_TABLE OF CONTENTS
2003 SBIR Phase II Technical Proprosal

BrahmsVE Platform for Design and Test of Large Scale Multi-Agent Human-Centric Mission Concepts

for the construction of a Universal Model Repository (UMR)
Proposal #98192

Part 1- Table of Contents

 

PART              

DESCRIPTION

PAGE

 

Proposal Cover

1

 

Project Summary

2

1

Table of Contents

3

2

Identification and Significance of the Innovation and Results of the Phase I Proposal

    2.1. Innovation

    2.2. Results of Phase I Project

4

3

Technical Objectives and Work Plan

    3.1. Technical Objectives

    3.2. Work Plan

        3.2.1. Technical Approach

        3.2.2. Task Descriptions

        3.2.3. Meeting the Technical Objectives

        3.2.4. Task Labor Categories and Schedules

21

4

Company Information

32

5

Facilities and Equipment

33

6

Key Personnel and Bibliography of Directly Related Work

   6.1 Key Contractor Participants

   6.2 Key NASA Participants

   6.3 NASA and Non-NASA Advisors

   6.4 Biography of Directly Related Work

33

7

Subcontracts and Consultants

38

8

Potential Applications

      8.1 Potential NASA Applications

      8.2 Potential Non-NASA Commercial Applications

40

9

Phase III Efforts, Commercialization and Business Planning

9.1. Market Feasibility and Competition

9.2. Strategic Relevance to the Offeror

9.3. Key Management, Technical Personnel and Organizational Structure

9.4. Production and Operations

9.5. Financial Planning

9.6. Intellectual Property

42

10

Capital Commitments Supporting Phase II and Phase III

45

11

Related R/R&D

46

 

Proposal Budget

 


Part 2 Identification and Significance of the Innovation and Results of the Phase I Proposal

 

2.1 Innovation: The declared new exploration vision and the strategic role of a new Universal Model Repository and critical template simulation applications

 

All research and development in the nation’s space program is being aligned around the new exploration vision [1]. Therefore the proposed work product for this SBIR II, a Universal Model Repository (UMR) to support a wide range of mission simulation and training applications, is intended to be an important new low cost tool for that vision. We will first articulate how this proposed project fits within the Office of Exploration Systems’ “spiral development” and “systems within systems” strategies. Following this we will review NASA’s past experience with 3D simulation and DigitalSpace’s prior work for NASA and our Phase I results which we believe support the case for the proposed project and suggest its value to NASA and the new vision. In Parts 3 and 4, we will articulate how we will deliver the UMR platform with the following three template applications deemed critical for work on the exploration initiative:

 

Table 1: Three critical application areas to be delivered with the Universal Model Repository

1. Simulation template and applications for crew health and safety on long duration missions for ISS and Constellation/CEV.

 

Supporting prior DigitalSpace work: VAST simulation for JSC and Lockheed Martin space medicine, use of CHeCS rack on ISS by crew performing emergency medical procedures, for refinement of procedures

2. Simulation template and applications for the design of human-robotic systems and practices to support a long duration surface facilities on the Moon or Mars.

 

Supporting prior DigitalSpace work: BrahmsVE/FMARS, MDRS/Mobile Agents, SimLunar visualizations for Boeing

3. Simulation template and applications for rapidly developed, low cost just-in-time virtual training for in-flight ISS and future Constellation/CEV crews.

 

Supporting prior DigitalSpace work: SimStation SimEVA application - STS-114 CMG change-out crew refresher simulation for Raytheon and JSC/Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.

 


Spiral Development pathway for 3D simulation-based acquisition

 

As articulated by the Office of Exploration Systems (Code T), development of the next generation of missions is to follow a “spiral” strategy where each set of technologies enables a subsequent generation of development. Figure 1 below represents what we perceive to be the logical spiral development pathway in the domain in which we are engaged: 3D simulation-based design, acquisition, training, and planning.

Figure 1: Spiral Development pathway for 3D simulation-based mission support

 

The above 3D simulation spiral mimics the spiral development cycles of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) [2] and the Boeing 777 [3] both of which relied heavily on simulation-based acquisition (SBA). However, the use of 3D simulation in space programs will go far beyond the normal CAD/CAM uses of the technology.

 

Consider the following example illustrating the above six spirals of 3D simulation-based approaches to aid in the deployment of a hypothetical long duration lunar base facility.

 

1.       In the first spiral, a long duration lunar base design is completely modeled in real-time 3D graphics with full simulation elements for power, life support, local resource utilization, safety and crew health, consumables and communications. This model can be rapidly modified during conferences of experts and is represented online for remote virtual collaboration. The model supports back-end documents, databases and annotations from participants. This synthetic lunar installation is in effect a “3D collaborative white board” in the early design engineering phases.

2.       Spiral two plays host to the processes of SBA as driven by prime contractors and subcontractors working together to design the flight hardware in CAD and deliver test components to NASA. A large volume of CAD models and functional data will be developed in this phase and exported to the UMR for use in the upper spirals.

3.       The third spiral is engaged when vehicles are ready for flight and mission planning is the focus. From orbital dynamics to lunar locales for initial landing of early automated base delivery systems and resource utilization virtual models realistically represent the lunar surface landing sites and projected performance of mission hardware.

4.       In the fourth spiral, when mission profiles have been established and crew and ground staff assigned, virtual models will permit planners and training facilities personnel to supplement training provided at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, JSC, KSC and elsewhere with virtual analogs of procedures. This will be an extension of the work DigitalSpace is already being employed for at JSC and other NASA centers.

5.       When a mission is in process in spiral five, 3D simulations connected with real time telemetry that drives the 3D scene, will allow mission control to visualize complex situations and assist with decision. 3D simulations will enable package-able “just in time” training that can be transmitted to crew and provide “in situ” training. This is perhaps the highest return on investment of the entire spiral cycle, permitting enhanced safety (even survivability) for crew who cannot access training facilities and test rigs on Earth.

6.      The final, sixth spiral is a benefit reaped from the presence of a common 3D simulation architecture and repository throughout all previous spirals. The 3D simulation archive will represent the comprehensive capture of design simulations, CAD/CAM from production, training scenarios, operational visualizations and links to all associated databases and communications for the mission. As we have seen with Apollo, a retiring generation can leave NASA and its community lacking essential knowledge. A simulation system designed from the beginning to capture knowledge would preserve this valuable asset for subsequent generations of the NASA community.

 

Table 2: DigitalSpace’s visualizations of a lunar base facility and CEV

 

DigitalSpace engaged in a design simulation exercise and produced a number of 3D concept visualizations of lunar base designs and CEV for a Boeing workshop in April 2004. Table 2 shows some visualizations of aspects of lunar base/CEV on the first rung of the spiral. These simulations were instrumental in Boeing awarding a Chairman’s Innovation Initiative to DigitalSpace and partners to pursue this further. This suggests to us that 3D design visualization studies on spiral 1 are proving to be of value. We will be including this project in the UMR platform being proposed in this Phase II.


The “Systems within Systems” approach for 3D simulation projects

 

Figure 2: A 3D simulation platform in a systems within systems methodology

 

Figure 2 above proposes how, through time, the creation of a competent core simulation platform will permit the natural development of subsequent functional layers. These layers map directly to the spirals in the previous diagram. Seeing this view allows us to illustrate that the core element to this platform, the Universal Model Repository (UMR) lies at the center of any successful strategy to employ modeling and simulation for whole life cycle virtual vehicles and work practices design and training. We will now discuss the scope of simulation challenges at NASA and DigitalSpace’s history of involvement with those challenges.

 

NASA’s special needs in the area of 3D simulation: key to mission design, planning and safe operations

 

NASA’s vehicles and missions differ from military or commercial aviation in their need for long duration human-in-the-loop inhabitation. Manned space operations such as Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) have shown that complex vehicles in which humans interact with a large number of subsystems and robotic agents are becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Mission control and astronauts alike often have difficulty visualizing the complexity of the flight environment and in a state of challenged cognition safety can be easily compromised by human error. Increasingly, synthetic environments are being integrated into training to provide cognitive aids allowing procedures to be seen from new points of view, whole systems and scenarios to be better comprehended, and steps to be optimized and safety enhanced. NASA has a long history with virtual tele-operations, CAD/CAM, aerodynamic visualization and other aspects of 3D simulation but is relatively new to the domain of human-in-the-loop work practice simulation. Some of the most successful recent use of virtual environments in mission training and operations was for the Hubble Telescope repair mission in 1993 [4-6] and the stereoscopically constructed 3D scene for Mars Pathfinder in 1997 [7].

 

The dramatically lowering costs of 3D modeling and simulation applications

Chart 1: Ten year cost and time curve estimate for 3D modeling, scripting, animating a detailed human figure animation (source: Web 3D consortium [31], figures are in 2004 dollars)

 

In the past decade, the cost for producing real-time rendered 3D simulations has declined dramatically (ref Chart 1). Several factors have helped to drive down costs and time including:

1.       A dramatic decline in real-time 3D hardware costs from $36,000 for SGI Indigo 2 3D reality pipeline in 1994 to $129 for a Radeon ATI 9800 card in 2004 (with 10x the performance).

2.       Software tools have improved significantly and lowered in cost (from $15,000 for an Inventor license from SGI in 1994 to a few hundred dollars for Discrete’s GMax in 2004).

3.       Volume economics of the game industry have produced a thousand fold increase in the number of studios and 3D modeling specialists and driven the hourly labor costs down.

4.       Cameras costing a few hundred dollars permit 3D scanning of objects, tools and algorithms allow the creation of realistic human figure animations, and physics engines give “free” procedurally generated realistic motion for simulations. In 1994 such realism would have been achieved using costly motion capture hardware.

 

NASA has begun to adopt lower cost approaches to 3D modeling and simulation but our experience on the projects described below suggests that the adoption of late model tools and techniques is not consistent. We found that there are at least a dozen separate projects to model the International Space Station [14,16, 18-20] and a number of virtual astronaut projects. The proposed Universal Model Repository will give NASA and its contractors access to a common library of low cost models, animations, scripts, procedures and web-services techniques to build applications, encouraging cost sharing and the adoption of the latest hardware and zero license cost net-based 3D renderers. Thus, a major focus of this proposal to construct the UMR and template applications is producing cost and time savings for NASA.

