How Will The Metaverse Shape Society?

March 14 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 9

The Metaverse, the blanket term for immersive 3D spaces like virtual worlds, is gaining more and more attention as platforms are being built to cater to just about every age group and social interest. From environments that help parents entice their kids to do household chores to worlds that encourage socializing (and business marketing) like Second Life, the space is creating opportunities that go far beyond gaming.

Thanks to Henrik Bennetsen, Research Director at Stanford’s Humanities Lab, we have the chance to peek behind the curtain and see what all the buzz is about. As the Conference Chair at last month’s Metaverse U conference, he decided to pick the brains of some of this year’s participants and guests. Armed with a video camera, four questions were posed to developers, researchers, and students working in the virtual world space:

1. What excites you about current metaverse technology?
2. What concerns you about current metaverse technology?
3. What will be most the surprising impact of metaverse technology on society within the next decade?
4. What barriers will metaverse technology never overcome?

Corey Bridges, co-founder of Multiverse

Twenty-some videos are currently available on youTube with the results. The responses were generally optimistic as to the evolution of the metaverse for communication, collaboration, and learning. There’s great potential for social change too. Mirror worlds are being built to allow us to see and understand things going on in the world that the media might typically filter out. Many predicted a convergence between virtual worlds and social networking, and felt the adoption rate of new mashup platforms would only grow, due to the rate of accelerating technological change.

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'Make Your Own' Augmented Reality Media Comes to Google Earth

February 18 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: General   Rating: 9 Hot

The day when anyone can create a stunning 3D Augmented Reality simulation is getting closer.  Last month, General Electric's innovative AR media campaign to promote its 'Smart Grid' platform helped to push Augmented Reality out into the masses by giving users a chance to try it at home using a printable marker download and webcam.

Now Digital Urban has featured a new Google Earth Plug-in and Printable Marker download developed by InGlobe Technologies.  The company has expanded its Augmented Reality Media software beyond Google Sketchup into the increasingly 'mirror world'-esque Google Earth.   Downloads are available on the company's ARSights

See GE's Smart Grid Augmented Reality Campaign

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Kids and Tweens in Virtual Worlds - VW '08 Panel Take-Aways

April 07 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: General   Rating: 7

Virtual worlds for kids are an exploding market. But what do they mean for our youth and for the future of our society?

I just had the pleasure to sit through a Virtual Worlds 2008 session titled Kids and Tweens: Why Virtual Worlds Are The New Saturday Morning TV during which a panel of experts shared their thoughts on the rise of virtual worlds as the primary form of entertainment for our youth, exhibiting what moderator Richard Gottlieb labeled as a “sense of overwhelming optimism” about the growing industry.

The following are my favorite bytes and take-aways:

Jason Root, Senior Vice President, Digital, Nick.Com And Nick At Nite.Com asserted that “gaming is the new programming that kids gravitate to”, adding that Nickelodeon views it and virtual worlds “as a logical extension to the web space” and not a replacement for narrative television programming. “That leads kids into a new open-ended experience,” said Root, noting that what’s emerging is an audience “that hungers for both linear and non-linear content.”

Kenneth Locker, Senior Vice President, Digital Media, Cookie Jar Entertainment explained that virtual world experience producers “don’t create content, they create context”, meaning that the goal is to facilitate a variety of sticky open-ended experiences rather than passive consumption. “TV is a top-down medium,” he concluded, “The internet has no beginning, middle or end.”

(cont.)

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Virtual Worlds Finally Make the Jump to Mobile Phones

April 29 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 7 Hot

This is a shot that was definitely not heard around the “real world”.

A company named Vollee has at last enabled fluid access to 3D virtual worlds, namely Second Life, via a mobile phone. Check out the video of their new service, currently in Beta:

While this product won’t matter to 99.9% of us (barring the SL addicted) in the short term, it’s a big milestone for the broader evolution of the web.

As such, we can use it to extrapolate what changes an increasingly interactive 3D web might gradually enable:

Perhaps we’ll visit real-time representations of stores from hundreds of miles away or more efficiently navigate shops in real space, or more easily find jobs that allow us to work from afar, or surf 3D social networks to see what our friends are currently doing and where, or hop into virtual games tied into real-life locations when we’re bored, or search the web in 3D and 2D as well as through text and semantic search, etc.

The main point is that as we endeavor to simulate the near term future of other domains like health, business, transporation, etc. it’s important to consider the impact of new products like Vollee so that we don’t miss the larger, more disruptive products and events just over the horizon.

