Virtual reality and the Olympic Games Museum are used to create a virtual digital Olympic museum (VDOM). This is available solely through the medium of digital technology. VDOM extends in a comprehensive way the main functionalities of the traditional physical Olympic museum. Thus virtual reality technologies and the Olympic Games motivate the researchers. Three characteristics, namely sports, humans, and entertainment/ education, are crucial for the development of the VDOM. In developing the VDOM, the four major concerns were data storage and retrieval oriented to the Olympics task; modeling and rendering of the digital museum; the virtual demonstration of sports with virtual humans; and virtual reality based sports simulation. Appropriate solutions to these problems are proposed. Finally, a prototype of the VDOM using these technologies is demonstrated. This validates the efficiency of the proposed methods.
Among the functions of a digital museum, the most basic are the presentation and preservation of cultural artifacts and artistic works. As large scale sports, presentation of the Olympic Games requires dynamic elements, rather than static ones. However, digital museums have their own distinct characteristics beyond these. Consequently, the following three characteristics should be considered when engaging in research and development of the VDOM. One is sport itself, portraying the Olympic spirit of faster, higher and stronger. Fitness is not only one fashion, but is necessary for the health of people in modern society under great pressure. The second is human, the entity taking part in sports. How to realistically characterize human beings and human emotion in sports are challenging issues. The third is to engage the audience through entertainment and education, the users’ ultimate purpose in visiting either the physical or digital Olympic Museum. Correspondingly, researchers of a networked VDOM touch upon multiple areas of research and applications, including object modeling and real-time rendering, multimedia data storage and retrieval, virtual human motion control, and virtual reality sports simulation.