 


DigitalSpace’s history and innovation with NASA in the area of 3D simulation

 



DigitalSpace has been engaged with a variety of NASA centers and companies for five years and has developed an open platform for low cost, rapid development, cross-agency, multiple mission applications: DigitalSpace SimSpace ™.

 


Figure 3: DigitalSpace’s SimSpace Architecture


Figure 3 introduces the current components of the SimSpace architecture and illustrates that the open format of SimSpace supports 3rd party simulation engines, including the Brahms and Mobile Agents projects of one ARC/JSC team (Clancey, Sierhuis et al [8-13]) and the SimSpace project of an ARC/JSC/Langley team (Shirley, Cochrane et al [14]). The open methodology of SimSpace enhances these two platforms, and any future platform with of the following unique and novel features:

·         Real-time 3D virtual environments viewable through the internet using a variety of 3D rendering technologies (commercial and open source engines).

·         Rapidly developed models and animation lower costs (employing a model repository which is the subject of a full Phase II development proposal).

·         Multi user interaction to permit shared presence in the simulations.

·         Collaborative database to associate existing vehicle databases with 3D scenarios.

·         Web-accessibility permitting universal access to the environments even employing computers in vehicles in flight.

·         Open scripting component architecture to permit physical and haptic device interfaces (planned).

 

SimSpace combines 3rd party Foundation elements (Brahms, SimStation, shared models and any other pluggable system) within a common Simulation layer (SimSpace including the BrahmsVE interface, Oworld Agent Information Broker (OWIB) and OWorld engine) and drives a flexible Presentation layer (commercial or open source 3D engines) enabling a much larger range of Applications than would be possible with a monolithic system. The next section covers some of these applications.

 

Applications built on the SimSpace platform

 

The approach has proven successful as SimSpace has begun to gain wider acceptance across NASA centers and within the contractor community. The following applications have been built on SimSpace and delivered to customers:

 

·         SimHab: FMARS and Mars Desert Research Station Analog Habitats (using Brahms from ARC - figures 4-6 below) [21].

·         SimRover: 3D scenarios of Mobile Agents work practice (current summer 2004) (Brahms from ARC and rovers from JSC). MER Rover surface operations reconstruction prototype in “Drive On Mars” (ARC VizOpps group, JPL surface data – figure 7 below) [22].

·         SimStation: Web-based collaborative rendering of SimStation application including exterior 3D ISS configurations with linked in photography and database documents (SimStation group at ARC, JSC, Langley –  figure 13 below) [14, 23, 29].

·         SimEVA and SimIVA: EVA training prototype for Neutral Bouyancy Laboratory/Raytheon including CMG changeout for STS-114 and RPCM changeout on the ISS (SimStation group at ARC – see figure 10 below) [24]. Simulation of Personal Satellite Assistant in ISS IVA operations (ARC – figure 8 below) [15-17, 26]. Simulation of EVA on Mars for BrahmsVE application (ARC – figures 9-11 below).

·         SimMedical: VAST project for ISS crew medical training on CHeCS rack procedures (Lockheed Martin, ARC, JSC, Langley – figure 14 below). National Institutes of Health project for childhood autism, safety learning game (DoToLearn) [27].

·         SimVehicle and SimLunar: 3D simulations for Boeing of Lunar base and Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) concepts. Prototypes for Space Exploration Online (SEO), initiative for a massively multiplayer space oriented Lunar base reality game (Boeing CII project, ARC, JSC, MOVES Institute, Arsenal Interactive – see table 2 above) [28].

 


Figures showing the SimSpace applications, years: 2000-2001

Figure 4: Modeling of virtual environment for the HMP/FMARS habitat, rover and astronaut from first BrahmsVE feasibility project (ARC)

Figure 5: Scenario of the Bill Clancey agent astronaut enacting a complex animation sequence inside the virtual FMARS habitat (ARC)

 

2002

Figure 6: Planning meeting simulation from 2002 BrahmsVE project to model a day in the life of the FMARS analogue Mars habitat (ARC)

Figure 7: MER rover modeled for JPL concept presentation (ARC)

 

2003

Figure 8: Modeling PSA inside ISS engaging in a tool location and reporting exercise (ARC)


Figure 9: Figure from water tank scenario (ARC)

Figure 10: EVA exterior FMARS (ARC)

Figure 11: EVA to water pump station (ARC)

 

2004

Figure 12: Simulated CMG changeout for STS-114 & RPCM changeout for ISS (ARC, Raytheon and NBL)

Figure 13: SimStation Online database-driven construction of ISS exterior (ARC, JSC)

Figure 14: VAST project: modeling emergency medical procedures aboard ISS (ARC, Lockheed Martin, JSC)

 

We conclude with a description of the high level process architecture of the Simulation and Presentations layers is shown in figure 15 below. SimSpace is built using a number of web technologies including PHP, SQL, JavaScript, Adobe Atmosphere, the Viewpoint and Havok engines and common ActiveX components embedded in a standard Internet Explorer web browser. The internal architecture of the SimSpace engine Oworld consists of a state machine representing agents acting to enable behaviors of objects (astronauts, parts or systems) with a simulation scenario.

 

Figure 15: Current high level process architecture for the SimSpace platform

 

Commands initiate from any server-based environment including SQL databases, Brahms agents, or any third party simulation system. SimSpace communicates back to those server-based elements using web services protocols including SOAP or PHP. Geometry is loaded from a common repository in a number of formats and rendered together with animation within the Adobe Atmosphere 3D player or any other capable 3D engine.

 

Emergence of the need for a Universal Model Repository

 

SimSpace was built to serve the multiple needs of systems within systems engineering and the spiral development cycles of the next generation of vehicles. DigitalSpace’s experience in working with many of NASA’s prime contractors and delivering applications for NASA centers on its SimSpace platform has led us to the following principle:

 

The key to success in 3D simulation applications in the NASA community is the easy sharing of common models and procedures in a license-free environment that supports rapid application building.

 

We can illustrate how we came upon this principle by recounting the past six months of project work on projects employing the SimSpace platform:

 

January-March 2004: Support from this SBIR Phase I permitted DigitalSpace to work with SimStation team at NASA Ames Research Center to produce models of the exterior configurations of the ISS and generate simulations of EVA activities

April 2004: Raytheon and the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) training center at JSC supplied DigitalSpace with training video for the upcoming STS-114 mission. DigitalSpace created a comprehensive 3D simulation of this training (CMG changeout procedure) by centralizing geometry from Boeing, procedures from Raytheon and creating a demonstration for ARC and JSC. Raytheon subsequently contracted DigitalSpace to perform a Phase II project.

May 2004: DigitalSpace produced lunar base models and crew exploration vehicle simulations for Boeing for a workshop on return to the moon in Houston. These models and presentation to Boeing evolved into a formal study of a possible space exploration game, which was included in the Aldridge Commission report.

June 2004: Lockheed Martin and JSC medical training staff, including a flight surgeon, worked with DigitalSpace to provide procedures, video and interior models (from Booz Allen Hamilton and Boeing) to create an ISS crew emergency medical training scenario using the CHeCS rack aboard ISS.

July-August 2004: Teams at ARC and JSC provide DigitalSpace with data from field tests of the “Mobile Agents” human/robot trials carried out in April and May in the Utah desert at the Mars Desert Research Station. DigitalSpace is now building models of work practices, surface robots and people working with embodied and virtual agents.

 

In each of the above scenarios, a real need was addressed by the SimSpace platform for customers in NASA and its contractor community. In all cases, a large number of models were supplied, converted, generated and stored, along with procedural documents, photography and video, and functional specifications. Therefore a repository emerged which was of value to all projects. Indeed, the exterior models from the January work on ISS simulations provided US Lab and Z1 Truss assemblies used in the April Raytheon work. Interior models from the SimStation efforts were repurposed for the June work for Lockheed Martin and JSC on crew medical training. Lastly, one could easily imagine that by combining the models produced for the Mobile Agents test, the Boeing long duration lunar habitats, the earlier work on the FMARs Mars analog habitat and all IVA and EVA crew activities, intelligent approaches to modeling CEV and Lunar outposts could be pursued.

 

In the end, it was the resulting repository of license-free objects that was the greatest value to permit all projects to be implemented rapidly and at low cost. This is how we concluded that logical next step in this entire domain was the creation of a Universal Model Repository (UMR).

 

The Universal Model Repository serving NASA and its contractor community

 

SimSpace is not the ideal platform for the CAD/CAM needs of prime contractors who are charged with building flight hardware. Regardless, SimSpace and other platforms in the CAD/CAM field use a common set of assets: 3D geometry describing physical objects, functional specifications, documents and parametric simulations. Therefore it is the proposed Universal Model Repository, designed to host this common set of assets, which will provide the largest gains for all participants in the new exploration vision.  

 

Above all, the UMR will drive down costs and speed up delivery time for a whole generation of 3D modeling and simulation applications. We will address the technical implementation of the UMR in part 3 of this proposal.

 

2.2 Results of the Phase I Project

 

In our original Phase I proposal we stated:

It is clear that a major function of the ISS over the next decade will be as a test-bed and living laboratory for the development and long-duration certification of multi-agent, human-centric robotic and software systems. Indeed, the primary scientific and engineering output of the ISS may well be that of a body of practice and design experience in agent-based systems that can be applied to both future NASA missions as well as commercial applications back on Earth.

 

To help coalesce that body of practice, the islands of isolation that now exist between groups working on human-agent systems for ISS need to be bridged. It is proposed in this SBIR that we undertake a proof-of-concept project that creates a macro-scale simulation of a future ISS on which multiple agent systems are deployed. It is hoped that such a simulation, built through a process of consultation and utilizing BrahmsVE (and now SimSpace) can be made available online to researchers from several NASA centers and their collaborators and provide another mechanism for future collaboration across teams.

 

In the planning for this Phase I work it was determined that we would construct a complete external model of the ISS on the SimSpace platform and then add dynamic elements, an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA). The two components constructed are documented in A and B below.

