VRML and Biology

Braden N. McDaniel braden at shadow.net
Wed Oct 16 14:54:27 EST 1996

(Sorry for cross-posting the buhjeezus outta this, but I wanted to make sure 
it was seen. Fret not, follow-ups are directed to bionet.software and 

Daniel Gembris (gembris at euler.informatik.uni-dortmund.de) writes in the 
newsgroup comp.lang.vrml:
	In the discussion about JAVA3D or the implementation of
	interacting objects in the VRML-standard everybody
	should (IMHO) pay attention to the needs of biologists.
	I`m convinced that biologists will become the main user
	of 3D-technology, I don`t only refer to molecular biology,
	but primarily to developmental and cell biology.
	JAVA3D (or however it will be called) will be an extension
	to cellular automata, with the advantage of greater flexibility
	and thus a greater agreement between modells of living
	systems and reality. I'd suggest to go in the newsgroups
	of the bionet.* hierarchy and ask the participants for participation
	in the evolution process of VRML. At best you post open
	questions about future definitions of VRML in these
	newsgroups. (I can`t do it, because I`m not involved
	deeply enough in the VRML matter).
	These efforts might be very important, since they could
	pave the way for simulations of whole living
	beings on a cellular basis!! (The computational burden
	could be distributed about a part of the internet).
And on that note, I write this. Who the hell am I? I'm an undergrad student 
in my senior year at the University of Miami, with majors in Marine Science, 
Biology, and Computer Science. I've been following VRML (Virtual Reality 
Modeling Language) to some extent or other for some time now.

And Mr. Gembris is right on the money. With the ever-increasing need for 
visualization systems in the biological sciences, it seems like VRML could 
have a big future there. But while I frequently see references to 
applications of VRML to mechanical engineering, physics, and related fields, 
the applications related to biology are decidedly scarce.

The VRML 2.0 specification is pretty much set in stone at this point--and 
it's a damn good piece of work. Content developers are only beginning to 
scratch the surface of what it can do. Right now, related specifications are 
being hashed out, and the software to make it all hum is being developed.

If you think this technology could have a future in what you're doing, now 
is the time to learn about it and get involved. I invite you all to take a 
peek in comp.lang.vrml and the VRML mailing list. Here are some relevant 
	http://vag.vrml.org/			the VRML Architechture Group
	http://vag.vrml.org/www-vrml/	the mailing list home page
	http://www.sdsc.edu/vrml/		the VRML Repository

PS: <shameless plea> I'm looking around at grad schools right now, and if 
any of you know of projects going on that might benefit from the 
participation of someone with my background, or someone I should talk to 
(or if you *are* someone who'd like to talk to me about this), I'd 
appreciate some e-mail.

Braden N. McDaniel                                       braden at shadow.net

Home Page:  http://www.shadow.net/%7Ebraden/
Home World: http://www.shadow.net/%7Ebraden/home.wrl

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