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Joining the Real and the Virtual: Real World / Second Life Integration

Tue, Jul 24th 2007: Oregon, USA: OSCON

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. Examples will include a custom hardware interface that participants will build using provided materials and use to control objects in SL, and SL objects that can be used to control devices and appliances in the real world.