ROBERT ROTHFARB   |  3D VIRTUAL WORLDS  |  EXPLORING EDO / VIRTUAL EDO

This re-creation of 18th century Edo (old Tokyo) was created for the National Gallery of Art exhibition, Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868, while I was working for NTT Multimedia Communication Laboratories (1997-1998.)   Exploring Edo is a single user virtual world which was offered on six touch-screen based kiosks at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Over 250,000 people visited the exhibit during its three month showing.  Many of those visitors used the kiosks --they were occupied almost all of the time. Exploring Edo - Edo Castle

Honmaru (Audience Hall) at Edo Castle
Shogun's Inner Chamber at Edo Castle

   The Shogun's inner chamber within the Honmaru (Marin Audience Hall) at Edo Castle.

The NGA took a major step in using digital media in conjunction with traditional presentation of fine art and cultural artifacts by offering visitors a virtual recreation of Edo as a companion to the historic exhibition at the museum.

NTT and the NGA distributed 13,000 CD-ROMs, containing both Exploring Edo and Virtual Edo, to educational institutions and museum visitors.

Exploring Edo at the National Gallery of Art    Exploring Edo at the National Gallery of Art

Visitors at the National Gallery of Art exhibition Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868 using Exploring Edo

Virtual Edo, an on-line multi-user version of the application, was also developed, and was used for distance learning applications. Students at a high-school in Silver Springs, Maryland met virtually with the project team's Edo-period architecture and art historian, who was located in Mill Valley, California.

Virtual Edo - Theater District with avatars

The InterSpace VR Browser in distance learning mode with 3D virtual world, facial image video, voice / text chat, and embedded HTML browser.

This project was a great team effort in which I played several roles.  Acting as the producer, art director, and lead modeler/world builder, I managed a team of production artists and outside consultants.

Click here to visit the NTT Exploring Edo web site.

Click here to tour the Main Audience Hall of Edo Castle (shown above.) You will need a VRML97 browser (3D plug-in) or stand-alone viewer. Either blaxxun's Contact or Parallel Graphics' Cortona are recommended.