 

A) SimStation Online geometry and collaborative sharing component

 

The recommended customer for this SBIR Phase I work, Mark Shirley and Tom Cochrane of NASA ARC, tasked our team to produce a web-delivered prototype of their “SimStation” client application, which permits station engineers to view true fidelity CAD models of ISS configurations. SimStation had been successfully deployed at JSC and was in use by VIPER team engineers. It was felt that it would be of great value to have a web-based collaborative version of SimStation allowing engineers to share configurations online and make annotations to views of ISS and associate close-out photography, video and database records.

 

Prior ISS modeling

 

In 2002 and 2003 the Brahms team completed a number of Brahms models to reconstruct activities aboard the ISS [13] which explored the use of the ISS model as part of an environment for teamwork between ISS crews and onboard software assistants and robotic systems and as a short term planning and scheduling tool for mission planners. Other prior work on modeling the ISS includes the Intelligent Virtual Station at ARC [18, 19] as well as several efforts including telerobotics at JSC and in Moscow as part of the Russian space program [20].

 

Based on the SimStation team’s guidance and with reference to other prior work, DigitalSpace constructed the SimStation Online application and delivered it for test in May of 2004. Figure 16 below shows the elements of the SimStation Online (SSO) application, running in the Internet Explorer web browser.

 

Figure 16 SimStation Online running in Web browser, camera view selected inline to ISS orbit

 

Explanation of the SimStation Online Application: User Experience

 

SSO is a web-based presentation layer on top of the SimSpace platform from DigitalSpace. In the central 3D viewing area a complete representation of ISS in configuration 12A is available for real-time rendering and exploration. Interfaces to predefined cameras are included with this model and allow the user to travel to preset viewpoints on the station geometry. The right hand menus show the current selected station component. In the first figure the user has selected the SM Core while in the second the SO Truss was selected. The selection of any part allows the user to add a textual notation, associated images (often close-out photography or on-orbit station video), station documents or direct database calls. NASA domain experts informed us there are over 200 separate databases supporting ISS so this kind of application presenting web-based access to those databases could serve as an integration point for a great deal of valuable information for ISS assembly or maintenance planning.

 

Explanation of the SimStation Online Application: Architecture

 

SimStation Online is based on a combination of technologies:

  1. BrahmsVE, a platform based on a combination of Adobe Atmosphere and the OWorld engine developed by DigitalSpace. The Brahms discrete agent server is an optional component (and is planned for future use in SSO).
  2. OWorld Animation Renderer (OWAR): a module developed by DigitalSpace which performs generated animations in the 3D scenegraph
  3. OWorld Agent Information Broker (OWIB): a MySQL application utilizing PHP to communicate with client installations of SSO. OWIB handles the brokering and assembly of all 3D objects, user log-ins and preferences, tours through the scene graph, association of URLs, documents, images and other records with elements of the scene graph, and all user interaction with the 3D geometry and associated web resources.

 

SQL is the backbone of the SimStation Online system. All information used by SimStation Online is stored and organized using an SQL server powered by MySQL. Data comes in via multiple sources, including XML files and user interaction via the SimStation Online interface. PHP is used to implement security. ActiveX is used to implement a high-quality interactive interface to the end user. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Secure) is used to ensure that data transfer between the SimStation Online client and the server environment is secure.

 

Successes and Shortcomings

 

The SSO application met all the objectives of the Phase I SBIR project goals to model the exterior of the ISS. Our team was able to go beyond the original plan by permitting the selection and assignment of database records, documents, close-out photography and video to any component and to do this in a collaborative manner using a web-based SQL/PHP solution.  The sole identified shortcoming of the solution that would prohibit it from being deployed to VIPER team station engineers is the low rendering performance of the current Atmosphere 3D plug-in. This rendering performance is in the range of 4-8 frames per second when the standalone SimStation application developed at ARC is delivering 30+ frames per second. Adobe, provider of the Atmosphere renderer, recognized the shortcoming and is delivering to DigitalSpace a high performance version of the plug-in (going into test in July of this year).


Unique or novel features

 

The novel feature of this software is the web-database assembly of CAD models and presenting the complete 3D view along with interfaces to add records in a multi user setting. The advantages of this innovation is the ability to quickly create a model of a virtual vehicle and associate key object with parts of the vehicle including documents, photography, video or audio or database records. New problems arising from this innovation relate to the management of information in a more complex, web-based environment than normal CAD/CAM and planning tools are used to.

 

B) SimStation SimEVA component

 

As called for in the Phase I proposal, we committed to add dynamic elements (Extra or Intra Vehicular Activities) into the 3D ISS representation. We were requested by the ARC team to model two upcoming EVA procedures for the Raytheon contract managers at the Neutral Bouyancy Laboratory (NBL) at JSC. The ARC partners felt that it would be of more immediate value to model actual training procedures rather than future robotic assistants (PSA and Robonaut) as we had originally proposed.

 

The ARC and JSC partners supplied several hours of NBL video of two astronauts training for the upcoming STS-144 shuttle return to flight on which mission they will be replacing a failed Control Moment Gyro (CMG) aboard the ISS. DigitalSpace carried out the steps to model this training procedure using SimSpace by first making a computer graphics movie re-construction of the shuttle cargo bay sequence of the CMG changeout (figures 17-18 below) followed by a complete real-time simulation version (figure 22 below).

 

Figures 17-18 CMG changeout computer graphics re-construction of NBL training

 

Modeling EVA procedures from NBL training

 

Use of the movie-creation step allowed us to create a precise reconstruction of NBL video, from the perspective of divers in the NBL tank. We integrated voice from astronauts and NBL staff to correspond to the actual voice loop dialogue. This movie was shown to NBL and ARC team members who were satisfied by its realism vis a vis the actual procedures. We were then requested to construct an actual simulation of the sequence. This simulation was completed and the first version satisfied the goals set forth in section (2) above. We were then requested to extend the platform and model a second EVA in simulation the RPCM changeout procedure, this time without reference to NBL video (none existed) but using only a simple verbal description. A goal of this phase was to compare the realism of video-sourced modeling and procedure-sourced modeling. Through this work we determined that a productive goal for a Phase II proposal would be to build a large library of gestures and actions tied to real procedure language and checklists to permit trainers the ability to create computer simulated training procedures quickly and at low cost.

 

Explanation of the SimStation SimEVA Application: User Experience

 

The following figure presents the first SimEVA application, the model of the STS-114 CMG changeout procedure (shuttle cargo bay sequences). The second figure presents a model, developed without NBL video, instead using generic descriptions and pre-existing models drawn from the growing library, of the RPCM changeout just completed by ISS crew. Both simulations employ real station CAD geometry and are driven by the new SimSpace OWIB component (described below).

 

STS-114 CMG changeout (shuttle cargo bay sequences) procedure simulation

 

Figure 19  below illustrates the simulation of the CMG changeout procedure as modeled from NBL training video via the above-described computer animation step. This application is executing in the Internet Explorer web browser using the Adobe Atmosphere and DigitalSpace SimSpace application. Note that the procedure steps and camera viewpoints in the HTML user interface on the right. The simulation may be run live at the web address at [24].

 

Figure 19: faulty CMG is attached to ball stack

 

RPCM changeout (shuttle cargo bay sequences) procedure simulation

 

Figure 20 below shows an EVA changeout scenario for a station remote power module (RPCM) with egress from the US portion of the station. The actual RPCM changeout was carried out from a Russian segment due to problems with the US suits. The simulation may be run live at the web address at [24].

 

Figure 20: Replacement of RPCM that powers 3rd CMG on Z1 Truss location

 

Explanation of the SimStation Online Application: Architecture

 

The current environments operating under the SimEVA module utilize a database performing pre-written pseudo-Brahms statements, the OWIB module and animation renderer.

 

Successes and Shortcomings

 

A visit to the NBL by DigitalSpace and ARC partners in April of 2004 obtained further interest and currently Raytheon is engaging DigitalSpace under contract to model the entire CMG changeout procedure for the NBL. It is anticipated that this simulation will be used iteratively by the NBL and the astronauts for scenario planning and refresher training for the STS-114 mission in early 2005.

 

A shortcoming of the process was identified by our difficulty in transferring the wide variety and complexity of CAD formats for ISS models into the format used by our 3D renderer, Adobe Atmosphere. The great geometric complexity embodied in not only the models of ISS and shuttle hardware but for all the gestures and animations of the crew forced us to break the elements of the CMG changeout and STS-114 into separate simulations. It is hoped that more powerful 3D rendering engines will ameliorate these problems and permit “straight through” simulations. A second shortcoming was the lack of a true agent architecture to drive the EVA simulations. In these examples, simple procedure checklists were tied to the animation sequences. In a Phase II proposal it will be suggested that Brahms, which is a fully capable agent architecture, be tied into the SimEVA capability. Brahms Agents could be embodied in the simulations to represent ISS crew, US and Russian mission controllers, instruments, power subsystems and even the presence of the sun/darkness cycle. Only a full agent architecture will enable a rich enough simulation environment for comprehensive crew training.

 

Conclusions

 

The successful applications achieved in this Phase I demonstrated that a single open, extensible modeling and simulation platform can address the needs of several NASA centers and subcontractors in the collaborative visualization for ISS and its maintenance and crew training needs. It is hoped that the continued evolution of the platform will position it well to support the new exploration initiatives and Code T.

 

Possible Phase II value of SimStation Online and SimEVA

 

It has been suggested that this second component of the Phase I project should be continued in a Phase II proposal. ARC partners in the project suggested that the ability to rapidly assemble training sequences from a pre-built repository of gestures and CAD parts and at low cost will provide a whole new modality of training in the future. It was suggested that this kind of portable, just-in-time training will be essential for crews on long duration missions in the Moon-Mars initiative, who cannot return to Earth (and the NBL and other facilities) for that training. If the SimEVA simulations can be operated by astronauts on the ISS laptops, this will prove the feasibility of delivering a class of training to where it is needed. The need for haptic interfaces for SimEVA was identified, especially in medical and repair operations.

