CityU and IT leaders to research web-based collaborative technologies

Regina Lau

City University, PCCW Business eSolutions and Sun Microsystems have joined forces to research web-based 3D collaborative technologies under a University-Industry Collaboration Programme backed by the government's Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF). 

Under the arrangement, PCCW Business eSolutions and the ITF will provide sponsorship of HK$2 million and HK$1.9 million, respectively, to CityU to develop the project over the next two years. Sun Microsystems will provide server-class hardware, valued at HK$1.2 million, as the platform for the project.

Collaborative technologies are currently constrained by the slow transmission of large amounts of 3D data containing complex or changing objects. CityU's Dr Rynson Lau, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science, is researching a high-performance, web-based 3D collaborative engine that will cut the transmission time, allowing participants in remote locations to collaborate on designs.

"With the increasing popularity of the Internet, we believe that one of its main applications will be to support remote collaboration, such as collaborative design, gaming, virtual classroom, and virtual conferencing," Dr Lau said.

The research results will be important to local industry and to the development of collaborative e-commerce in Asia. When fully developed, the new 3D collaborative engine could help build such complex web-based applications as engineering designs, surgery, multi-user computer gaming, remote sensing and visualization, training and long-distance education.