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Virtual worlds as collaborative environments for design and manufacturing: From idea to product

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presentation at VIRMAN'08, 6-8 oct 2008, Torino, Italy …

presentation at VIRMAN'08, 6-8 oct 2008, Torino, Italy

The growth of internet based communication has facilitated the development of open source, collaborative methods of working, with growing exploration of virtual worlds as potential working environments. This paper describes their use for product design and manufacturing, with examples from the virtual world Second Life for idea generation, collaborative design, and virtual manufacturing.

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  • Abstract The growth of internet based communication has facilitated the development of open source, collaborative methods of working, with growing exploration of virtual worlds as potential working environments. This paper describes their use for product design and manufacturing, with examples from the virtual world Second Life for idea generation, collaborative design, and virtual manufacturing. Keywords: Virtual worlds; Virtual manufacturing; Open source design; Collaborative design
  • Wikipedia Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Crowdspirit
  • Will hear more about this tomorrow w/Prof. Corney’s presentation
  • What is Second Life? massively multiplayer online role-playing game ( MMORPG ) MUD 3D Web Social environment Learning environment Design, prototyping & simulation environment Marketing environment Presentation & communication environment A game
  • Idea Generation Companies tend to establish a presence on the Internet for a number of reasons, with marketing and customer support being the most common. Many are viewing virtual worlds as the next frontier, in part due to their quality of ‘playfulness’ (Kozlov and Reinhold, 2007) and thus see them as good vehicles for facilitating product innovation through idea generation, often through the use of competitions (Lang et al. 2008; Kohler et. al., 2008). Most have used the virtual world primarily as the marketing and general communication vehicle for such initiatives (e.g. OSRAM’s Million L$ Idea, Electrolux Innovation Grant Program, Steelcase Second Life Chair Design Competition). Others are looking to exploit the unique features of virtual worlds through immersive activities to enhance such projects “to co-create new ideas and solutions and to imagine new futures…in an innovative and playful way to engage people in the creation of ideas and concepts” (http://community.livejournal.com/designfriends). The PhD project “Avatar-Based Innovation” at the University of Innsbruck explores these ideas through “Ideation Quests”, separate collaborations with the companies Philips and KTM Motorcycle, implemented by Avaty (http://www.avaty.com). Here a brief description of the Philips Ideation Quest is provided. From PPT presentation: Purpose of research collaboration was to explore the opportunities virtual worlds offer for real world innovations. The concept of avatar-based innovation serves as a point of origin to reveal these possibilities and eventual challenges. It results when linking emerging technology of virtual worlds, such as Second life, with a customer-centric perspective of open innovation.
  • In the initial project, people were invited to participate in an exploration of future sustainable living. Avatars followed a route of five playful and creative steps, inspired by the concept “Off the Grid: Sustainable Habitat 2020”. Topics explored under the banner of sustainable living included: companies’ duty; smart activities; living spaces; and (smart) building materials. The steps and activities in which people participated included: Get informed : Arrival (orientation to the project); Get inspired (stimuli material); Get active : Challenges (word association, answer questions, structured group brainstorming); Get creative : Ideation (submission of individual ideas through text, drawings & models); Get critical : Idea Review (voting and comment on submitted ideas) (Fig. 1). Points were awarded to individuals in three categories: creativity, collaboration, and expertise. As the project is still in progress, it is difficult to make any pronounced judgments on its outcomes and it is not clear what Philips plans to do with the results. The initial quest was not well publicised and thus had a small number of participants, so one issue is how to encourage more involvement. Other unresolved questions include IP ownership and rewards/remuneration for participants; resolution of these could encourage more participation.
