Its a question i’ve thought about a few times over the years because there is no shortage of examples where Hardware has tried to be part of Second Life.
Back in 2008, the days when Xbox Connect was all the giddy rage, there was a video of a Mitch Kapor showing research into plugging SL up to Kinect.
Experiments to get Leap Motion working with SL
And of course the new swanky VR Prophet Oculus.
In all these cases it’s been a matter of adding ‘Support’ to these devices. Usually the hardware hasn’t been able to find it’s feet and disappears or replaced by new ones. I’m often left with just a glimpse of their potential usage in Second Life.
What if Linden Lab had created a hardware devision when on the crest of the forgotten previous VR hype cycle could they have invented the Oculus, or the Leap Motion, or the Prio-VR suit? What things could they have developed to expand Second Life or incorporate with their New Thing?
1. Input device: A lot of sensor tech that works with hand gestures can be ‘WOW’ but when used in a Virtual Space, tend to be a bit ‘MEH’. This idea of moving your arm or hands out to move quickly becomes lame when your arm starts to ache. Actually most ideas like this turn out to be lame. I still can’t find a practice intuitive use for my Leap Motion.
2. Oculus Killer: Not 3Dhead. The thing with a lot of Oculus demos right now is they are simple spaces, bare minimum options. Thats not a bad thing since everything in a total 360 VR world has to be as simple and intuitive as possible. Eventually though you will be able to reach out and touch things in VR with preciseness and clarity, and at that point the complicated options such as building and customising and organising and reading will be comfortable. Maybe Linden Labs New Thing will do away with a lot of that info clutter, or maybe Linden Lab could make goggles similar to Microsoft’s hololens that augment the ‘New Thing’ beyond the monitor?
3. NFC Kit: Not everything Linden Lab does has to be about VR, What if Linden Lab released their own ‘Build Yourself Near field communication’ Kit. NFC chips are used in Skylander and Disney Infinity Toys where you can place them on a special stand and they appear in the video games on screen. Imagine being able to program your own chips that can be placed in personal objects that effect your Virtual Experience. Add a chip to your coffee mug so when you place it next to your computer your avatar also drinks coffee. Your real world self would have even more of a connection with your avatar and virtual space.