The Virtual Thunder Dome

February 26, 2008

Imagine a virtual environment that you could actually physically move around in. Your body, while moving in the real world, guides the path of your virtual avatar. Imagine an environment similar to a Star Trek holodeck, where you could explore unconfined to physical space restrictions.

Seem to good to be true?

Well, it is. But this product is going to try anyway. For some reason, I just don’t see this sphere thing catching on.


Tools of the Trade: Ajaxlife.net

February 24, 2008

Problem: Got a work computer, or a laptop, that doesn’t have the graphics muscles to run Second Life? Do you need to chat with your contacts/friends in Second Life, but don’t really need to eat up processor time?

Possible Solution: Ajaxlife.net

My Observations: Accessing Second Life (an Multiple User Virtual Environment) normally requires downloaded software. To experience the world in all it’s 3D glory, you do need a somewhat beefy graphics-capable computer system…something I do not have in my work office. Enter from stage right Ajaxlife. Ajaxlife is a web based interface for Second Life. You don’t get all the pretty pictures, or get to move around, or voice talk, or even see anything for that matter. What you do get is this:

Access To

  • Your inventory (and the ability to sort)
  • Avatar profiles (and thus the ability to contact them)

Search Capabilities

  • You can find non-friend Avatars

Communications

  • Local Chat (Text chatting with avatars located near you in the Second Life sim world)
  • Instant Messaging (think of it as a person-to-person text chat)

Tools

  • Scan for nearby Avatars (since you are blind, comes in real handy)
  • Stats (tells you when there is serious lag in world)

Travel

  • Ability to TP to another location via the map


Bottomline:
Incredibly useful tool for those needing access to the communication features of Second Life when they are away from a graphics-capable machine. It is very difficult to Teleport to another location, since you are as blind as a bat (my apologies to all the bats out there), which may prevent widespread use. No download required! Fairly simple to use (EXCEPT for traveling).

…and btw…this was developed by a teenage girl!


Of HUDs and Cybernetic Implants…

February 20, 2008

Recently read the “Metaverse Roadmap” study report http://www.metaverseroadmap.org/overview/

I am fascinated by the augmented reality analysis section. It purposes that within 5-20 years, we will have a wide range mobile technology tools that will “augment” our reality with digital information. Imagine a HUD in your glasses or contact lens that displays internet / metaverse information, such as mapquest-like directions complete with pointing arrows appearing 3-dimensionally displayed in the real world. Or a google-like search engine interface accessible anytime anywhere. Or, a text profile information feed floating above local structures or even people (“Hey…I’m single and looking for bla bla bla…”). I can also see it becoming a nuisence, such as web pop-up ads (“Hey…over here…this beast of a car has an inline hemi with bla bla bla…).

There are an infinite number of potential applications to this sort of technological capability. Imagine the changes in education, training, customer interaction. I could even see a day that many businesses forgo an actual brick-and-morter business in exchange for a virtual storefront for their product (I can just see the scene from the Matrix where the long row of guns rush by Neo upon command). But why stop there! You can embed your product with a nano-chip complete with a virtual store. A person is walking down the street and sees, oh wow, the perfect pair of shoes worn by someone on the other side of the street. On command (maybe an eyeflick or voice command or a neural receiver) your HUD pulls the information from the chip and sends your HUD and image of the virtual store, where you can browse that and other available shoes (and of course purchase with a click and have it shipped to your home).