Chris Simpson

Semper letteris mandate

New 3D camera to come with cushioned insoles

Getting jiggy with hands-free object building in Second Life.

The big news this week is the announcement by Mitch Kapur and his colleague, Philippe Bossut, about the development of a 3D camera capable of interpreting real-life actions into in-world actions. This, of course, proves what many have known for a long time: not all the odd names are to be found in Second Life.

As for the camera, it’s a clever idea. “Leaning forward causes the avatar to move forward,” says Kapur “Leaning back moves the avatar backwards. To turn, lean to the side. The more you lean, the faster you turn. To stop, just stand up straight.”

If this sounds familiar it’s because the camera is “partly inspired” by the Segway Scooter, the millennium’s transportation revolution which ultimately resulted in dozens of sales.

In a video posted online, Kapur explains the way the camera works while Bossut demonstrates by standing in a room swaying back and forth with his arms in the air — which isn’t creepy at all.

“Now, if you jump in place, the avatar jumps,” Kapur tells us in the video. “People love to fly in Second Life; we wanted to make this easier, so we developed an interface to make it possible to fly like a bird. The position of your hands controls taking off, landing and altitude.”

The camera is in early developmental stages at the moment, but as time goes by we’re sure to be hearing increasingly loud demands for it.

In the meantime, however, these are being drowned out by the increasingly loud gales of laughter.

Still, innovation always wins out over the skeptics. Just remember the Segway.

Originally published in the Metaverse Messenger, 2008

Notable Interviews

To the right are a few of the noteworthy interviews I've conducted.


Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy

Astronaut James Lovell

%d bloggers like this: