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Aug 16, 2007



The BBC recently reported on some work done by the University of Edinburgh on mixing the real and virtual worlds. Their Spellbinder project allows you to take a photo of a well-known building which is then returned to you with additional information laid over the top - such as artwork adorning the walls.

Would be interesting to see if this could provide a basis for a real-life slateit.


@nick There are certainly a good few projects that are more public in how to capture and model things.
It is almost how to make the real world a service provider.
Wolf had posted this link to a BBC article by on the BT futurologists.
I think we will see a long list of bits and pieces and I reckon we can build a real world slateit from some easily available bits :-)


Here at Georgia Tech, we've created a full-blow AR interface to SecondLife. We don't have a web page for the project yet (soon!) but have integrated live video capture and various kinds of spatial trackers into our modified SL client, along with developing a set of inworld conventions to define the relationship of a piece of land in SL and an area in the real world.

Our original goal was to create AR Machinima; the project is a collaboration between myself (Blair MacIntyre, in the School of Interactive Computing), Michael Nitsche and Jay Bolter (both in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture), along with Tobias Lang (a student visiting my lab from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich; he's the one who actually built it!).

However, now that we've created it, we are starting to explore a whole bunch of things you might do when you can directly merge an area in SL with an area of the real world (e.g., games, distributed collaboration, mixing remote and local visitors to historic sites, etc.) As you point out in this article, the possibilities are endless! There are limits to using SL, of course, but it really gives one a taste of what might be possible.

We have an island (Augmented Reality) we are using for this work; feel free to drop by. (My avatar is "Blair Potluck")


@blair That indeed sounds very cool work.
We have had a number of projects under our extreme blue programme (with IBMers and students) looking at similar sorts of ideas, but for a different goal.
Once the projects are done I will be able to post some links that may be of interest to you too.
The live action machinima falls nicely into my previous post about metaverse being as much about people and live performance as being about good 3d buildings :-)



I actually signed up for a Second Life account and fumbled my way through the settings (Janmar Kayo) so I could visit your island. I noticed there are a couple of floor plans with an XYZ pointer attached; do these reflect a real-world office somewhere? What are you doing on the island?


One of the goals with SLateIt was to experiment with large scale social augmented reality applications: you can build similar projects with RFID tags and HMDs, but you can't easily cover entire cities with RFIDs and give everyone an HMD for free (yet). Of course, even when you get the infrastructure for free in VR, you still need to make the application useful, easy to use and let people know about it. If only I had more time, or maybe some helpers...


Great to so a post in TN about Mixed Reality which for me will be one of the most exciting areas both driving uptake of virtual worlds from a commercial perspective. But it is also (as Blair said) a new form that affords creativity in collaborative play, distributed narrative and a rich layer into the a cross-media mix.

With my Director of The Laboratory of Advanced Media Production hat on we have been helping team create several Mixed Reality projects such as City Games, Inworld and Thursday's Fictions, the former looking at live players in a real city using locative mobiles playing with virtual players in Second Life. We also create MR collaborative play and our ARG/Quest wiki pages covers some of the recent parallel second life, real location based narrative/quest/ARG type games. LAMP also ran a series of seminars on Mixed Reality and there are some enhanced podcasts starting here on the topic featuring Tony Walsh and myself.

With my commercial Head of Virtual Worlds for The Project Factory who created the most visited brand/s in SL like BigPond and ABC, we are taking on more and more projects now that start to move into uncanny valley from an environmental perspective. Spaces that feel real vs models of icons. Personal I have a real problem with over representation but I love capturing as the original post said, the organic essence of a place or event and removing the shackles of being overtly detailed on the visual side. I concentrate more on making social spaces that echoes the kinds of interaction in the real ones, we have just recently completed a small section of Melbourne for example (to be launched soon), that feels real, could be used as a Mixed Reality base, but the accuracy comes not from data feeds but from the layers of emotional triggers in the sound, 'narrative' and movement. The Project Factory are now developing many formats through it's Format Factory incarnation, many projects that cross over between virtual worlds and TV/Film and see that as one of the key areas that will reinvigorate TV experiences and points back, as I said in the podcast above, to my BBC days when we were already piloting what we called at the time 'inhabited TV' but now the mechanisms are in place to make a lot of those ideas come to life.

A great area for TN to explore more I think.


@jim I brought your slateit up as it does show the way on being able to experiment in an environment rich with sensors and information in a suitably digital form. We have a few Hursley projects using some virtual world technology exploring sensing to determine patterns of use whilst the world catches up and invents the sensors to match them. This is all good stuff :-) For many people they will experience slateit and may well say "how do we do that in real life?".

@gary thankyou for the links and the great comment. I love the phrase "inhabited TV". I do agree also that there is a danger of over representing information for the sake of it. Providing people are able to dial up or down their immersion at the boundary between real and virtual I dont think this will be a problem.
e.g. We experience stock market information as a simple news report on the BBC in the morning, derived from the same depth of information a market trader sees over their multiple screens.
Very often we see attempts to deliver every piece of information in one go. Those overly busy websites that we sometimes see, badly designed overwhelm many casual users. It may be though that engaging with other senses and moving to a 3d model may fit better with the human brain and allow us to use much of that processing power we loose using ordinary screens and text. Peripheral vision as one example. I force myself to have virtual peripheral vision with a second monitor just out of sight with feeds ticking past, to allow immersion in what ever it is I am doing and to get a sense of what else is happening.
Also well done on getting ahead of IBM with the Pond. We had better go and invent some more things :-)


@epredator, I'll be interested to hear more about what you are up to. I've bounced ideas of a variety of IBM'ers in the past year, about how to use AR and MMOs for "real" things, but haven't gotten much traction. :) Some other companies are showing interest, though, so perhaps we'll be able to start pursuing those ideas soon! It is an exciting place to play!


@Syntheticist, sorry I missed you when you came to visit the island. I saw your "friend" request when I logged in, but didn't know who you were! :)

Yes, the floor plans reflect two spaces in our building (the lounge outside my office, and the lab in which we do the AR/Facade project. Both had high accuracy trackers in them, so we are using them for samples.

Most of the rest of the island is "in progress". I would like to use it for teaching and lectures, as well as housing a AR/VR educational exhibit. I plan on having students in my Virtual Worlds class next semester build exhibits explaining AR/VR concepts in SL as one assignment; seems like a good pedagogical tool ("you have to understand it to explain it to others" and "using 3D to explain 3D means you REALLY need to understand 3D").

We want to use the space for more AR/SL things. I plan on doing an outdoor project this fall, for example, using GPS and some of our good orientation sensors. We are also exploring things with some historic sites in Atlanta.


@Jim Purbrick, I think the ideas behind slateit are cool; exploring AR inside of SL is a fun way to mockup AR ideas. Doing large scale stuff is hard, as you point out, since things like RFID (even if it could be widely deployed) don't have the accuracy to support 3D registration. GPS is still to inaccurate, too. But, eventually, we'll get there! :)


How's this for augmented reality? UCF's School of Film and Digital Media put on a play performance that went between the real world and the virtual world. Cool stuff!!




(5) 文学


Ian, there's only one reality. It's our physical world, bodies, wealth , health,interests. Your job,my income,and on what i'm spending my money and my time. Engaging in WVs for more than the pure fun of playing a fantasy , means two parts : a scammer and a loser. Unless you pay me to play your game.

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