 

Core elements added to the SimSpace platform: OWorld Agent Information Broker

 

As originally proposed for Phase I a new control module the “OWorld Agent Information Broker” (OWIB - see figure 21 below) was built. The OWIB provides a means to provide communications and scheduling of all agent activities, reporting of exceptions and driving a unified user interface to all agent activities. A key part of the OWIB’s job is to interface between the SimStation Online CAD elements, the database records, and the SimEVA elements including the astronaut EVA procedure checklists.

 

Figure 21: schematic specification for the Agent Broker


Part 3 Technical Objectives and Work Plan

3.1 Technical Objectives

 

DigitalSpace believes that the experience of the past five years of development of 3D simulation applications for NASA and its contractor community justifies the creation of the following technology platforms under this Phase II SBIR project:

1.      Universal Model Repository to permit checking in and sharing of all objects involved in the simulation domains for many classes of mission design, training and operations.

2.      Template applications built on top of the UMR to permit easy adoption of the architecture into three mission critical areas:

a.      Design and training simulations supporting crew health and safety on long duration missions for ISS and Constellation/CEV.

b.      Simulation-based design and acquisition of human-robot systems and practices to support a long duration surface facilities on the Moon or Mars.

c.       A platform for rapidly developed, low cost just-in-time virtual training for in-flight ISS and future Constellation/CEV crews.

 

The UMR in its current state

 

DigitalSpace’s SimSpace platform (shown in figure 3) supports a prototype version of a Universal Model Repository. However, this UMR simply stores models and other assets in a series of flat file directories with no digital asset management and only updatable by hand. As this ad-hoc repository grows, there will be increasing complexity and management problems as well as the challenge of keeping assets up to date.

 

UMR to be based on an open, web services platform

 

This lead us to conclude that the wisest use of Phase II support would be to construct and deliver to NASA a fully featured asset management system for these models and create a layer of demonstration applications, tutorials, and developer tools that any NASA or contractor personnel could use to employ the repository in their projects. In addition, the repository would be designed to run through the web, permitting log-in, check-in, check-out and other aspects of object management.

 

Perhaps most importantly, the UMR would be able to be employed, via standard web services interfaces, to support any modeling and simulation platform, not just SimSpace. The conclusion of Phase II, following a period of beta releases to contractors and NASA participants, DigitalSpace would publish the platform, its documentation and sample applications under a web-accessible SQL/PHP environment employing web services interfaces. Figure 22 below details the proposed architectural implementation of the UMR.

 

Figure 22: Proposed UMR implementation architecture

 

UMR and application layers adoption encouraged by license-free, open access

 

It is very important that the UMR and its template applications be available to NASA and its contracts through unrestricted and license free access. In the past, very powerful tools have languished in one part of NASA, unavailable to other groups or centers, due to expensive or restrictive licensing requirements. In this era of open source tools and operating systems, which are widely used in the academic, scientific and now engineering disciplines, the best strategy for the widest adoption is to permit license-free and unrestricted access.

 

Commercial partners who add functional modules to the UMR architecture will, of course, retain commercial rights to market their technology outside of NASA and its programs, but within NASA they must provide a general site license. These partners may be entitled to revenues to support, train and continue to develop their contributed modules but will not be able to restrict where and how the modules are used to support NASA’s missions.

 

In addition, all 3D content, procedures, documents and other descriptive or functional models filed in the UMR must be available license-free and unrestricted for use within NASA and its designated contractors (subject to ITAR and other export control regulations). It is only through clear, open policies that the UMR platform will be adopted throughout the full agency and become a de facto standard within the sometimes competing subcontractor community. This proposal will include the development of the cooperative framework by which NASA and other partners can participate in the platform. Suggested licenses and terms will be produced that NASA will be able to review prior to deployment of the platform.

 

 

Figure 23: the top level object classification (data types) of the UMR

 

Major Object Classifications of the UMR

 

As figure 23 above illustrates, the repository will contain the traditional objects that support simulation including 3D CAD geometry, animation sequences and even device interfaces (for training applications requiring Haptics). As any vehicle manager knows, 3D geometric representation of parts are of little use without the large number of associated documents, photographs, video, domain expert notes and even parametric simulations. Reference to the 3D representation is far less frequent than to the other data types, as evidenced by day to day work at the Mission Control Center (MCC) at JSC. Therefore it is anticipated that a whole class of applications built on top of the UMR will not require the 3D representation but will instead represent the application through the display of procedure steps, images and video and audio documentation. Indeed it should be possible to build applications utilizing the UMR that present several possible views, seeing the 3D view of the simulation, the procedural step view, or the systems view (showing power consumption levels etc).

 

Likely objects to populate the UMR for a particular simulation

 

Tom Cochrane of Raytheon, who managed the NBL projects and SimStation provided us with the following scenario which illustrates the objects likely to be needed in the UMR for just a single piece of flight hardware: the Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) which is a critical component of ISS and the subject of an EVA repair in early July 2004:

 

The RPCM is described in many ways, including the inputs and outputs (the power conditioning done by this unit), heat output, the associated cold plate and the capacity of the cold plate to cool the RPCM, test results for unit outgassing, inventory of RPCM on orbit, inventory at KSC and Kazakhstan, 3D geometric mesh of the unit, testing results on whether the RPCM can fit into the progress or Soyuz hatches, functional spec docs, close-out photography, video of training with RPCM at the NBL, video of RPCM installation and servicing on-orbit.

 

For the RPCM and its servicing there is a SODF (systems operations data file) which is in Microsoft Word format and would have to be parsed and represented in the UMR as a series of discrete XML records. The RPCM geometry exists in many formats including AutoCAD and VRML and these could be stored.

 

This description by an expert illustrates the scope of objects associated with the single RPCM part. This leads us to conclude that the UMR would have to be very flexible about accepting many diverse data types.

 

Adoption of existing and new standards including U3D

 

The UMR would accomodate a number of proprietary and open standards in parallel. The key to success of the platform is flexibility to the end users; therefore there would not be any restriction on what type of object could be checked in. For each object, an interface specification would allow the submitter to classify the object as to what applications can access it and how.

 

DigitalSpace is a partner with Adobe on its Atmosphere platform, which supports one of the major commercial 3D rendering functions in SimSpace. Adobe has recently announced [30] a major initiative called the 3D Industry Forum (3DIF) with Intel, Boeing and most of the large CAD using companies in aerospace and manufacturing. The 3DIF has backed a new universal CAD format called U3D and DigitalSpace is Adobe’s first beta tester of its implementation of a U3D renderer.

 

If U3D emerges as a major standard, able to convert a variety of commercial CAD formats into a common, lossless representation, the UMR will be able to take advantage of a major shift in the industry. DigitalSpace is also partnered with the MOVES institute and the Web 3D Consortium which is serving as an advisor to the project. This organization has its own CAD working group and set of standards including X3D and XMSF [31]. Regardless of which standards emerge, the flexible web-based design of the UMR will allow it to serve users desiring to use new formats.

 

User Affordances of the UMR

 

DigitalSpace has long experience in delivering web-based content management systems for large user audiences and this will be put into play with the construction of the UMR. Table 3 below illustrates the affordances we plan to build into the platform:

 

Table 3: Features of the Universal Model Repository content management system

·         Object check-in

·         Object check-out

·         Object download and upload

·         Object interrogation (web based search)

·         Object manual and automatic classification

·         Interrogation of object methods (access API)

·         Automatic geometric assembly schemas (eg: assembling parts)

·         Associated applications (web service direct execution from repository)

·         Template applications and tutorials with direct links to repository objects

·         History of all object access and updating (records management)

·         User account control, login and notification of changes

·         Access to direct SQL queries and query construction

 

Advanced object search and classification

 

For this Phase II project DigitalSpace will be partnering with Purdue University and several other entities and individuals to apply advanced CAD search and automatic classification strategies to enable easier object check in to the repository. If the Purdue team is able to make a substantial design contribution to the UMR, their technologies will be licensed for Phase III commercialization.

 

Table 4: Template applications and Tutorials to be delivered in beta test and in final publication of platform

·         Web services code to enable full access (check in, check out, interrogation, updating) of any object in UMR (.net, Java, Javascript)

·         template application #1: crew health and safety

·         template application #2: human-robot systems and practices

·         template application #3: just-in-time virtual training

·         Other applications arising during beta test period, which might include vehicle CAD object assembly and mission control work practices simulation

 

Application and tutorial layer

 

Along with the UMR itself DigitalSpace will deliver a series of template applications that act as demonstrations of web-services access to the repository and tutorials on constructing actual 3D simulation environments by building directly onto the UMR. Any HTML or server-side code will be able to create queries and updates to the UMR. Any application, server or client side, will be able to directly operate the UMR via web services interfaces including SOAP, SQL queries and establishing remote services calls (through CORBA and other interfaces).

 

Table 4 presents the planned tutorial and template applications we plan to deliver with the platform (both in the beta test phase and final publication). NASA centers and prime contractors with whom we are currently working on similar modeling and simulation applications will be included in this development and test phase. Next we will detail the template applications that will be delivered on the UMR platform. Each template is a working example to allow NASA and its contractor community to build similar applications on the UMR.

 

Template Application #1: Crew health and safety template application

 

Figure 24: example of crew health and safety simulation from VAST project, summer 2004

Figure 25: equivalent training procedure aboard ISS modeled in VAST project

 

 

The most critical element of the success of any long duration mission is crew health and safety. This is why DigitalSpace will deliver a template simulation application utilizing the UMR focused on a crew medical training. Our prior work modeling ISS crew emergency medical procedures for the Virtual Activity Simulation Tool (VAST) project using the Crew Healthcare System (CHeCS) aboard ISS for a team at JSC and Lockheed Martin (see figures 24 and 25) gives us a good background on creating a template procedure that could be used in health and safety design studies for CEV and any lunar or Mars surface habitats. VAST project participants include: the Institute for Advanced Computing Systems at NASA-Ames Research Center, the Mission Simulation Laboratory at NASA Langley Research Center, the Mission Operations Directorate (MOD/code DV), Spaceflight Medicine (code SD) and the Engineering Directorate's Biomedical Systems Division (code EB) at NASA-Johnson Space Center as well as the National Biocomputation Center at Stanford University.

