E-commerce has arrived big time, and it's dragging Web3D with it. The ability to go to a Web site and see objects for sale is a compelling Web3D application. OK, it's not necessarily going to make you sit up and get too excited, but we're talking about a useful moneymaking application. I really would like to go to eBay (for example) and rotate all the crap people are selling to examine the details.
3D objects are primarily in competition with photographs. A good photograph is a perfectly good way displaying an object for example a desk. But it's much better if I can virtually grab the desk and look at it up close and from the side and behind and all directions. The real value of 3D however is with interactivity.
Take that desk; with sufficient authoring you could open the drawers of the desk and move around any other moving parts like hinges and so on. Although not exactly an E-Commerce application a large company that sells furniture could provide 3D assembly instructions. (Not to get sidetracked, but one of the original SGI VRML demos was a great example of furniture assembly...alas it appears to be gone from the Web.)
There is a large and seemingly growing number of Web3D technologies being used to present 3D objects to the user. Let's take a look at a few.
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