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WP5: Multimodal Processing and Interaction
WP6: Machine Learning and Computation Applied to Multimedia
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Home arrow Research & Integration arrow Overview arrow BEYOND: The Virtual MUSCLE Experience
BEYOND: The Virtual MUSCLE Experience

BEYOND: The Virtual MUSCLE Experience
(previously: Shaping 3-dimensional Environments)

Leaders: Michael Dittenbach and Helmut Berger, EC3
Contact person: Johannes Sperlhofer, EC3


  • EC3
  • TU Vienna-IFS

Summary: Generating, publishing and, most importantly, experiencing content in 3D virtual spaces is an emerging facility on the Internet with Second Life being the most prominent representative. The "Virtual MUSCLE Experience" puts this forward by creating a platform that provides for enhanced sustainability and visibility of both the MUSCLE community (its members and work packages) and its research outcomes.
Moreover, it represents an environment for science communication by putting on display selected projects teaching the underlying scientific and technological building blocks. “BEYOND: The Virtual MUSCLE Experience” will become the immersive onestop information center beyond the duration of the MUSCLE network ensuring continued sustainability of the MUSCLE achievements.

Showcase Website


BEYOND: The Virtual MUSCLE Experience
is realized two-fold:
  • The MediaSquare

The MediaSquare, a 3D multimedia environment, takes advantage of these spatial metaphors and allows users to explore multimedia information that is automatically structured and organized within space. The information is either organized based on the actual content or by transforming predefined structures into a room structure.

The MediaSquare implements the following scenarios. The first scenario is a 3D Music Showroom that enables users to browse and listen to songs within the collaborative virtual environment. To this end, acoustic characteristics are extracted from music tracks by applying methods from digital signal processing and psycho-acoustics.
The features describe the stylistic content of the music, e.g., beat, presence of voice, timbre, etc. and act as features for the training of a self-organizing map (SOM) to arrange similar music tracks in spatially adjacent regions. More specifically, the self-organizing map is an an unsupervised neural network model that provides a topology-preserving mapping from a high-dimensional input space onto a two-dimensional output space.

In a second scenario, a 3D scientific library has been implemented. This library enables users to explore scientific documents such as posters or papers in this immersive 3D environment. In this case, a directory structure is used to create a room structure in which the content is presented. In its final version it is envisioned to integrate a 3D Video and Image Showroom whose content is automatically arranged in analogy to the Music Showroom.

In a nutshell, The MediaSquare presents an impressive showcase for combining state-of-the-art multimedia feature extraction approaches and unsupervised neural networks assembled an immersive 3D multimedia content presentation environment.
This allows geographically separated individuals to immerse into a collaborative virtual environment, interact with each other and collectively experience the featured content.

The prototype client for exploring and experiencing the 3D Multimedia Enviroment was presented at the CeBIT fair March 15 - 21, 2007 in Hanover, Germany and at the IBC in Amsterdam, September 7-11, 2007.

More information about the MediaSquare

  • MUSCLE in SecondLife

In order to bring scientific research results to a wide public we developed virtual showrooms in the popular online 3D environment SecondLife. Even though SecondLife is quite new, it has already evolved to one of the most common virtual worlds.

Users may engage in conversations with other users, exchange experiences as well as collectively explore and enjoy the featured content. On the one hand, such 3D virtual worlds address the aspect of social interaction by providing instruments to interact and to exchange experiences with other users that go beyond the possibilities of conventional text-based chat rooms. Especially ones inherent presence in space and the awareness of others facilitate the initiation of social contacts. On the other hand, using 3D virtual worlds has the advantage of communicating via commonly accepted spatial metaphors. Beyond these aspects, Virtual MUSCLE allows to browse and experience multimedia content by literally walking through it.

MUSCLE's virtual showrooms in SecondLife provide presentations of scientific results, videos and other (showcase) content developed within MUSCLE:

The MUSCLE virtual showrooms are accessible via: secondlife://MUSCLE/127/127/22.

Virtual MUSCLE SecondLife Showcase video introduction (on youtube)

MUSCLE showroom content management guide