 

The VAST project and follow-on template simulation for the UMR enables accuracy in assessment, design and verification of spaceflight hardware and human-machine interfaces in a microgravity environment like the ISS.  The physics of microgravity interior operations for human spaceflight makes a virtual activity simulators uniquely useful. Advanced haptic interfaces are included in this UMR application. We feel that any application that adds a level of certainty to human-system risk management and crew health is central to Code T’s mission.

 

Template Application #2: Human-robot systems and practices

 

A major focus of Code T is human and robotic systems design. The Brahms team at NASA ARC has created a powerful java-based discrete agent work practices simulation platform that permits the instantiation of agents representing people, robots, systems, geography and other elements of surface and other NASA missions. Brahms has been used extensively in the field including the FMARS and MDRS Mars analog habitats and more recently in the Mobile Agents project which pairs analog Mars remote science teams with rovers created at JPL, an EVA Robotic Assistant (ERA), called Boudreaux (see figure 26 below).

 


Figure 26: mobile agents test with Brahms Team, Mars Desert Research Station

 

DigitalSpace is engaged in modeling this Mobile Agents test using its BrahmsVE component of SimSpace and developing a Brahms interface and 3D models for the autonomous rovers, astronauts and terrain represented by the spring 2004 Mobile Agents test. This work will naturally lend itself to the building of a template application for the UMR that will represent humans and robots working together in a simulated lunar and Mars base context (which serves a major need in the Human and Robotic Technology (H&RT) pat of Code T’s exploration vision). This reference application will then be made available during the release of the UMR to the NASA community.

 

Template Application #3: Just-in-time virtual training (EVA)

 

It is proposed that one major template simulation application delivered on the UMR platform would be a planning & training tool suite developed with the Brahms team at ARC (for agents) and the ARC SimStation team (for station geometry and EVA procedures) with support from the Crew Systems Branch (DX3).  EVA workspaces could include shuttle and ISS but could also include CEV, lunar surface operations, utilizing autonomous robotic agents, robot arms and multiple astronaut avatars (moving 3D figures with collision detection & dynamic physics). As in earlier applications this UMR simulation would be synchronized with textually defined procedures and linked into databases, picture and movie objects, all contained within the UMR. Figures 27 and 28 illustrate an early application of this type developed by DigitalSpace working with the above partners modeling the RPCM changeout carried out on ISS in July 2004.

 

Figure 27: EVA carried out by ISS crew in July 2004 to replace a faulty RPCM


Figure 28: DigitalSpace’s simulation of possible RPCM changeout EVA procedure

 

The just-in-time training application will include a plan instantiated from a detailed plan library, a library of tools and other resources and a library of astronaut motions.  The plan library will model precedence and resource relationships between steps, safety constraints and best practices, allowing end users to rapidly modify procedures while keeping them consistent and the visualization up-to-date.  To support planning and refresher training, the tool will be linked to backing documentation about tools, vehicle subsystems and parts. This template application will allow NASA and contractors to develop virtual training applications that can be shipped to ISS, CEV or other vehicles where crew are in flight and do not have access to earth-based training.

 

Virtual training and NASA’s immediate needs

 

Prior to CEV and lunar/Mars exploration commencing, the application DX3 could use this capability for new crew familiarization (before Neutral Boyancy Lab training sessions), interactive instructor feedback to crew (allowing views from arbitrary vantage points unavailable in captured video), onboard refresher training (or training of new procedures created while crew is onboard), flight controller familiarization, and research & analysis support for EVA planners (integrated access to on-orbit photography, parts descriptions, past procedures).  This work complements DX3’s immersive VR procedure training, which focuses on replicating the workspace.  The non-immersive approach described here focuses on procedure creation and review.


This application fits the goals of H&RT because achieving effective and efficient EVA operations is crucial for sustainable operations in space, particularly for construction, maintenance and repair. Current EVA planning and training processes are very time and labor intensive.  For long-term operations, we need to train general skills on the ground and specific procedures onboard.  The capability for flexible planning and visualization of EVA operations will improve crew autonomy by enabling them to review and potentially adjust procedures within bounds. 

Taking crew autonomy further, the proposed approach could potentially scale to support crew creating their own procedures in VR, and then intermittently sending them to MCC for review.

Achieving High Technology Readiness Level (TRL) for three UMR template applications

 


Figure 29: TRL roadmap

 

NASA’s will restart the station assembly sequence soon.  This sequence and the maintenance EVAs needed will constitute the most intensive set of EVA operations ever.  Now is the perfect time to mature new processes surrounding EVA before construction operations begin under the exploration initiative. Agreements already exist to pilot the tools with DX3 which indicates that this platform can move out of the research phase.

 

It is our goal that because the UMR tool suite and template applications can be deployed initially on the ground and move rapidly to use (as has been shown by earlier SimSpace applications) they can go to a high TRL quickly (figure 29).

 

Another key benefit of the UMR is to lower costs and times for development for these and other of applications.

 

3.2. Work Plan

 

3.2.1. Technical Approach

 

The project will begin with extensive consultation with expert advisors at several NASA centers as well as contractors and our retained domain experts (see part 6). For Phase I, NASA and subcontractors have already supplied an extensive library of CAD models for the ISS, XML schemas for assembly of those models, EVA training video, photographs and procedures. This initial repository of objects will form the basis for the first UMR database population.

 

The UMR will be developed in SQL to be supported to the web by secure HTTP and PHP and the elements of template simulation applications will use SimSpace and other platforms. Online review forms to allow collaborating testers to report problems and submit applications will be provided. All project materials were delivered by the web and are made available on the DigitalSpace project web site referenced at [32] and described next:

 

Project Reference Website

The Project Reference Website will be a center for ongoing progress and resources surrounding the project, from the specification and design phase to the sample applications test and documentation. The site will consist of the following components:

·         Project goals, timeline, team biographies and contact information

·         Documentary results of each phase of the project, from the posting of interviews to architectural and specification documents to code bases, database schemas and 3D models

·         Listserver for project participants with log of message traffic

·         Executable releases of template applications and related tools and libraries

·         Links to related team resources, other NASA sites and industry sites

 

3.2.2. Task Descriptions

 

The two year plan for the construction, test and publication of the UMR and the three template applications is described here, distinct tasks defined by quarter:

 

Task 1: Construction of Initial UMR architecture, selection of implementation tools: DigitalSpace will engage in interviews across NASA and its contractors to gather input as to the optimal architecture and implementation platform (SQL database) on which to implement UMR. This activity is planned to take no more than one quarter.

 

Task 2: UMR first build: base classification system and ontology: In the second quarter a model UMR database will be built and populated with a wide range of objects from the three major classifications (Functional, Geometric and Procedural). From this test, a classification system and base ontology will be developed and published. This will be shared with the larger community for comment.

 

Task 3: UMR second build: UI and testing automatic classification: The third quarter of the project will focus on the object submission user interfaces and testing of automatic classification systems to reduce later workload in filing in large numbers of objects. The initial components including 3D renderers, SQL databases, web services protocols and other reporting and interface structures will be tested in this period.

 

Task 4: UMR first applications: The fourth quarter of the project will produce the first applications on the UMR database, utilizing the Brahms agent system driving the human-robot agent environment, the crew health and safety application and the just-in-time EVA training application.

 

Task 5: UMR released for beta test: The fifth quarter of the project will feature our first publication of the platform to the wider NASA and contractor community. The initial tutorials and applications will also be released. DigitalSpace will assist any group in NASA or a contractor organization to construct an application on the platform based on the template applications.

 

Task 6: UMR upgrading and serial releases: The sixth quarter of the project will concentrate on incremental improvement of the platform and serial releases of new versions (easy through web services interfaces as there is no software to install releases can be made daily).

 

Task 7: UMR Gold Master and licensing development: The seventh quarter of the project will prepare for and release the UMR, all documents and applications for gold master, certifying the platform for use in real applications based on NASA and contractor specifications and the review of the licensing terms (license free, open use within the agency).

 

Task 8: UMR delivery: The final quarter will involve DigitalSpace and its partners in the project delivering the UMR to servers hosted by NASA for use across the agency and by contractors. Training of personnel on the operations of the system will occur in this time frame. Announcements of commercialization plans (outside of NASA) will be presented along with commercialization partners.

 

This following section describes the work schedule for the Phase II effort in terms of our projected allocation of person-hours by labor category by task (Table 5) and schedule by task (Table 6). DigitalSpace work is carried out by distributed team members and will be coordinated and assembled at its corporate offices located near Santa Cruz, California. This schedule assumes 18 month project duration (over six quarters).

 

Table 5: our projected allocation by labor category by task

 

TASK

 

DESCRIPTION

 

PI

 

PMA

 

SE1

 

SE2

 

CD1

 

CD2

 

DE

 

TE

 

1

 

Construction of Initial UMR architecture, selection of implementation tools

 

400

 

200

 

200

 

100

 

100

 

50

 

200

 

0

 

2

UMR first build: base classification system and ontology

 

300

 

200

 

200

 

100

 

100

 

50

 

100

 

50

 

3

UMR second build: UI and testing automatic classification

 

300

 

200

 

150

 

200

 

100

 

0

 

50

 

200

 

4

UMR first applications

 

200

 

120

 

200

 

150

 

200

 

100

 

50

 

200

 

5

UMR released for beta test


300


100


200


100


0


100

 

50

 

100

 

6

UMR upgrading and serial releases


200

 

100

 

100

 

50

 

100

 

50

 

50

 

50

 

7

UMR Gold Master and licensing development

 

200

 

100

 

100

 

50

 

100

 

50

 

 

50

 

8

UMR delivery

 

100

 

100

 

50

 

50

 

0

 

0

 

30

 

50

 

 

 

 

2000

 

 

1120

 

 

 

1000

 

 

800

 

 

700

 

 

400

 

 

530

 

 

700

Where:  PI = Principal Investigator, PMA = Program Manager/admin, CD    = Content Developer, SE = Software Engineer, DE = Domain Experts, TE = Test Engineer & Server Support

Total estimated hours: 7250

 

3.2.3. Meeting the Technical Objectives

 

The development of the UMR web-based database and web services-based template simulation applications meets the technical objectives outlined in Part 3 as follows:

  1. The UMR will permit both the template simulation applications to be developed as well as supporting the beta test program with several NASA centers and contractors who can easily submit content to the project.
  2. The staged development plan and involvement of domain experts at critical points will ensure that there will be checks of the architecture, especially in the critical area of automatic classification of objects, such that the UMR database is properly informed as to object types and methods.
  3. The on-line accessibility of the project will permit a wide collaborating community to evaluate the growth of the repository and test template applications.

