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Knowledge & Content Technologies

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AIM@SHAPE - Advanced and Innovative Models And Tools for the development of Semantic-based systems for Handling, Acquiring, and Processing knowledge Embedded in multidimensional digital objects

AIM@SHAPE pursued innovations towards digital representations of shapes capable of modeling not only the visual appearance of objects but also their meaning or functionality in a given knowledge domain. In this setting, shape knowledge has been concerned with the geometry (the spatial extent of the object), the structure (object features and part-whole decomposition), attributes (colours, textures), semantics (meaning, purpose), and has had interaction with time (morphing, animation).


The innovation objective has been being achieved by growing a new multi-disciplinary research field, which deeply integrates Computer Graphics and Computer Vision with Knowledge Technologies and uses knowledge formalization techniques ( metadata and ontologies ) for linking semantics to shapes or shape parts in order to process and reason on shape data. When semantics are taken into account, many computer-based tasks can be significantly improved, and other tasks are made possible. AIM@SHAPE focused on the domains of Virtual Humans , Product Design , and Shape Acquisition and Processing , but the work done also targeted other application areas involving digital shapes, like for example architecture and geographical information systems.

Main innovation

The harmonization of shape modelling approaches in Computer Graphics and Computer Vision has been pursued via the definition of shared vocabularies and ontologies , not only for the abovementioned specific domains, but also on a higher level as the basis for the project's eScience platform, the Digital Shape Workbench . As the project's main technological innovation, this workbench served the role of an operational, large-scale, distributed and web-based software system serving as common infrastructure. The scientific innovation sought by AIM@SHAPE is focused on modelling the semantics of digital shapes at each stage of their lifecycle. Thus the work within the AIM@SHAPE framework can be divided into several components:

  • Ontology Design

    For each of the three domains Virtual Humans , Product Design , and Shape Acquisition and Processing , AIM@SHAPE worked on developing an ontology describing existing knowledge and ongoing research in that particular area. General metadata for shapes and shape modelling software tools led to the creation of higher-level ontologies which constitute the common formalization to be shared, reused and extended by the specific domain ontologies. These higher-level ontologies are also of special importance to share resources via the Digital Shape Workbench.

  • Digital Shape Workbench

    The Digital Shape Workbench (DSW) has been developed as an integrated eScience infrastructure for shape research, available to academia and industry, where the necessary flow of interaction and communication is implemented. That allowed access to the core software components developed and maintained by the AIM@SHAPE project. The main elements of the DSW are the shape and tool repositories, the common digital library, the ontology and metadata repository, and a semantic as well as a geometric search engine.

    The DSW is open to the scientific community and the available components can be found at .

  • Joint Research Program

    The research has been oriented to the development of a multi-layered paradigm, where the knowledge about digital shapes is organized in different levels of increasing abstraction:

    • geometric (low-level description)
    • structural (configuration of relevant shape sub-parts)
    • semantic (expressing meaning or function)

    This research has been carried out in close cooperation with the development of the digital shape ontologies in the specific domain contexts. It focused on studying methods to preserve semantic content, to annotate automatically digital shapes, to interact with the semantics, and to maintain as well as update the semantics at the different stages of the lifecycle. The research activities have been grouped into three programs dealing with the acquisition and reconstruction , the analysis and structuring , and the interpretation and mapping of shape models in the given domains of knowledge.

More details
Administrative Details
  • AIM@SHAPE (IST NoE-506766) is a Network of Excellence Project of the European Union's 6 th Framework Programme Thematic Priority 2 (Information Society Technologies). It was submitted to the first call of the programme, and addresses the strategic objective "Knowledge Management and Content Creation".
  • The project started on January 2004 and finished on December 31, 2007.
  • There have been involved 13 consortium partner institutions from 8 countries.
  • The overall budget was estimated to be of at least 7.55 million Euro, with a European Commission contribution of 5.74 million Euro.
List of Participants
Contact Persons
Network Coordinator: Bianca Falcidieno
IMATI-CNR, Dept. of Genova
Email: (email removed)
Technical Manager: Ewald Quak
SINTEF Applied Mathematics
Email: (email removed)
Events in connection with AIM@SHAPE