Nicole Yankelovich


Open Wonderland


When: 2007 – 2014.

What: Virtual world toolkit to create 3D experiences for education, training, and collaboration.

Where: Wonderland group, Sun Microsystems Laboratories and WonderBuilders, Inc.

How: Principal Investigator (Sun Labs) / CEO (WonderBuilders). Tasks included project/people management, recruiting, user research, interaction design of the core toolkit functionality, design of multiple Wonderland apps and modules, UI specs for contract developers, 3D modeling, world building, scripting, user testing, deployment, teaching, paper writing, tutorials, extensive documentation, open source community management, presentations, proposal writing, and software demonstrations.

About the Project

I started the Wonderland project in Sun Labs in 2007 – an open source project originally known as “Project Wonderland” – in response to a user study I conducted with a corporate team looking at issues faced by work-from-home users. At the time (around 2006), about 10% of Sun’s workforce was home-based, with a substantially larger number working from home some of the time. Virtual worlds offered a way for remote employees to have informal interactions with their teammates and others in the company. But once the software was available to the open source community, educators gravitated towards it.

When Oracle acquired Sun in 2010, two of my colleagues and I left Sun and formed an independent company called WonderBuilders to continue the project and focus primarily on educational applications of the technology. I also formed the non-profit Open Wonderland Foundation to act as the new governing body for the open source project.

The portfolio section of the WonderBuilders web site shows the various virtual worlds and apps that I designed between 2010 and 2013. Videos of most of these projects are published on the WonderBuilders YouTube Channel. Here’s one representative video showing some of the work we did with clients in the medical field.

And here are some screenshots showing a sampling of the virtual worlds that I designed.


Related Publications

Improving audio conferencing: are two ears better than one?
N Yankelovich, J Kaplan, J Provino, M Wessler, JM DiMicco
Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer supported …
Open Wonderland: Extensible Virtual World Architecture
J Kaplan, N Yankelovich
Internet Computing, IEEE, 1-1
Remote lab in virtual world for remote control of industrial processes
J Fayolle, C Gravier, N Yankelovich, E Kim
Multimedia and Expo (ICME), 2011 IEEE International Conference on, 1-4
Building and Employing Cross-Reality
N Yankelovich, J Slott, A Hill, M Bonner, J Schiefer, B MacIntyre, E …
Pervasive Computing, IEEE 8 (3), 55-57
Improving Virtual World Presentations
N Yankelovich, J Kaplan
CSCW 2008, Virtual Worlds, Collaboration, and Workplace Productivity …


This entry was posted on June 25, 2013 by in Collaboration.
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