 

3.2.4. Task Labor Categories and Schedules

 

The work schedule for this Phase I project is described in Table 6 below.  DigitalSpace work is coordinated from its corporate offices located near Santa Cruz, CA (see Part 5). DigitalSpace development and testing teams are at locations in the United States and internationally. This schedule assumes a two year (8 quarter) implementation and application delivery phase.

 

Table 6: our projected schedule by task.

 

 

 

Yr 1

 

Q1

 

 

 

Q2

 

 

 

Q3

 

 

 

Q4

 

Yr 2

 

Q5

 

 

 

Q6

 

apps

 

Q7

 

apps

 

Q8

 

1. Construction of Initial UMR architecture, selection of implementation tools

 

¦

 

d

 

d*

 

d

 

dt

 

*

 

dt

 

*

2. UMR first build: base classification system and ontology

 

¦

 

d

 

d*

 

d

 

dt

 

*

 

dt

 

*

3. UMR second build: UI and testing automatic classification

 

 

 

d

 

d*

 

d

 

dt

 

*

 

dt

 

*

4. UMR first applications

 

 

 

¦

 

d*

 

dt

 

t

 

t*

 

t

 

t*

5. UMR released for beta test






d*


d


dt


t*


dt


t*

6. UMR upgrading and serial releases



 




d


d


dt*


dt


t*

7. UMR Gold Master and licensing development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dt

 

dt

 

d*

8. UMR delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

t

 

*

Where:

¦ = Specification and or Design and Documentation

d = Software and Content Development

t = Sample Applications and Testing/Validation

* = Interim or Final Report, Product Packaging and Documentation

 

Part 4 Company Information

 

DigitalSpace Corporation was incorporated in the state of California on August 24, 1995.  DigitalSpace is a company organized to innovate and commercialize in the multi-user virtual worlds and virtual communities market. The company’s business is based on the following concepts:

 

      That the Internet and especially 3D virtual worlds, voice and text environments, can be effective meeting places and enable communication, learning and team based projects. DigitalSpace uses these spaces daily in a proof of concept that a company can base its entire operations on them;

      as the need for tele-working, distance learning, virtual communities of interest and Visualization grows, so will grow the capabilities of ordinary consumer personal computers to deliver real-time 3D multi-user experiences. It is the convergence between these needs and the capabilities of consumer computing hardware that will create a large industry producing and hosting virtual worlds and communities in the future.

 

On these two premises, DigitalSpace has provided solutions for dozens of clients to produce both demonstration and fully functional virtual spaces since 1995. See our web site at http://www.digitalspace.com for a portfolio of projects and clients. We will feature a number of them here for their relevance to this SBIR proposal:

 

Part 5 Facilities and Equipment

 

5.1 Facilities

DigitalSpace’s headquarters is near Santa Cruz California and it currently leases office space in a 2 story building at 221 Ancient Oaks Way, Boulder Creek, California 95006. Additional DigitalSpace US team members have satellite offices in Phoenix Arizona and Seattle Washington.

 

5.2 Equipment used

All DigitalSpace team members have at least one personal computer connected on the Internet (most have IBM PCs, Pentium 3-4 class) with all needed software for 3D modeling, website design and programming.  

 

Part 6 Key Personnel and Bibliography of Directly Related Work

 

6.1 Key Contractor Participants

 

The following brief resumes introduce management/technical staff members for this phase I project.  DigitalSpace certifies that Bruce Damer, the Principal Investigator, has his primary employment at DigitalSpace at the time of award and during the conduct of the project.

 

Name:                           Bruce Damer (PI)

Years of Experience:     23

Position:                        CEO

Education:                     Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (University of Victoria, Canada, 1984); MSEE (University of Southern California, 1986)

Assignment:                  Mr. Damer will be the Principal Investigator for the SBIR Phase I effort.  He will coordinate all interaction between DigitalSpace and its collaborators and NASA and other participants, be responsible for all staffing, technical design, reporting and documentation.

Experience:                   Mr. Damer is the world's recognized expert on avatars and shared online graphical virtual spaces having created much of the early literature, conferences and awareness of the medium. Mr. Damer is a visiting scholar at the University of Washington Human Interface Technology Lab and a member of the staff at the San Francisco State Multimedia Studies Program.

 

Name:                           Stuart Gold

Years of Experience:     29

Position:                        Chief Architect (communities platform)          

Education:                     Royal Institute of British Architects

Assignment:                  Stuart Gold will serve as a consulting technical architect for the project and structure the technology components and architecture for the SimSpace platform.

Experience:                   Mr. Gold is a pioneer of online systems, starting with his work on transaction processing for Prestel in the 1970s and concluding most recently with his leadership in the design and delivery of online virtual worlds including: TheU Virtual University Architecture Competition, International Health Insurance Virtual Headquarters, and Avatars98-2001 online events. Mr. Gold also is the chief architect of the DigitalSpace communities platform, implementing XML and JS based community tools for use by all DigitalSpace projects. See http://www.digitalspace.com/papers for his recent writings.

 

Name:                           Galen Brandt (Content Development, Marketing)

Position:                        New business development, DigitalSpace

Experience:                   26 years including creating market strategies for Dun and Bradstreet, SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, DoToLearn and others.

Assignment:                  Content and Market development for Phase I and II. Mrs. Brandt has assisted in reviewing all aspects of proposals and documentation for the project, including the users guides. She has also assisted in terms of team communications and marketing concept and content development.

 

Name:                           Dave Rassmussen (PM)

Position:                       Member of the DM3D Design Studio, DigitalSpace

Experience:                  9 years experience in virtual world design, skills: 3DS Max, Java, Active

Worlds, Adobe Atmosphere, PHP/MySQL database development

Assignment:                 Dave has served as PM for this phase, directing the team performing 3D modeling and animation, testing and delivery of the project

 

Name:                           Merryn Nielsen (Lead CD)

Position:                       Member of the DM3D Design Studio, DigitalSpace

Experience:                  9 years experience in virtual world design, skills: 3DS Max, Java, Active

Worlds, Adobe Atmosphere

Assignment:                  Web design on project, 3D worlds, avatar design, testing

 

Name:                           Peter Newman (SE & TE)

Position:                       Developer in C++, JS, PHP, HTML, 3D Design Studio, DigitalSpace

Assignment:                  Programmer of OWorld engine extensions.

 

Name:                           Ryan Norkus (CD & TG)

Position:                       Graphic artist, 3d modeler and animator, 3D Design Studio, DigitalSpace

Assignment:                  Focusing on the automation of animated sequences

 

Name:                           Peter Meigs, Alex Grigny de Castro, Dean Strik (TE)

Position:                       Server support, DigitalSpace

Assignment:                  Focusing on the maintenance of DigitalSpace’s server infrastructure

 

6.2 Key NASA Participants

 

Key NASA participants in this project have included: COTR Bill Clancey, Brahms team members Maarten Sierhuis and Ron Van Hoof, SimStation co-manager Mark Shirley, and various JSC personnel and others on the SimStation projects. Ames Research Center will continue to be the key NASA center involved in this Phase II work with support by JSC, Langley and other centers.

 

6.3 NASA and Non-NASA Advisors (and Domain Experts)

 

This project is broadly based and will require the collaboration of a number of NASA Centers, prime contractors, subcontractors and educational institutions. We have assembled a strong advisory team representing a number of organizations who have expressed the need for the proposed platform or have offered expertise in guiding its construction. The following organizations will engage DigitalSpace in support of the project and non-financial cost sharing:

 

Raytheon & Booz Allen Hamilton: have provided support to the Phase I project and Raytheon will be formally supporting the Phase II work. Raytheon (and subcontractor Booz Allen Hamilton) have been a valuable source of 3D models, procedures and functional specifications for NBL astronaut training at JSC, ISS interior models and crew procedure documents. Raytheon and the NBL will serve as a beta test and end user of the platform and will likely become customers for the platform in Phase III commercialization.

 

Boeing: has provided valuable insight into full lifecycle virtual vehicle management and models of the ISS exterior for inclusion in the repository. Boeing has provided models from the new exploration initiative for return to moon/long duration lunar base concepts and crew exploration vehicle (CEV). Boeing will serve as a beta test and end user of the platform.

 

Lockheed-Martin: will provide geometry, video and procedures for all Phase II crew medical training simulations to be carried out in the applications phase of the project. Lockheed-Martin will serve as a beta test and end user of the platform.

 

UC Santa Cruz: will provide expert guidance through the Campus Archivist and Compliance Officer, Chuck Piotrowski. Mr. Piotrowski will implement a records management function.

 

Purdue University: will provide expertise in advanced ontologies and tools for storing and searching CAD models and associated procedures. If the Phase II project is successful, we anticipate that in the Phase III commercialization the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information in Systems in Engineering and its licensee company Imaginestics Corporation of West Lafayette, Indiana will provide licensed technologies in return for cross licensing of the full commercial platform.

 

MOVES Institute, Naval Postgraduate School: will provide key support in the area of standards for 3D (X3D, XMSF) and guidance in a broad class of potential DOD applications.