Virtual Unreality

June 22 2008 / by StuartDobson / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: General   Rating: 7 Hot

Virtual worlds are created by us – so why limit ourselves to reality? We could create entirely new realities. By realising that we are free of the rules of real life, the doors are open to incredible new possibilities. In many ways, virtual worlds already provide us with glimpses of alternate realities. Its time we took notice of these instrumental differences. In the future, we may decide that a virtual existence, a life inside a fully immersive computer game where our every desire is fulfilled, is a more appealing option than the real world we currently inhabit. Many people have presented the idea that we are already in such a virtual reality, but I don’t believe this is possible. This is because virtual worlds provide us with many possibilities that the real world does not, so why have they not been “programmed” into the real world we know?

Since the early 21st century, the residents of the virtual world Second Life have been working hard to recreate real life as accurately as possible. Despite the virtual platform giving occupants the ability to fly and teleport, they still prefer to meticulously create staircases to walk their avatar up and down. At discos, people require the coolest dance animations and best looking clothes. In meetings, virtual characters sit down to rest their virtual legs. It seems the confines of reality provide a comfortable and familiar environment.

But virtual worlds are created by us – so why limit ourselves to reality? We could create entirely new realities. By realising that we are free of the rules of real life, the doors are open to incredible new possibilities. In many ways, virtual worlds already provide us with glimpses of alternate realities. Its time we took notice of these instrumental differences. (cont.)

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Virtual Going Out is the New Going Out

November 03 2008 / by StuartDobson / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Culture   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Crossposted from SuperConcepts.

A ‘Virtual’ Escape From Economic Pain: Forbes

It seems that in these times of economic decline, people don’t want to forgo the luxuries that they’ve grown accustomed to over the years, so are choosing to indulge themselves in a virtual manner instead. There’s certainly a lot to be said for staying home surrounded by cheap entertainment compared with going out and being ripped off and mugged. Could this be the future? As Virtual Reality improves, we’ll be finding it replacing more and more of the “Real Life” things we currently take for granted.

Why travel on dangerous, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly airlines when you can immerse yourself in a Virtual holiday? Google Earth and Google Street, not to mention other “virtual sightseeing” options have recently taken a lot of big steps towards this. Although virtual reality interfaces have a long way to go before we can experience all the delights of a trip to somewhere beautiful, in the next few years it will be possible to walk down a foreign street on your computer screen, with the realism of a TV documentary. You’ll be able to go into a real shop, select a real item from a real shelf, and make real purchases from the shops on this street, to be delivered to your door. In Second Life, you can already wander around the accurately recreated streets of Dublin and other major cities. Primitive as it is now, we’ll soon be taking it for granted.

In the very distant future, personal nano-fabrication devices could allow us to recreate the exact tastes and textures of foods available anywhere on Earth. And if not, computer interfaces to our brains will merely simulate the feelings and tastes of eating these exotic cuisines. Whether as part of a virtual reality interface or not, the ability to remotely indulge our senses will surely come from somewhere.

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Next-Gen Video Games Offer New Value to All

July 31 2008 / by jcchan / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2009   Rating: 4

Coming soon to your living room: a wild safari in the scorching African savanna starring you, armed with nothing but your camera. Afrika is the next step in a generation of video games that seek to become more than just entertainment and can actually make you smarter.

Afrika, the latest game by Rhino Studios, is set to be released in Japan on the PS3 in late August. You play it from the perspective of a nature photographer and naturalist armed with a Nikon stalking realistic wildlife in painstakingly recreated savannas. The photos you snap are saved like a lexicon, or Africa-pedia, where you can read up all about the real facts of the animal. The PS3’s multi-cored cell processor is being utilized to is fullest potential to recreate the complex AI and behavior of the animals in mirror world fashion, and it’s is just one of many in the increasing trend of video games that are as educational as they are made to be entertaining.

Because the game is not about rifles or grenades, it is perfect for younger children who can learn about Africa’s wildlife in a fully immersive 3D world rather than a bread-and-butter textbook. And what a field trip it is without all the expenses and dangers of being there.

But using video games to teach isn’t a new idea. An all-girls junior high school in Japan have already been using Nintendo DS’s to teach English. The verdict? The students feel right at home with the new devices. Katie Salen, a game designer and director of the graduate Design and Technology program at Parsons School of Design, is leading the way in using video games as a foundation for education for an accelerating world. Her goal is to open a school based on gaming literacy.

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[Video] Could 3D Projection Systems Transform Urban Landscapes?