  • In the initial project, people were invited to participate in an exploration of future sustainable living. Avatars followed a route of five playful and creative steps, inspired by the concept “Off the Grid: Sustainable Habitat 2020”. Topics explored under the banner of sustainable living included: companies’ duty; smart activities; living spaces; and (smart) building materials. The steps and activities in which people participated included: Get informed : Arrival (orientation to the project); Get inspired (stimuli material); Get active : Challenges (word association, answer questions, structured group brainstorming); Get creative : Ideation (submission of individual ideas through text, drawings & models); Get critical : Idea Review (voting and comment on submitted ideas) (Fig. 1). Points were awarded to individuals in three categories: creativity, collaboration, and expertise. As the project is still in progress, it is difficult to make any pronounced judgments on its outcomes and it is not clear what Philips plans to do with the results. The initial quest was not well publicised and thus had a small number of participants, so one issue is how to encourage more involvement. Other unresolved questions include IP ownership and rewards/remuneration for participants; resolution of these could encourage more participation.
  • Conclusions Lessons learned Avatar-based innovation approach promising Necessity of creating a compelling experience Striving for high level of interactivity and usability Capitalizing on media richness and playfulness Current challenges Community building and social interaction crucial Creating an engaging experience remains challenging For some product categories target group restricted Skills needed for high-quality contributions
  • the development and marketing of a flat screen video ad system at a low cost simply by providing client demonstrations in the virtual rather than real world (Tahmincioglu, 2008);
  • design of a personal rapid transit system (Lopes et al., 2008), which allowed testing of the design without the need to deploy more expensive methods for prototyping and simulation (both virtual and physical);
  • the ability for a toy designer in California to quickly produce a tectonic model of a prototype toy in Second Life and then hold virtual meetings in Second Life with an engineer from the factory in Hong Kong to examine the model and work out details of manufacture and assembly (Tahmincioglu, 2008).
  • Architect marketing RL designs in SL & using it as a place to meet, discuss & present to/with clients
  • Starwood’s Aloft hotel design Early example of public engagement in hotel design concept
  • The third experiment involved the design of a clinic for Nyaya Health, a community-based healthcare organisation based in one of the poorer regions in western Nepal, set as one of three concurrent competition projects sponsored by the Open Architecture Network (OAN, openarchitecturenetwork.org/challenge: June 2008). Since the Network’s mission concerns open sourcing architecture for humanitarian purposes, we thought it would be a good opportunity to submit an entry for this competition, composed in the same collaborative and open source fashion. The Wikitecture community worked on the competition over a 3½ month period during winter 2007-08. Our entry won third place in its competition and the overall Founder’s Award for ‘ embracing a truly collaborative way of working using online crowd sourcing and Second Life as a way to create a highly participatory design approach’ (www.openarchitecturenetwork.org/challenge/pressrelease: June 2008) . For this experiment, we wanted to go beyond just mashing up existing technologies and actually develop a unique Wikitecture platform. Based on the results of the previous experiments, we decided to collaborate with software designers from i3D Inc. (www.i3dnow.com: June 2008) and thus developed an in-world interface, in essence a 3D Wiki. An external website was also created to allow real time communication with the in-world interface (Fig. 4).
  • An external website was also created to allow real time communication with the in-world interface (Fig. 4).