 

The following individuals have provided technical and scientific advisement to this project and will represent the above mentioned organizations in Phase II - retained domain experts in bold:

·         Dr. Maarten Sierhuis, Brahms team, ARC

·         Tom Cochrane, Raytheon, ARC (DE)

·         Kevin Foley, Boeing, JSC

·         David Throop, Boeing, JSC

·         Constance Adams, Lockheed-Martin, JSC

·         Professor Karthik Ramani, School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, director, Purdue Research and Education Center for Information in Systems in Engineering (PRECISE) (DE)

·          Chuck Piotrowski, Campus Archivist and Compliance Officer, UC Santa Cruz, PIOTEC (DE)

·         Michael Kaplan, Adobe Systems Incorporated, representing the 3D Industry Forum

·         Tony deVarco, sgi (Silicon Graphics Inc), manager, NASA relationships

·         Dr. Charles Neveu, NASA ARC/QSS, PSA Team

·         Dr. Mike Sims, ARC

·         Dr. Geoff Briggs, Scientific Director, Center for Mars Exploration, NASA ARC

·         Dr. Tom Furness III, HIT Lab University of Washington

·         Dr. Daniel Thalmann, director, MIRALab, Geneva, Switzerland

·         Dr. Don Brutzman, Naval Postgraduate School, MOVES Institute

·         Dr. Michael Zyda, Professor, NPS/MOVES Institute, Lead on America’s Army massively multiplayer online role playing game, Founder, Arsenal Interactive

·         Captain Richard O’Neill, US Navy, Director, Highlands Group

 

6.4 Biography of Directly Related Work

 

[1] President's Commission on Moon, Mars and beyond, report on the web at:

http://www.moontomars.org/ and Code T portal: http://exploration.nasa.gov/about.html

 

[2] DOD Joint Strike Fighter described on the web at: http://www.jsf.mil/

 

[3] “Computing & Design/Build Processes Help Develop the 777” from Boeing company site:

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/777family/compute/compute4.html

 

[4] Loftin, R.B., and Kenney, P.J., "Training the Hubble Space Telescope Flight Team," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 31-37, Sep, 1995.

 

[5] Engelberg, Mark[Ed] (September 11, 1994). Hubble Space Telescope Repair

Training System [WWW document]. URL

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/cssb/vr/Hubble/hubble.html

 

[6] Cater, J. P., and Huffman, S. D., Use of Remote Access Virtual Environment Network (RAVEN) for Coordinated IVA-EVA Astronaut Training and Evaluation. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments_ vol. 4, no. 2 (Spring 1995), p. 103-109. (Training for Hubble Space Telescope repair.)

 

[7] Mars Pathfinder JPL site: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/index1.html

 

[8] Clancey, W. J., Sachs, P., Sierhuis, M., and van Hoof, R.1998. Brahms: Simulating Practice for Work Systems Design. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 49, 831-865.

 

[9] Sierhuis, M. 2001. Modeling and Simulating Work Practice; Brahms: A multiagent modeling and simulation language for work system analysis and design. Ph.D. thesis, Social Science and Informatics (SWI), University of Amsterdam, SIKS Dissertation Series No. 2001-10, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, ISBN 90-6464-849-2.

 

[10] Sierhuis, M.; Bradshaw, J.M.; Acquisti, A.; Hoof, R.v.; Jeffers, R.; and Uszok, A. Human-Agent Teamwork and Adjustable Autonomy in Practice, in Proceedings of The 7th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence,Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), Nara, Japan, 2003.

 

[11] M. Sierhuis and W. J. Clancey, Modeling and Simulating Work Practice: A human-centered method for work systems design, IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. Volume 17(5), 2002.

 

[12] M. Sierhuis, A. Acquisti, and W. J. Clancey, Multiagent Plan Execution and Work Practice: Modeling plans and practices onboard the ISS, presented at 3rd International NASA Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space, Houston, TX, 2002.

 

[13] A. Acquisti, M. Sierhuis, W. J. Clancey, J. M. Bradshaw, Agent Based Modeling of Collaboration and Work Practices Onboard the International Space Station. Proceedings of the 11th Conference on Computer-Generated Forces and Behavior Representation, Orlando, FL, May 2002.

 

[14] M. Shirley, T. Cochrane, SimStation: A Knowledge-Integrating Virtual Vehicle, Virtual Iron Bird Workshop, NASA Ames Research Center, March 31, 2004. Available on the web at:

http://ic.arc.nasa.gov/vib/day1/papers/Shirley_Cochrane.pdf

 

[15] J. M. Bradshaw, M. Sierhuis, Y. Gawdiak, R. Jeffers, N. Suri, M. Greaves. (2001). Adjustable Autonomy and Teamwork for the Personal Satellite Assistant, in The IJCAI-01 Workshop on Autonomy, Delegation, and Control: Interacting with Autonomous Agents, Seattle, Washington, USA August 6, 2001. URL: http://csce.uark.edu/~hexmoor/AA01/IJCAI01-cfp.htm

 

[16] Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) Test Fixture (Greg Dorais, Yuri Gawdiak, Daniel Andrews, Brian Koss, Mike McIntyre) described on the web at: http://ficworkproducts.arc.nasa.gov/psa_test_fixture/psa_test_fixture.html

 

[17] PSA Web site: http://ic.arc.nasa.gov/projects/psa/

 

[18] Intelligent Virtual Station on the Web at: http://ssrl.arc.nasa.gov/ivs.html

 

[19] R. Papasin, B.J. Betts, R. Del Mundo, M. Guerrero, R.W. Mah, D.M. McIntosh, and E. Wilson, "Intelligent Virtual Station," Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS 2003), Nara, Japan, May 2003.

 

[20] Rochlis, J, Clark, J.P. and Goza, M., "Space Station Telerobotics: Designing a Human-Robot Interface", AIAA Confeence on Space Station Utilization, Kennedy Space Center, October 2001.

 

[21] BrahmsVE/FMARS Project Home Page on the web at: http://www.digitalspace.com/projects/fmars

 

[22] MER and Mars surface modeling projects on the Web at: http://www.driveonmars.com

 

[23] SimStation Online Examples:

http://www.digitalspace.com/projects/ssos/sso

 

[24] SimEVA CMG and RPCM Changeout

http://www.digitalspace.com/projects/eva-sims/

 

[26] BrahmsVE/ISS-PSA SBIR Phase I Project and reports Web Page: http://www.digitalspace.com/projects/iss_03

 

[27] DoToLearn projects for the National Institutes of Health on the Web at:

http://www.dotolearn.com

 

[28] SimVehicle and SimLunar work for Boeing on the Web at:

http://www.digitalspace.com/projects/lunarbase/index.html

 

[29] Virtual Iron Bird Paper:

http://www.digitalspace.com/papers/damer-vib-day2-paper/paper.html

 

[30] 3D Industry Forum announcement of U3D format and consortium: http://www.3dif.org

 

[31] Web3D Consortium: http://www.web3d.org, Web3d and MOVES’ XMSF specification: http://www.movesinstitute.org/xmsf/xmsf.html

 

[32] DigitalSpace Home Page and Resources:

http://www.digitalspace.com and publications at http://www.digitalspace.com/papers

 

Part 7 Subcontracts and Consultants

 

Consultants and Contractors

 

DigitalSpace will employ a number of consultants and contractors in this project. Facscimile’s of their signed letters of commitment and availability are included in table 7 below (DM3D studios personnel are described in Part 6 key contractor personnel above as are our Domain Experts):

Table 7: Consultant and Contractor commitment letters

 

Part 8 Potential Applications

 

DigitalSpace has been engaged in the development of virtual world platforms for eight years and has successfully completed a number of major projects (see Part 2). The PI and members of DigitalSpace have contributed numerous publications to a variety of scientific and technical journals [32]. In addition to the work with NASA we have collaborated with numerous universities and companies.

 

8.1 Potential NASA Applications

 

Spinoff projects from Phase I work

 

The success of this phase I project has led directly to the following NASA applications, being carried out in the summer of 2004:

1. SimSpace/SimEVA is being contracted for use at JSC’s NBL under contract by Raytheon to create a complete STS-114/CMG changeout EVA simulation for use by crew and mission planners.

2. SimSpace/SimEVA is actively engaged in a project for Lockheed Martin at JSC in a project for space medical trainers. This project, called VAST, is developing a simulation of ISS crew effecting a medical emergency procedure using the CHeCS rack.

 

NASA Projects in proposal or concept phase: New Exploration Initiative/Code T

A number of SimSpace and UMR-related RFI white papers and Notice of Intent to Propose have or are being submitted to the Code T Office of Exploration initiative. The SimSpace platform is being proposed along with a number of contractors (Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, SGI), universities (Stanford, Purdue, UCSC, USC) and smaller company partners.

 

Modeling and simulation for Mars Science Laboratory and JIMO

Geoff Briggs and Michael Sims of Ames have been in discussion with us on future Mars (Mars Science Laboratory ’09) and Jupiter Icy Moons missions which will include the use of drills, rotorcraft and airplanes. We will be building a number of SimSpace/UMR based prototypes for pre-proposal concept development.

 

Continued SimStation projects

The SimStation project at ARC, JSC and Langley will likely be a continuing customer for the SimSpace especially with regard to SimEVA and the exterior ISS view.

 

NASA educational outreach and Space Camp

Immersive virtual worlds, virtual digital human (VDH), and 3D simulation modeling, have become a significant vehicle for NASA's effort to generate and communicate knowledge/understanding to K-12 and college/university students on topics such as the International Space Station and Space Shuttle/Space Transport System (STS) operations, Robotics, Intravehicular/Extravehicular activities, and the new exploration initiative. SimSpace has been proposed for use at NASA Space camp to Ed Buckbee, founder of Space Camp. In addition, the Space Exploration Online massively multiplayer online game concept has been proposed to NASA headquarters education/outreach as well as Code T.

 

8.2 Potential Non-NASA Commercial Applications

 

K-12 and College, Education and Educational Web Services

The current set of SimSpace applications is being repurposed into educational course modules for schools, museums and other organizations. In discussions with the organizers of National Space Week, the Planetary Society, the Mars Society, and SPACE.COM, various modules of SimSpace projects have been made available and are now features in DVD, web and installation projects.

 

Public health applications

The National Institutes of Health, through the work of Dr. Dorothy Strickland and Do2Learn have contracted DigitalSpace to employ SimSpace to deliver safety games for children with autism. The first game was delivered for clinical trials at Emory University in Atlanta in July of 2004.

 

DOD and DOE – energy security design application

In January 2003 SimSpace was presented at a special workshop at the Arlington Institute held for the Office of Secretary of Defense. A prototype virtual wind farm [32] was presented using SimSpace and allowed us to show wind farm KW/Hour production scales for different configurations of turbines. Coupling this with a geographical information system provided by GeoFusion Inc. allowed us to show the DOD staffers and other energy experts how sites for wind farm power could be selected and then the production output modeled. The next phase of this work is in development for a follow-up meeting in December 2004.

