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Nishimura, H., Lim, K. Y. T., & Koyamada, K. (2012). The abyss observatory designing for remote collaboration, self-directed discovery and intuition development in multi-user interactive 3D virtual environments. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 5(2), 1-11.
The Abyss Observatory is a museum of Earth Systems Science, Marine Life and Undersea
Technology created in Second Life, currently supported by JAMSTEC as a test bed for remote
collaboration and 3D visualization to create new scientific value.
First, Second Life is a remarkable platform for remote, interdisciplinary and international
collaboration. Second, Second Life has also been useful not only for visualization of such content but
also for visualization of the relations between the different content. Such exhibits need to arrange related
content in a narrative - not only through linguistic communication (such as text and speech) - but also
through visual. For this purpose, we attempt to learn curating methods from Art museums. Third, the
Abyss attempts to create new scientific value by assimilation or synthesis of 3D models and data from
the real world. 3D models are incomplete but so is data from the real world. For example, deep-sea-life
samples quickly changed their shape and color at surface atmospheric pressure. On the other hand, photo
and video of such specimens in their natural habitat are also limited in terms of viewing angle and
resolution. We are working on 3D modelling of Bolinopsis infundibulum which can apply to taxonomic
descriptions based on tracking observation of researcher’s eyes, and are presently evaluating the
scientific value of such endeavors.
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