  • One important aspect of these experiments was the development of an assessment scheme to measure individual ownership in and contribution to the collaboratively authored design. In its current form contributors are asked to assess relative amounts of contribution of all team members (Table 1). This provides a simple but generally reasonable judgment as to how much of the outcomes (e.g. compensation, ownership, IP rights) should be allocated to each contributor. Columns represent contributors, rows represent voters
  • OAN competition design process 3 rd prize in Asian competition, special Founders Award for the methodology With this technology, we were able to focus a very diverse range of ideas into a naturally evolving process ranging from comprehensive text-based research to 2D plan diagrams, then into immersive 3D virtual models designed and built on a replica of the project site. The first ideas submitted were simple 2D diagrams showing proposed arrangements of functions. Some ideas were studies of the architectural vernacular of the region. Others proposed concepts such as expandability and resilience. Contributions also contained extensive written documentation of material options. One community member submitted several hand-sketched layouts; another extracted the most popular layout into a 3D diagram. The concept evolved from 2D sketch into a more comprehensive 3D model, based on collaborative research on material options, sustainability and seismic considerations. Halfway through the design process the competition organisers changed the site and design brief. With new information provided by Nyaya Health and the OAN team’s site visit, the community quickly shifted gears. One contributor modeled the new site; another submitted new sketch diagrams on the corresponding website forum. Despite these site and program changes, most of our cultural, regional and material research still applied. In total, our design community consisted of over 40 members (about half whom had architectural backgrounds) who submitted over 50 different design contributions, left 67 comments, uploaded 92 images and placed over 200 votes. There was a tremendous variance in people’s contributions. As with any open source project, some people were diehards, constantly making suggestions and tweaking the design, but the majority of participants made only one or two contributions throughout the entire design process. Ironically, the ideas from these infrequent contributors had the most impact on the overall theme of the final design. The design submitted (Fig. 8) is only one point along a greater timeline. If our design had been selected, we would invite further input from Nyaya Health and the community of end users to inform the next phases of evolution toward an ideal solution. The virtual replica we have developed would not disappear after the competition is complete, but could live on as an evolving virtual model of the real life site in Nepal, echoing each development and opportunity as the project came to life. Though the real life site may be challenging to access, this mirror rendition of the project site could enable many people from around the world to experience the local site and conditions as it evolves, further expanding the outreach, awareness and support for this project to a global audience throughout its entire life cycle. Our entire design process has been collaborative and fluid, and we have no illusions that we have reached the optimal trade-off among the many practical and aesthetic considerations. We can only achieve excellence by incorporating more local knowledge and experience into the design.
  • http://www.ponoko.com/
  • www.blurb.com
  • www.styleshake.com
  • http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome Inevitable arrival of digital fabrication facilities in the home (the ‘Star Trek replicator’)
  • A recent project in virtual manufacturing is ‘Invisible Threads’ (http://www.doublehappinessjeans.com), actually intended as art but highlighting a number of issues pertinent to the future of manufacturing. The project bills itself as ‘telematic manufacturing’, or a ‘virtual sweatshop’ and uses a traditional model of manufacturing as a starting point: a factory (with both virtual and real manifestations) that produces ‘Double Happiness’ brand jeans, recruitment in the virtual world for paid workers and, following an ‘indentured servitude’ model, a factory ‘village’ where workers receive a plot of virtual land on which to build whatever they wish. With the use of an audio/video link between the real and virtual worlds, customers from the real world storefront/factory floor order customised goods. These orders are transmitted in real time to workers in the virtual factory, who can be physically located anywhere with a good Internet connection (Figs. 4 & 5). What the workers produce are essentially templates for the fabrication of the jeans (akin to CNC instructions), which are then transmitted back to the real factory floor, plotted and fabricated using traditional techniques for the waiting customer, who pays market prices for the finished product. While Double Happiness is a traditional enterprise in terms of its management structure, unlike Wikitecture or some of the innovation competitions, it is a good illustration of the possibilities of a virtual world for manufacturing and raises some interesting questions regarding the future of manufacturing (Zimmer, 2007 ), e.g. How might this change the clothing manufacturing industry? What new businesses might develop to receive in the physical world that which was manufactured in virtual space? Might this potentially impact equipment manufacturers in the future? How might such virtual telematic workers impact economies, labour, laws, and society?
