Virtual Worlds
Hmmmm. A unique concept in sharing out top internet stories

News Articles

Colleges turn to online games for experiments too difficult... (sgm)

UNO students learn about communication by using 'Second Life' (sgm)

IBM Software Announcement on Virtual Worlds (sgm)

Non-Profits Move into Second Life in a Big Way (sgm)

Virtual Information Technology project news from Seventh Sun (sgm)

Tech Museum Announces Real World Prizes for Virtual Art, Film, and Music exhibits

Web Playgrounds of the Very Young--NY Times article about the rush to create MUVEs for children

Tech titans seek virtual world interoperability

On The Bright Side: Students to produce concert on virtual stage By Mark Boshnack, NY Daily News

from New Scientist (thanks, Gia):
Emotional avatars
Virtual environments like Second Life work best when a user accepts them as real. But suspension of disbelief can be a fragile thing, and in practice, users are constantly being reminded of the shortcomings of such environments. One of the biggest failings is the inability of avatars to communicate the emotional state of their users.
Various attempts have been made to do this – for example, by fitting users with sensors that measure parameters such as heart rate and skin conduction. However, this is a complex and time-consuming process. So Penny-Anne De Byl and Christopher Mills at the //University of Queensland// in Australia have come up with an alternative: analysing the user's conversation.
Analysis of the choice of words and "emoticons" used in a conversation can be used to make an avatar appear, for example, happy or sad. Specific words are associated with different emotions beforehand. The researchers say the same thing can be done with speech by monitoring the pitch and other features of the speaker's voice. The result is an avatar that more accurately conveys the user's emotional state and so makes virtual interaction more realistic.
Read the //full emotional avatar// patent application.