Second Life is bobbins

I haven’t really used Second Life that much, and I don’t really intend to, but there seems to have been a real-life conference the other day which ran in parallel to one in Second Life and it made me leave a comment on someone’s writeup, which I thought I’d repost here, because what’s a weblog for if not making you look stupid?

Iā€™m pretty cynical of SL in general (let alone in education) and the claims that Linden make, but as a tool for easily creating 3D objects in a virtual world with a global population it really is unparalleled. At XTech, Matt Biddulph gave a demo of how you can use real-life input to control items in SL. From what I understand, it should work the other way around too, giving a global audience the ability to affect say, something on your desk by ringing your doorbell in SL. Anything that gives that kind of opportunity is worthy of investigation at least.

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3 thoughts on “Second Life is bobbins”

  1. First, the Matt Biddulph link seems to go to an ApacheCon Europe 2007 keynote – the XTech talk being at this link. Which was also very interesting – though I am a Gumstix fan, I might have to try this one out.

    Second, as far as SL-as-research goes, Xerox Parc did the real world – virtual world stuff way back when, in 2D and probably in faux 3D as well as VR (actually, that’s a given in most fields; Xerox Parc seem to have done everything first, then got bored and moved on). Similarly, there’s a lot of CAVE research around on this type of stuff. To put it mildly, SL research has a rich heritage on which to draw.

    SL is unusual in the unformed nature of the thing, the slightly disturbing economics and the mad, mad buy-in it seems to have attracted. AFAICT it’s a marketing effort. Probably there’s research to be done in reprising work done w/VR in SL, but that can be unrewarding without additional motivation. “We did xyz. As Foo and Bar suggested n years ago, we found previous_outcome.”

    I’m just a joyless old cynic. Darn kids – get off the HCI lawn!

  2. The link to Matt Biddulph’s talk is correct. His Apachecon keynote was also given as his main XTech talk (schedule item). The link you give was to his 20:20 talk after the main talks on Thursday.

    I’ve never really enjoyed Gumstix – as far as I’m aware it’s not a breadboarding device which the Arduino (along with many others) is. I’m happy to be corrected on that.

    Also, I guess I should say I’m more than aware of the SL heritage, having started work in virtual world tech some ten tears ago. The important point of course, is your third one – although I’d expand on it – an important issue is not only the unformed nature but the ability for SL to connect to the rest of the web via (at least) LLHttpRequest.

    The marketing angle is weird. The BBC for example have gone all-out on Second Life in recent months. Bizarre.

  3. Re. the link: clearly branding matters šŸ™‚

    A Gumstix indeed isn’t designed for breadboarding as such. However, the Gumstix and Arduino product ranges do intersect for some uses imho, mainly in places where a Gumstix as in the 400mhz beast actually represent total overkill. You pays your money and you picks your platform, I guess. But I had not seen the Arduino range before and they look cute (and cheap). The world needs more cute (cheap) boards. Thank you for the lead.

    I bow to your ten years of VR experience, sir. And I don’t know what they’re bribing the BBC with either.

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