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Intel touts 'MP3 for 3D' universal graphics format

Chuck out your proprietary CAD formats

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Intel, Adobe, Microsoft and more than 30 other companies are to co-operate in conjuring up a standard for 3D graphics, called the Universal 3D (U3D) format

the intention is to create a way of encoding 3D data as freely available as MP3 for audio and JPEG for still images. Intel and co.'s goal is to end the array of proprietary 3D graphics formats devised by CAD, 3D and other software developers and replace it with a single, standard format that all can use.

In particular, they hope that such a standard will allow 3D data to be more easily incorporated into other apps, such as web browsers, to make 3D imagery more widespread - and, in turn, boost demand for faster processors and graphics chips.

The companies - together known as the 3D Industry Forum (3DIF) - will submit the results of their work to the ISO for ratification as a formal standard. The group said it will work with Ecma, an independent standards developer.

Similar 3D standards already exist, but Intel and co. argue that none as yet can replace proprietary file formats as both a working data file format, as a data interchange format and with applications such as web streaming and animation in mind. The 3DIF also says it will work to ensure that U3D is extensible, allowing it to take into account new features over time.

The first version of U3D is expected to be released later this year, alongside a basic player app and runtime libraries. ®

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