In 1994, Tony Parisi and team invented VRML to bring 3D graphics to the web. The demise of VRML has been well documented. Eventually, it evolved into a second standard called X3D that is currently under development. Unfortunately, X3D hasn’t taken off either. In a recent blog entry, Parisi suggests now is the time for the web to embrace 3D graphics.
The required hardware and network connection speeds are rapidly improving but don’t expect the web to morph into a virtual 3D world any time soon. There is little practical use for 3D graphics on the web today, but early in the 2010s, expect haptic technology (tactile manipulation of digital items) to become the killer application that brings 3D interfaces to the masses. Prior to that, Microsoft, Apple and other companies will slowly start bringing the desktop operating system interface into the third dimension.
Voice recognition interfaces will have a much more immediate and profound affect on society over the next ten years. Hand-free operation of all of our devices, using commands to navigate the Internet, and the rapid replacement of human customer service representatives with automated systems all exist today and are rapidly improving.