Dynamic Construction of Behaviours in Heterogeneous Virtual Environments
Gaming and social networking are at the forefront of next generation entertainment systems where novel usage scenarios are pushing technological boundaries. These advances have certainly provided a platform for innovation, where a natural progression would be to bridge the gap between the aforementioned technologies. Many devices such as mobile phone are forming closer relationships with different virtual worlds, such as World of Warcraft and Second Life. In one sense, the boundaries between the two are becoming increasingly less distinct. Consequently, this opens up many new avenues for content sharing, not only between devices but also between sophisticated virtual worlds. Given such interoperable platforms, a natural progression would see content that seamlessly resides within either. This will open up new opportunities where third party content providers and users alike are able to create and share content over these new platforms.
Achieving this will require several challenges to be addressed. These include service-oriented networking; behaviour discovery; behaviour capability matching and on the fly behaviour generation in required target environments. Overcoming these challenges will allow mechanisms to be developed that enable us to move content seamlessly between heterogeneous environments (virtual and real).
Ground breaking work in this regard has resulted in the successful development a framework for visualisation and control of ubiquitous devices and services that allows users to move easily between real and virtual environments where the content and services are always at their disposal.
The framework facilitates the sharing of objects across different environments in a flexible way and the containers within different real and virtual environments can consume such objects. Using the semantic descriptions of the behaviour objects support, target environments will create scripted behaviours based on interpretations of the functionality they provide. This enables applications, underpinned by digital content, such as dynamic game development, immersive and interactive 3D multimedia, and on-the-fly scene analysis, to emerge.
A real world prototype that implements the vision of a smart home framework has already been developed. Using the framework, ubiquitous computing devices such as mobile phones can be discovered, represented graphically and finally, their behaviour can be generated on the fly. In this scenario, for example, the framework enabled the making of a call, answering an incoming call, and sharing multimedia content with a correspondent avatar in the virtual world mapped to a physical device.
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About the Author
Dr. Amjad Shaheed holds a PhD degree in Software Engineering from Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. He has been working on research and development roles for organizations specializing in health services, finance system, e-sales services and coastal surveillance systems for the last 10 years. Dr. Shaheed’s research interests include Ubiquitous Devices, Virtualisation, Cloud Computing and Cloud Security.