 

Hotel design

Space architect Constance Adams has invited DigitalSpace to use SimSpace and UMR for a September 2004 presentation of new designs for hotel rooms which embody principles learned while designing optimal work and living spaces for ISS.

 

Online games – educational and entertainment applications

Robot “wars” are one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the popular media and robot game competition are some of the finest learning events for K-12 and college engineering students and faculty. Massive multi-player online games are experiencing a large amount of investment and commercial interest. SimSpace and the UMR will be competent platform for the sourcing  of a successful reality-based multiplayer online game both as a learning tool and as a pay-per-play tournament environment.

Such a game has been proposed to Boeing, NASA and others in the game industry.

Defense design, training and operations applications

The military will be using semi and fully autonomous agents working closely to support troops and command in surveillance and combat missions throughout the 21st Century. Therefore we expect a great deal of interest surrounding a product in this space. We are already in contact with the Naval Postgraduate School MOVES Institute about cooperation on and adopting a new XML based standard in simulation communications.

 

Industrial design, training and operations applications

From factory floor automation to security systems, construction, complex environments where humans work in tandem with mobile agents or other autonomous machine systems all need a comprehensive model-based environment with high fidelity 3D re-creation during both design, training and operations phases. Industrial training is a multi-billion dollar per year industry and the UMR platform is uniquely suited to enter this market, running on industry standard platforms. We are in discussions with the company Common Point, to work with them to serve this marketplace.

 

Emergency first responder planning

Layout of cityscapes for planning first responder strategies in civil emergencies is an application well suited to SimSpace as it would employ the agent architecture of Brahms with the detailed simulation elements of SimMedical.

 

Part 9 Phase III Efforts, Commercialization and Business Planning

 

DigitalSpace has an nine year history of profitable operations in our chosen market segment. We have built a business through development, project work and acquisition that now offers a dozen product configurations to several market segments ranging from government to large and mid-sized enterprises, universities and colleges and the special interest group and nonprofit sector.

Since 2000 DigitalSpace has made a strategic multi-year commitment to the development of the vision we share with the NASA who have made this effort possible. Briefly stated, our joint mission is to create the world’s most comprehensive, graphically realistic, collaborative work practice, mission planning and operations development environment. Support of this SBIR Phase II will allow us to deliver a full 1.0 production packaging of a Universal Modeling Repository and applications into a multitude of markets. Multiple NASA and outside customers have already expressed interest or commissioned test projects in the development version of UMR and SimSpace (as reported in this proposal). At the start of Phase III, DigitalSpace plans to either finance its initial operation with customer revenues or venture capital, or if no venture capital is obtained, the principals are committed to self-finance the venture during Phase III.

9.1 Market Feasibility and Competition

 

DigitalSpace’s target markets are divided into several areas: NASA and other federal agencies (Contracts, Grants, Educational Programs, Software and Content Development); strategic large and medium-sized company partnerships including Adobe and Elixir technologies Corporation (technical and marketing partner, technology testing, online community support, evangelism); universities and colleges including the State University of New York and the RedAppleOnline project (educational software, virtual communities for learning, 3D and 2D chat collaborative tools); special interest groups including community-based organizations and political campaigns such as the Rainforest Action Network (voice over web).

 

DigitalSpace’s estimates of the potential market sizes (government and/or non-government), are as follows- NASA (4-5 Customers in each of the five identified centers: ARC, JPL, JSC, Langley, for a total of 25 internal projects, with more likely at JSC), Federal Government including DOD, DOE, NSF, NIH, HUD, DOJ, we estimate a further 200 Customers), educational institutions (a typical university has at least 4 programs in virtual environments, over 500 Customers) and the Private Sector (design automation, industrial training, construction, hotel design, workplace reengineering over 500 Customers). DigitalSpace’s estimates of the market shares after first year of sales and after five years are as follows- NASA (first year 5%, after 5 years 25% of VE/simulation projects), Federal Government (first year 2%, after 7 years 15% of VE projects), educational institutions (first year 4%, after 10 years 15%, with an incentive program including open source releases) and the Private Sector (first year 5%, after 10 years 12% benefiting from industry standard platforms, replacing proprietary systems).

 

DigitalSpace’s main competition after the first year will come from several enterprises including: Virtools, Sense8, EON Reality, Superscape, and Virtualis. DigitalSpace’s main competition after five years will come from several companies: EDS/Simulation and Training Practice (Solidworks), Silicon Graphics Inc (sgi) and others.

 

9.2 Strategic Relevance to Offeror

 

DigitalSpace’s role for the commercial 1.0 release of the UMR and its associated template applications has in the company’s current business plan roughly 35% of the firm’s business in the first twelve to eighteen months. In the next five years, we plan to have the UMR encompass roughly 60% of our business. We will be releasing the UMR and applications license-free to NASA but expect revenues to accrue from services and content provided to NASA centers.

 

9.3 Key Management, Technical Personnel and Organizational Structure

 

In this section, we describe (a) the skills and experiences of key management and technical personnel in bringing innovative technology to the market, (b) current organizational structure, and (c) plans and timelines for obtaining needed business development expertise and other necessary personnel.

 

a)       DigitalSpace has the skills and experiences of key management and technical personnel in bringing innovative technology to the market.  Bruce Damer’s seven years of experience in bringing the innovations of Xerox PARC out to market for Elixir Technologies Corp (1987-94) and eight years experience as a director of an industry group, the Contact Consortium (1995-present), gives him long experience in both productizing invention and forming industrial partnerships. Over 5,000 customers in 120 countries use his product, the Elixir Desktop. Stuart Gold’s experience as both a practicing architect (1979-86) and a database architect (1987-present) give him a unique framework in the construction and management of 3D spaces on the internet. Galen Brandt’s marketing experience with firms such as Dun and Bradstreet, Corning, Johnson & Johnson, and her experience promoting VR into the medical community give her unique skills to be used in marketing UMR 1.0. Bruce Campbell’s years as a researcher and engineer at the Human Interface Technology Lab of the University of Washington and his PhD work at the Dept of Oceanography give him an insightful perspective on the architecture and uses of UMR.

b)       The current organizational structure is a matrix form, rather than a hierarchical form. The company is organized under the “commons” model pioneered by Visa International. The company is organized under a lines-of-business structure with members sharing responsibility across each line:

a.       Virtual Environment Studio (includes NASA work, Adobe, Atmosphere). Members: Damer, Gold, Brandt, Campbell, Rasmussen, Nielson, Newman, Norkus

b.       Traveler sales: Damer, Turner, Thomasson, Miller

c.       TalkSpace sales and development: Hagerty, Damer, Brandt, Thomasson, Meigs

d.       MeetingPage development and sales: Gold, Damer, Brandt

c)       Our plans and timelines for obtaining needed business development expertise and other necessary personnel include the following ramp-up of promotion of UMR 1.0 in mid 2006 as we approach our 1.0 release:

a.       Marketing partners will likely include NASA prime contractors, Imagenistics, Adobe and the MOVES Institute.

b.       L. Hagerty is developing a sales and support network for our TalkSpace Voice over the Web product line (distributors) which will be used for UMR marketing.

 

9.4 Production and Operations

 

DigitalSpace has engaged in the product development of BrahmsVE and SimSpace since the end of 2000. Product development schedules, reports and milestones are all documented in Part 2. With the completion of Phase II and additional investment by DigitalSpace (see 9.5 below) we will reach a fully marketable version (gold master) of the UMR by Q7 of the project timeline. DigitalSpace is investing in our primary delivery mechanism, our co-located server facilities housed in San Jose, California and has committed another $15,000 to upgrading this facility in 2004/05 for this project and for Phase III marketing. No other physical assets will be needed, as fulfillment will be done entirely through the Web with no boxed product or inventory. DigitalSpace will be adding marketing, customer support and specialist staff in early to mid 2006 for the ramp-up to UMR and application sales within and beyond NASA customers.

 

9.5 Financial Planning

 

The expected financial needs to bring the UMR to market outside NASA will be $250,000. We anticipate being able to meet this budget target from internal funds and to launch this effort in late 2006 during the wrap-up of Phase II and Phase III commercial initiation. Sales of our TalkSpace and Traveler products are increasing and profits from this line of business should contribute significant revenues to the effort by that year.

 

9.6 Intellectual Property

 

DigitalSpace has one patent in process surrounding the unique JavaScript implementation in the XML/HTTP communications layer that is currently used in its MeetingPage product and will be cross licensed in the SimSpace and UMR platform in Phase II. The UMR and all template simulation applications will be released to NASA for license-free, unrestricted use. Scripts and other code elements in the UMR will be covered under the GPL license. Copyrightable content developed under this Phase II will be released under a Creative Commons license.

 

Part 10 Capital Commitments Supporting Phase II and Phase III

 

Other NASA and DOD customers are already expressing interest in purchasing UMR and SimSPace implementations as outlined in Part 8. In addition, we are able to obtain a business line of credit to supplement Phase III activities. Lastly, private venture support may be sought in Phase III for some of the applications listed in Part 8, especially the multiplayer games application. In summary, ongoing DigitalSpace revenues and some early sales will supplement development of UMR applications in Phase II while sales and a number of funding options will assist us in product launch in Phase III. In addition, DigitalSpace has secured a commitment from its bank, Bank of America, to extend us a $100,000 line of credit in the first year of commercialization and an equal or greater commitment in the following year. Documents detailing this commitment can be provided.

 

Part 11 Related Research/ Research and Development

 

In extensive research of the field of web-based, collaborative 3D simulation environments and model repositories used for training, design and operations we have found no equivalent project being pursued under contract to the Federal Government. We also affirm that our company has not already achieved the stated objectives. The closest project to the proposed UML and applications that we have been able to locate is that of Dr. Don Brutzman’s work at the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. We have agreed to cooperate with MOVES to bring their Extensible Modeling and Simulation Framework (XMSF) XML-based standard (XMSF) into the UML platform and they will in turn open up new applications within the Navy and other US Government customers.