Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Second Life controlling Real Life

We're working with some ambient orbs for multiple purposes. Since we had one handy, I got a developers account for a custom channel, and slipped in a mash-up between the orb, and Second Life.

The basic idea of a custom channel is that you can call a URL for your own orb, and specify the current color and animation. These URL's look something like this...


And off you go. From that, it's a simple matter to plug in an HttpRequest in LSL. For this first cut, I just wanted to get the thing working, so I have a display, along with several color buttons. Push the button, the color display changes, and the correct site is called with the correct parms. This took all of a cup of coffee to get through, but I think it shows some interesting potential. One thing I've discussed for quite a while is the idea that the physical and the virtual are merging.

Anyhow, this changes the status of the orb on the ambient site, but I'm having a heck of a time getting the physical orb to respond. Perhaps there's a radio coverage problem, but I'll have to look into it...but this cap from my orb administration page shows that at least on the web site, my orb is the correct color.

The initial concept is to create a DEFCON style alert system. Since the scenario we're playing with is a sort of collaborative disaster management scenario, this SL widget could control a group of orbs for people that need to be alerted when something is going on. Perhaps the orbs on their desks start flashing red, and everyone teleports into the collaborative space...that sort of thing. Another more generic idea would be an app that can change the orb color based on whether anyone is in the sim, showing number of people, for example. If you were a help desk for a retailer running a virtual store, the orb could show the amount of foot traffic, and alert virtual sales avatars to pop in to close a sale.

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