Cosma / Worlds
Cosma features a variety of 3D interfaces to this site and the Web.
A key goal of Cosma is to have a fun, immersive and interactive spatial interface that invites exploration of the best content on the Web. There have been many experiments with making those interfaces (also known as “virtual worlds“) created with a variety of platforms over the last thirty years (HyperCard, HyperNews, SecondLife, RoundMe, Unity3D, etc.).
Unfortunately, there is still no platform available to the general public that can support the full vision of high resolution, interactive 3D spaces accessible directly from web pages without plugins, logins or long load times.
Hopefully there will be soon …
In the meantime, Toy Worlds serving as a fun interface to
Toy Worlds are fun “3D interfaces” for navigating the Cosma website and the Web.
They are literally “toy worlds” because they are dioramas created with dollhouse furniture and other miniature toys that are photographed with a RICOH THETA S 360° Camera. The resulting 360° photos are posted on the RoundMe 360° photo sharing service in order to overlay links to YouTube videos and web pages.
They are also figuratively “toy worlds” in that they are only prototypes intended to serve as placeholders for more sophisticated “worlds” made with advanced software such as Unity 3D.
This is the first in the series of twelve Toy Worlds that serve as an interface to this site.
Click the 360° image below to explore this Toy World, click the menu in the upper right for controls and click “i” buttons on/off for links to experiences. Use “portals” to visit other Toy Worlds.
You can also explore this on RoundMe.
If you have trouble seeing this on RoundMe, then try using an updated or different browser.
There are many Toy Worlds distributed across this site, and you can read the fun backstory of how Toy Worlds came about on this post.
Cosma also has a prototype interface in SecondLife. Click the image below to explore it.
In addition, there is a much older prototype called Knowledge Park that is all that remains of the very extensive Knowledge Places project that began in 2005 and evolved over 15 years.
Here’s a video walk-through of the current Knowledge Park.
There have also been experimental interfaces created with Unity 3D. Here’s a video of one that was created back in 2015.
The jury remains out about whether or not Unity 3D will be the right platform for Cosma’s next interface. It depends upon whether or not it will be capable of authoring sufficiently high-resolution, complex, interactive 3D/360°/WebXR worlds that can be embedded on a web page viewable in standard browsers without plugins, logins or long load times.
The above examples are just the latest generation of Dr. Mary Hopper’s experiments with creating 3D interfaces to traditional, interactive and 3D content. The first generation of experiments were in HyperCard in the 1980s.