  • Virtual factory Avatars represent workers in remote locations, receiving instructions from the main site (‘Big Brother’ video screen), who produce templates according to orders
  • RL setup Sundance Festival last spring Customer (kid here) specifies custom design and relays via video linkup to avatars in factory Avatar produces, jeans template gets plotted Turned into jeans via more traditional manufacturing technique
  • Discussion The examples above demonstrate that collaboration in virtual worlds can have a significant role in the life cycle of product design and manufacture and raise a number of additional issues, including: Community development : how does one build/assemble/discover a viable community of collaborators? The Wikitecture experiments have been moderately successful in this regard because the community in Second Life already existed as those interested in exploring the environment as an architectural design tool. The Ideation Quests have been less successful, as no community previously existed and there was a lack of incentive for potential contributors and no clear indication of how the results would be used. The Double Happiness factory used traditional methods to assemble its community (in-world advertisement for ‘unskilled’ paid workers). One current barrier toward building community here is the closed nature of Second Life and the software/hardware requirements for users. As virtual worlds become more open and interoperable this issue will dissipate (Terdiman, 2007). Project modularisation : this is an issue in any project of significant size involving multiple participants. It is further exacerbated by the distributed nature of virtual world communities, thus necessitating the establishment of effective protocols working and modularisation protocols. This modularity is a prerequisite for many successful crowdsourcing projects, and can allow the community to more accurately assess individual aspects of a design rather than a total design scheme. Contribution assessment : the Double Happiness factory uses a traditional method of remuneration, i.e. payment based on one’s contribution of time. More open approaches to collaboration (e.g. Philips Ideation Quest and Wikitecture) provide some means of assessing one’s contribution to the project but are fairly simplistic in their metrics. Improvements to these schemes could involve the use of fair division procedures (Brams, 2008) and include measures such as voting potency; fee size and the size of individual contributions.
  • The Future of Open Source Design Networks As ‘vast information technology arenas’ morph into networks that are more open and transparent, the projects within these networks will also become more open and transparent. Potential changes might include: Increased opportunities for less experienced professionals and smaller firms due to the potential to more easily outsource project components. The type of online ‘design/manufacture’ services described earlier can facilitate this. Peer review of tendered bids, with an equitable compensation scheme for reviewers, precipitated by market pressures and the increasing importance of an integrated and decentralised model of project organisation; Alternative paths to professional registration, including the possibility of graduated licensure based on qualifications; A continuing trend toward more collaborative relationships between designers, manufacturers and other suppliers, and end users.
  • Acknowledgements Thanks go to Annie Ok for use of the Double Happiness images from the Invisible Threads project. References Brams, S. J. (2008): Mathematics and Democracy: Designing Better Voting and Fair-Division Procedures. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Chase, S., Schultz, R. and Brouchoud, J. (2008): Gather 'round the Wiki-Tree: Virtual Worlds as an Open Platform for Architectural Collaboration. In proceedings of eCAADe 2008 , Antwerp, 17-20 September 2008. Gibson, M. P. (2007): Automated Custom Manufacturing, Technology Review , 7 Nov., http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/19678/?a=f. Kohler, T., Matzler, K. and Füller, J. (2008): Avatar-based Innovation using Virtual Worlds for Real World Innovation. In proceedings of 15th International Product Management Conference , Hamburg, 29 June-1 July 2008. Kozlov, S. and Reinhold, N. (2008): To Play or Not to Play: Can companies learn to be n00bs, LFG, and lvl-up?. In proceedings of IR 8.0 – Let’s Play!, 8th Association of Internet Researchers Conference , Vancouver, 17-20 October 2007. Lang, G., Fetscherin, M. and Lattemann, C. (2008): Using Virtual Worlds to Develop New Products. E-Business Review , 8, 51-60. Lessig, L. (2001): The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. Random House, New York. Lopes, C. V., Kan, L., Popov, A. and Morla, R. (2008): PRT Simulation in an Immersive Virtual World. In proceedings of SIMUTools 2008, First International Conference on Simulation Tools and Techniques for Communications, Networks and Systems , Marseilles, 3-7 March 2008. Open Architecture (2008): AMD Open Architecture Challenge Press Release, http://www.openarchitecturenetwork.org/challenge/pressrelease. Sells, E., Smith, Z., Bailard, S. and Bowyer, A. (2007): RepRap: The Replicating Rapid Prototyper - Maximizing Customizability by Breeding the Means of Production, extended abstract in Proc. Mass Customization and Personalization Conference , MIT, October 2007 Tapscott, D. and Williams, A. D. (2007): Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio, New York. Tahmincioglu, E. (2008): Business, and Startups, in Second Life. BusinessWeek SmallBiz , 22 August, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_68/s0808041522849.htm. Terdiman, D. (2007): Tech titans seek virtual-world interoperability, CNET News , 12 Oct., http://news.cnet.com/Tech-titans-seek-virtual-world-interoperability/2100-1043_3-6213148.html Zimmer, L. (2007): Virtual/RealWorld Custom Manufacturing Project: Double Happiness Jeans. In Business Communicators of Second Life blog, 31 Dec. 2007, http://freshtakes.typepad.com/sl_communicators/2007/12/virtualrealworl.html.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Virtual worlds as collaborative environments for design and manufacturing From idea to product Scott C Chase Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management University of Strathclyde VIRMAN ’08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008
