The Khronos Group, the open industry consortium response for such technologies as OpenGL, WebGL, and other computer graphics and technology standards, has announced a collaboration with the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, to help diffuse knowledge for education, research, and creative use.
Open Access Initiative
Working with Khronos, the Smithsonian has publicly launched its Open Access initiative this week, which includes the release of 2.8 million 2D images and 3D models into the public domain. All items released will be so under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license. Additionally, a variety of platforms will be launched to make its collection media, collections data, and research data available for educational and research endeavors, creative reuse, computational analysis, and innovative explorations.
Use of Khronos’ glTF™ format, a royalty-free specification, will be utilized for the downloading option of 3D models. An open standard developed by Khronos, glTF minimizes both the size of 3D assets and the runtime processing needed to unpack and use those assets. The Smithsonian has developed a specialized glTF vendor extension, but with this new agreement, the museum will engage directly with Khronos and build a glTF-based open-source toolchain for scalability and longevity.
“We are deeply honored to collaborate with the Smithsonian on this significant project,” said Patrick Cozzi, 3D Formats working group chair at Khronos. “This application of glTF will help the Smithsonian open the door for significant new uses of 3D in education, research, and creative domains, and it will leverage and strengthen the breadth and interoperability of the glTF ecosystem.”