February 25 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Culture   Year: General   Rating: 4 Hot

France-based Easy Web develops 3D video projection systems for 'monumental architecture', but could they be developing new cultural expectations for human-city interfaces where everything becomes a template?

via Laughing Squid Youtube

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VW 2008: Where are the Virtual Worlds Headed?

March 28 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 3

Broadly popular virtual worlds are a relatively recent phenomenon, and yet have taken the real world by storm. It was just 2003 when Second Life opened its doors to the public – it has now grown to 13,018,921 residents (as of today) with millions of Linden dollars being exchanged every month.

Virtual worlds evolved from basic online communities and chatrooms. From these roots sprouted Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) and Multi-User Shared Habitats (MUSHes), like the first 3D shooter game Maze War. Inspired by UK-born MUDs of the late 1970s like AberMUD, the first Internet-based MUD, early virtual worlds of the 1990s were solely text-based with limited graphics and often used a Terminal Interface. The launch of CyberTown in 1995, the immediate success of The Sims Online in 2002, and the growing success of Second Life sewed the seeds for a market that has recently begun to skyrocket. Due also in part to the steady popularization of MMORPGs, it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to catch on to the potential of such virtual environments. With virtual worlds popping up everywhere, the roster now includes World of Warcraft, Multiverse, There.com, MetaPlace, Club Penguin and many more.

This year’s Virtual Worlds Conference in New York City promises to be a playground for those interested in the Metaverse. The two day conference agenda covers the business, operations and legal issues for companies seeking to monetize their intellectual property with virtual worlds.

“Virtual worlds are rapidly reshaping the toy, media, and entertainment industries,” said Christopher Sherman, Executive Director of the Virtual Worlds Management. “This year’s Virtual Worlds Conference keynoters are individuals who are leading the charge, leveraging existing content, brands and intellectual property to create new, high-margin virtual worlds that excite, entertain and engage audiences.”

(cont.)

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Google's battle vs. Apple begins: Killer Android Apps

September 02 2008 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: General   Rating: 3

Forget about Google vs. Microsoft, the King of Search is building its foundation for conquering the mobile web experience and introducing software services that go far beyond desktop based keyword searches. Welcome to Google’s platform of the future – Android.

The future battle for consumer ‘web apps’ might heat up faster on smart mobile devices than desktops. This puts Google in direct competition with the iPhone and its App Store. But Google must move quickly to secure relationships with handset makers, and it needs developers to fall in love with the Android platform.

Last week, Google announced its winners of the first round of Android platform applications that include: cab4me’s one-click call to local cab services based on your location, CompareEverywhere’s camera bar code based price comparison, Ecorio’s automatic calculations of your carbon footprint, Breadcrumb’s picture based map creator, and PiggyBack’s car-pooling and ride-sharing application. These applications give users much more than simple search results. They help synchronize our lives and bring the web into the real world.

These apps and others will be part of Google’s Android Marketplace -an open content distribution system that will help end users find, purchase, download and install various types of content on their Android-powered devices.

The next two years will be an exciting time for mobile apps as mainstream Internet experiences evolve from websites to web services- and from desktops to mobile devices. The role of next generation mobile software services could be the key to success. Apple understands this future reality, but Google is not standing still- and Steve Jobs will be watching.

[Video] MIT Media Lab's Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry Introduce Sixth Sense Wearable Interface

March 11 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Gadgets   Year: General   Rating: 3

One of the hottest talks from this year's TED Conference is a wearable system demonstration from MIT Media LabPattie Maes and Pranav Mistry introduce a working prototype aimed at augmenting our world with a 'Sixth Sense' layer of information using image sensing and projection systems.

 

TED Talk Video

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U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee Holding Hearing on Virtual Worlds

March 28 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 2

On the heels of Singapore’s announcement that it plans to throw some serious money at the development of mixed-reality applications the slower U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has scheduled a hearing on the issues surrounding virtual worlds.

The session, titled Online Virtual Worlds: Applications and Avatars in a User-Generated Medium, will be held April 1 at 9:30 a.m. and live webcast streamed for those who wish to view the proceedings from home (or at work). It seems likely that the potential economic value, catalytic effects and security ramifications of user populated virtual worlds will be discussed. No doubt this is just the beginning of broader federal recognition of the power of this rapidly diffusing new medium.

I will be eager to see what transpires and then to discuss the ramifications here and with all of the virtual world officionados converging at Virtual Worlds 2008 next week.

(via Virtual Worlds News)


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