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Hardware / Software Hacking: Joining Second Life to the Real World

Wed, Jan 30th 2008: Melbourne, Australia: linux.conf.au

Software developers usually confine themselves to working entirely within the runtime environment of a computer just pushing around bits and pixels. Even virtual worlds such as Second Life exist only in the confines of our CPUs. On the other hand, hardware hacking has really taken off in recent years and there are now magazines such as MAKE devoted to modifying everyday objects. It's a lot easier than software jockeys may expect, and this tutorial will begin with an entertaining exploration of simple ways to get started with linking a computer to real-world objects. But what happens when you knock down the boundaries between the real world and a virtual world? This tutorial will show specific techniques and examples for linking real-world objects into the Second Life environment so that changes in the real world can be reflected in SL and vice versa. Participants had the option of either providing their own parts or purchasing a bundled kit for about $55 which included an Arduino microcontroller used during the tutorial to create a custom hardware interface to control objects in SL, and allow SL objects to control devices and appliances in the real world. Video The tutorial was recorded, and can be accessed in OGG format from the Linux Australia mirror: Video Part 1 Video Part 2 Audio An audio-only recording in Speex format is also available: Audio Part 1 Audio Part 2