Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Second Life Walkie Talkies



I met Dutch artist Sander Veenhoff at the Conflux festival where he was presenting his Second Life Walkie Talkies as part of a real world (rw)/virtual world (vw) walking tour. The SL Walkie Talkies are part of a growing trend of building porous interfaces that connect rw and vw more fluidly. This one works by text message. SMS are sent from back and forth from SL avatars (how have a chat ability built in) to rw cell phones. This means that as I walk down the street in Williamsburg, where the festival was held, admiring the paper cub camera obscura embedded in a backyard fence (see above image), I can speak with a friend in SL who is live linked by virtual Walkie Talkies. I asked Sander why he did not make the Walkie Talkies voice enabled, as the voice client is now working in SL. He said that you would then be speaking with another person and not an avatar. Ok, that’s keeping it virtually real. There is too much head down in the hack as it stands––if we were ostensibly on walking tour together, it is not so nice to have one’s head buried in a cell phone all the time. For people who are already getting their email to their phones, there is a long-standing porous IM function in SL that sends messages to your email. That Sander is enabling a two-way and real time experience of in-world to out-world communication is cool. More sneakers and robots.

The link to load the Walkie Talkie is
http://slwalkietalkie.com, which was not loading last I checked…ah me, the future.

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