Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – If you are among the Luddites who don’t believe 3-D technology is going to affect the way you do business, then don’t plan on being briefed about the future by a world leader in the field on Wednesday.

However, if you believe 3-D will affect everything from website design to e-mail, e-commerce to education and more then register today for Local Tech Wire’s next Executive Exchange event on July 28.

Today’s the last day to sign up to hear from Dr. Julian Lombardi, a professor at Duke and one of the world’s foremost pioneers in transforming 3-D from business fantasy to reality.

The topic is the “Immersive Internet,” and Dr. Lombardi will be discussing how today’s flat Internet will be transformed into a virtual, interactive world not just for entertainment and games but for conducting business, training, and much, much more.

While 3-D movies are all the rage and 3-D videogames are coming to the smallest, portable devices, 3-D business is largely unexplored outside of some virtual experiments. Dr. Lombardi was among the first to create an environment in which shopping became more than click-and-buy.

The event at Bay 7 in the American Tobacco complex in Durham begins with registration at 11:30 a.m. and lunch. Dr. Lombardi will speak at noon and will then participate in a Q&A session.

Dr. Lombardi is filling in for fellow Duke Professor Dr. Tony O’Driscoll, who is unable to speak due to an unexpected conflict.

Dr. Lombardi founded and serviced as chief creative officer at VIOS, a venture-backed 3-D software technology firm. VIOS created one of the first online virtual worlds.

He currently is assistant vice president with Duke’s Office of Information Technology and is a research scholar with the Duke ISIS [Information Science plus Information Studies] program.

Additionally, he is an adjunct faculty member in Duke’s Department of Computer Science.

In 2002-2005, Dr. Lombardi managed an educational software R&D program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His current research is focused on the design of computational systems that support deep collaboration and resource sharing across very large numbers of users. The research program to develop open source tools for constructing, accessing, and sharing hyperlinked virtual workspaces for research and education has received major support from the Japanese National Institute of Communications Technology (NICT), the National Science Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Lombardi also teaches about virtual worlds at Duke.

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