WORLDS INC. IN PREMIERE OF
STARBRIGHT WORLD NETWORK
Steven Spielberg and General Norman Schwarzkopf
Debut Interactive Broadband Network
as Worlds Inc., Intel, Sprint, and UB Networks
Link Four Children's Hospitals to Interactive Virtual Playspace
New York, NY -- November 8, 1995 -- Children hospitalized in four pediatric hospitals across the country were connected today in STARBRIGHT World, a virtual reality playspace created for the STARBRIGHT Foundation. The environment was unveiled in an interactive demonstration hosted by Steven Spielberg, STARBRIGHT Chairman; General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Ret.) Capital Campaign Chairman; Worlds Inc.; and fellow corporate sponsors Intel Corporation, Sprint, and UB Networks.
A fully navigable shared virtual reality environment, STARBRIGHT World links seriously ill children from their hospital beds across the country through a state-of-the-art broadband network. Thanks to the efforts of the corporate partners, STARBRIGHT World includes voice-based communications and full motion video, giving kids too young or too sick to type the ability to participate freely in the experience and interact with other children.
At today's event -- held at The Mount Sinai Medical Center -- Mr. Spielberg and General Schwarzkopf were joined by young patients at the hospital and linked through STARBRIGHT World with children at the other three pediatric health care facilities participating in a 36-month pilot program: Children's Hospital Boston, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Three additional hospitals' participation in the STARBRIGHT World pilot program were also announced. They include Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and UCLA Children's Hospital.
"We are extremely proud to have been able to create the virtual environment platform for STARBRIGHT World," said David Gobel, President and CEO of Worlds Inc. "These children are all too often cut off from friends, loved ones, and other kids. It is terrible to see this happen because of an illness, especially when so much of childhood is the social interaction kids have with each other. While we cannot replace the real world, hopefully our virtual environment can at least offer an imperfect substitute."
STARBRIGHT World, designed by Worlds Inc., is much more than a game -- it is a destination where children can explore, interact, play, and communicate with other children. Thanks to Worlds Inc.'s advanced server technology, children can enter STARBRIGHT World from any of the participating hospitals and be linked with other kids who are doing the same. Using Worlds Inc.'s avatar technology, each child is represented by an online persona, or avatar, so that other children can see where they are and what they are doing within the 3-D environment. From the bright and riotous "tropical world" to the soothing and nurturing "cave world", STARBRIGHT World is a fully-functioning virtual playground.
"While conventional games and entertainment applications become predictable and boring in short order," said Gobel, "STARBRIGHT World has the unpredictability and excitement of a real playground because the space is populated by real children." Gobel had high praise for the production and technical teams at Worlds Inc. that developed the STARBRIGHT World environment and server technology, but he noted that the children would quickly make the environment their own: "We may have built a stage, but it is the children who are going to be the stars of the show."
In the demonstration presented at the conference, E.T. and the four-star bear, the on-screen characters of Mr. Spielberg and Gen. Schwarzkopf, were met by a child from Mount Sinai who presided as their tour guide through STARBRIGHT World. Together they joined friends from other hospitals where they explored the three virtual environments in STARBRIGHT World: Tropical World, Cave World and Sky World. In Sky World the group fell through a funnel cloud that transported them into a unique space where they can build sand castles, playhouses and forts, or anything imaginable - alone or with help of a few friends.
Worlds Inc. created the fully-navigable VR playspace and multi-user server technology, while each of the other three corporate sponsors made their own critical contributions to STARBRIGHT World. Intel Corporation provided the communicating PCs for each kid on the network, each is powered by high-speed Pentium (r) processors enabled with ProShare(tm) video conferencing software for patient-to-patient real-time video and voice communication. Sprint provided and is maintaining an advanced fiber optic, broadband, T-3 digital transmission network that will link STARBRIGHT's server with the participating hospitals over Sprint's Nationwide all-digital fiber optic network. UB Networks provided the network server and switching products.
STARBRIGHT World is one of several initiatives being developed under the auspices of the STARBRIGHT Foundation to empower seriously ill children to cope with the pain, stress, and loss of childhood they experience on a daily basis. The STARBRIGHT Foundation, a sister charity of the Starlight Foundation, was formed in 1991 to enhance the quality of life of seriously ill children and their families. In 1993, STARBRIGHT was the recipient of a multi-million dollar site donation from The Coca-Cola Company. Last October, a major collaboration was announced between STARBRIGHT and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, backed by a $1 million grant for the development of new products and programs. STARBRIGHT has commenced a nationwide capital campaign led by General Norman Schwarzkopf. For further information about STARBRIGHT please call (800)315-2580.
With the convergence of the computer, the telephone, and the television, Worlds Inc. technology represents a whole new metaphor for interaction and connectivity. While STARBRIGHT World uses an ATM network, other Worlds Inc. applications run over regular phone lines and 14.4 modems to allow people to interact through their computers rather than simply with them. Worlds Inc. projects include applications enabling online banking with Visa; the creation of multi-user online games with MGM; and Worlds Chat( -- the first 3-D online chat environment. Worlds' ability to create these shared 3-D virtual environments that run on today's technology has been described as "astonishingly cool" by the New York Times, "the hottest innovation the Internet will see this year" by the Dallas Morning News, and "the next step in the evolution of online communication" by the Wall Street Journal. For more on Worlds Inc. see http://www.worlds.net/