Open Source Virtual Reality Spreads Out

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 14, 2008

There is an interesting piece in iTnews today about a group of researchers using a wireless open source virtual world to teach language learning to students, including allowing them to practice. "Dubbed ‘Realtown’, the newly-developed wireless environment incorporates a virtual supermarket, schools, pharmacy and bank, as well as background sounds that may be enabled to increase the environment’s realism," says the story. Realtown is actually just one of many applications of the open source framework DIVE though, which stands for Distributed Interactive Virtual Environments. Here's what it's all about and a look at some other open source virtual reality efforts.

The Realtown virtual environment for teaching language is being used by Mexican engineering students among others. It's based on DIVE, an open source virtual reality framework initially developed by the Swedish Institute of Computer Science in the 1990s. DIVE runs on Linux, Solaris, Windows and other platforms.

As the DIVE site notes, "DIVE applications and activities include virtual battlefields, spatial models of interaction, virtual agents, real-world robot control and multi-modal interaction." You can check out some of the images of various applications here and videos here.

Of course, when it comes to virtual reality, the first name that comes to mind for many people is Second Life. As we covered recently, Second Life has increasingly been waking up to open source contributions to its virtual world. Developers are using OpenSim, which is an open source server for hosting virtual worlds, to enhance Second Life, with IBM and Second Life's Linden Lab working in tandem on interoperability between OpenSim and Second Life.

For much more on OpenSim and open source virtual world efforts, check out Tish Shute's blog.