 3D data is a critical next step in offering a richer experience for people on the Internet," said Patrick Gelsinger, vice president and chief technology officer for Intel. "The absence of a flexible, standard 3D format represents one of those key barriers. By working with industry leaders and graphics experts, we plan to create a format that will do for 3D on the Web what the JPEG format did for digital photography on the desktop."

The CAD 3-D Working Group is composed of Intel, 3Dlabs, Actify, Adobe Systems, ATI Technologies, The Boeing Company, Dassault Systemes, i3Dimensions, Lattice Technology, Microsoft, mental images GmbH & Co. KG, Naval Postgraduate School, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Parallel Graphics, SGDL Systems, and Tech Soft America/OpenHSF.

The working group plans to complete initial standards development in about 18 months.

To date, efforts to create 3D graphics for the Web have not come far since Virtual Reality Modeling Language , or VRML, debuted years ago. In large part, that has to do with the scattered approach to furthering the technology, and the expense of deploying 3D on databases. The working group hopes to change that by reducing the time and cost associated with developing and publishing 3D content on the Web, and providing a more effective way for CAD users to collaborate and share data for design, marketing and manufacturing applications.