    • 2. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 2
    • 3. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 3
    • 4. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 4
    • 5. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 5
    • 6. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Idea generation • Company presence on Internet/virtual worlds Marketing, sales & customer support • Competitions in SL, e.g. OSRAM: Million L$ Idea Electrolux: Innovation Grant Program Steelcase: Second Life Chair Design competition • Co-creation Avatar-Based Innovation VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 6
    • 7. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Ideation Quest Process VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 7
    • 8. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Philips Ideation Quest VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 8
    • 9. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Philips Ideation Quest VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 9
    • 10. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Philips Ideation Quest VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 10
    • 11. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Video advertisement system VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 11
    • 12. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Skytran simulation VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 12
    • 13. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Noggin Bops VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 13
    • 14. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Crescendo Design VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 14
    • 15. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Aloft Hotels VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 15
    • 16. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Wikitecture 3.0 VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 16
    • 17. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Wikitecture 3.0: External interface VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 17
    • 18. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Wikitecture: Contribution assessment   CP EE FL JN KB OT OB SG TS TR KB 1% 4% 7% 0% 7% 20% 20% 1% 33% 7% TS 0% 1% 5% 1% 20% 20% 10% 0% 40% 3% TR 0% 0% 0% 0% 25% 10% 10% 0% 25% 5% OB 0% 5% 5% 0% 25% 15% 20% 0% 25% 2% FL 5% 0% 7% 0% 25% 15% 15% 0% 25% 5% OT 0% 0% 0% 0% 20% 20% 10% 0% 50% 0%                         Averages= 1.00% 1.67% 4.00% 0.17% 20.33% 16.67% 14.17% 0.17% 33.00% 3.67% Sum= 94.83% Adjusted Averages= 1.05% 1.76% 4.22% 0.18% 21.44% 17.57% 14.94% 0.18% 34.80% 3.87% Adjusted Sum= 100.00% VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 18
    • 19. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Studio Wikitecture OAN competition entry VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 19
    • 20. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Ponoko VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 20
    • 21. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Blurb VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 21
    • 22. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion StyleShake VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 22
    • 23. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion RepRap VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 23
    • 24. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Double Happiness VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 24
    • 25. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Double Happiness VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 25
    • 26. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Double Happiness VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 26
    • 27. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion Issues • Community development • Project modularisation • Contribution assessment VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 27
    • 28. Introduction • Idea generation • Design • Manufacture • Discussion The future of open source design networks • Increased opportunities for less experienced designers and smaller firms • Peer review of tendered bids • Alternative paths to professional registration • More collaborative relationships between designers, manufacturers and other suppliers VIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 28
    • 29. Thank you! • In Real Life Scott Chase s.c.chase@strath.ac.uk http://personal.strath.ac.uk/s.c.chase • In Second Life Scooter Gaudio http://slurl.com/secondlife/StrathclydeVIRMAN ‘08 • Torino • 6-8 Oct 2008 29

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