Segalen – A Keyboard free Second Life

 

So, since this fateful day of January 15th (see OSAF 2.0 and me), I’m now a full time employee of KEI (Kapor Enterprises, Inc.) and working on a project code named Segalen (picking its name from Victor Segalen for the curious) in Mitch Kapor’s “incubator”. That is to say that I’m basically working alone on the technical stuff and with Mitch on the idea, business aspects and everything else.

 

The objective of the project is to dramatically change the way users interact with online virtual worlds. The online world (or metaverse or MMO or whatever you want to call it…) in question for this project being, of course, Second Life.

 

For the moment, the Segalen mission is simply summarized in that short sentence:

 

Keyboard free Second Life!

 

That’s it! That’s what we’re trying to create. I’m hacking the open source slviewer and implementing different ways to interact with SL (navigate, change camera focus, initiate animations, interact with objects) without ever having to learn those weird and complicated navigation keyboard sequences (Alt-zooming anyone?) and, above all, allowing users to naturally interact in world without having to do everything with one single pointer (the mouse) and a handful of keystrokes.

 

To do so, we started exploring the use of new “3D” cameras, those capturing not only RGB but also depth or distance to the camera for each pixel. This makes the tracking of body features in real time much easier than simple “2D” cameras. In the first weeks of working on it, I was able to hack enough into the slviewer code to plug in a camera and start interacting within SL without the use of the keyboard. Things started working “for real” 2 weeks ago and Mitch got a little excited and spilled the beans at the Metaverse Roadmap meeting in Stanford.

 

I had to work extra hours over the following weekend to make the “segway” navigation he talked about work and, on the next Tuesday, I made a first demo to the whole KEI staff. That was received with cheers and applause. It felt great though, clearly, there were a lot of challenges ahead.

 

Since then, I completed the whole navigation UI: walk, turn, fly, jump, crouch, etc… It’s really cool and demos amazingly! It’s also a true different feeling being around SL with your own body (so to speak) instead of being tied to this darn keyboard.

 

Next on my list: direct interaction with objects inworld. I’ve some pretty cool ideas already and can’t wait to get enough code in there to start playing with them. The object edit code though lies in a completely different (and unknown to me) part of the source tree… Well, I guess I’ll get there as I did with the other part (navigation). 

 

In short, I’m not done yet but making daily progress. I wanted to keep things quiet but I saw that some people are starting to pick up on Mitch’s story so I wanted you to hear what’s going on from the horse’s mouth. I don’t know exactly when I’ll be done with everything I want for a first really knocks-your-socks-off demo (if something like that ever existed) but I think it will be weeks rather than months. Optimism is  required in this kind of job!

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13 Responses to Segalen – A Keyboard free Second Life

  1. […] pbossut’s idle loop Segalen – A keyboard free Second Life Quote from the site – So, since this fateful day of January 15th (see OSAF 2.0 and me), I’m now a […]

  2. Timeless Prototype says:

    I am really looking forward to the outcome. Hope it goes mainstream!

  3. […] Second Life March 6, 2008 — dusanwriter An open source engineering manager and blogger writes that his company, Kapor Enterprises, Inc., is working on a new application for virtual worlds that […]

  4. 3D cameras sounds as an exciting idea. Though I don’t believe that we’ll get rid of keyboard and mice anytime soon, nor that we really want to, this could significaly improve the look of the world and our communication. Beside the hardware development there will be issues of designing the new interface and using it. It will have both good and bad sides.

    Can we have some videos to see it in action?

  5. pbossut says:

    @ dandellion Kimban: we’re thinking about a video and I’ll certainly post here whenever it’s ready. As for your comments on the advantages of keyboard and mice, I don’t think either that mocap will replace everything. In some situation though, it would be great to have more than one pointer to do stuff (as exemplified by multitouch interface for instance). There are some instances where I’d like to use more than one hand, even in the virtual world (when editing prims for instance). Also, baby sitting my avatar facial mood all the time with gestures is sub par when trying to have a meeting with someone. I sure would like to be able to turn it on or off on demand though for all the reasons you mention. There are also hardware issues as well as software, as you said. Anyway, it’s not easy, true, but it’s worth trying and see if we can improve things :)

  6. […] Bossut’s blog he notes that the project has only been in “real” development for a little over three weeks. […]

  7. […] To do so, we started exploring the use of new “3D” cameras, those capturing not only RGB but also depth or distance to the camera for each pixel. This makes the tracking of body features in real time much easier than simple “2D” cameras. In the first weeks of working on it, I was able to hack enough into the slviewer code to plug in a camera and start interacting within SL without the use of the keyboard. Things started working “for real” 2 weeks ago and Mitch got a little excited and spilled the beans at the Metaverse Roadmap meeting in Stanford ….MORE…. […]

  8. Obeneipse says:

    Ten Shock of video!
    You such yet did not see!
    Restriction +18 Shoot

  9. vaginette says:

    Considerably, the article is actually the greatest on this noteworthy topic. I fit in with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your upcoming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the phenomenal clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Gratifying work and much success in your business efforts!

  10. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Goldie Katsu. Goldie Katsu said: RT @oobscure: 3 yrs ago, before he become Merov Linden, @pbossut was working on "A Keyboard free #SecondLife" http://t.co/SxYnoC1 #3D #o … […]

  11. […] mené chez Microsoft, Macromedia et j’en passe. Dans le cadre d’un projet appelé Segalen initié en 2008, Philippe continue de développer des interfaces permettant aux utilisateurs de ce […]

  12. exteftFup says:

    вся правда о кремлёвской диетедиета анри шенолидия для похудениядиетический луковый суп. отзывы о немдиета после праздникаможно ли похудеть если не есть после шести вечераэффективная диета бесплатноправильное и разнообразное питание при повышенном уровне холестеринаиркутск персональный тренер по правильному питаниюдиетические блюда на праздничном столекурс тренеровок по фитнесу для похудениянародная медицина как похудетькто-нибудь похудел от гербалайфчто делать чтобы заметно похудетьультра эффект похудение отзывыконсультация диетолога бесплатнофотографии похудения по кремлёвской диетейога против лишнего весапохудение с медом народный способк чему приводит усиленная диета

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