Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge 2012

14 03 2012

The Maya Astronomy Center built in Second Life (HMS Center Region) is a Finalist at FVWC‘s Focus Area: Engaging Learning.

Here is the video tour:

Beverly Gay McCarter notes: “www.HumanMosaicSystems.com — This is a BRIEF video tour of the HMS Maya Astronomy Center_Phases 1 and 2 COMBINED.

The Maya Astronomy Center_Phases 1 & 2 is an interlocking kinetic modular learning system that is a resource intensive build. It explores the Maya understanding of astronomical events and how that information impacted their culture and society. This learning module utilizes a multi-floored resource Library, as well as related independent learning modules that expand on the central subject being taught.

The Center is a free standing learning module that is able to be a stand alone exhibit or be integrated into other related builds expanding its capability. It demonstrates a pedagogical model that can be used with a variety of subject matter. The learning environment uses interactive intelligent agents, a HUD learning management system, music and dance to reinforce learning, interactive 3D models, a narrative structure to help explain the complex dynamics involved with the topic and to set the learner on an engaging Quest, hidden traps and reward systems that impact tokens earned, and multiple quizzes that award prizes.

This self-guided immersive learning environment utilizes Maya cultural mentors who appear and guide the participant as they explore the various interactive 3D exhibits in the Maya temple and on the grounds giving the participant more in depth information through the use of interactive 3D models, chat, note cards, slide presentations, web links, and videos.

The exhibits help the participants understand the complexity of the subject by breaking it down into different related units that build upon one another as the participants explore the information in this interrelated learning module.”


Be sure to watch this video and tell us what you think! Thanks


30 01 2012

2 weeks without news….ouch. Well, this has been such an incredibly busy month. I have been helping setting up some activities on EDTEC Island, host of the SITE Virtual presentations (http://sitecitylimits.wordpress.com, http://site.aace.org/conf). Here is Dr. Lisa Dawley welcoming you to drop by anytime:

ARVEL is co-hosting SITE Virtual and is providing the Livestream solution for all virtual events during SITE: http://arvelsig.ning.com/page/livestream. At 10 AM PT on 03/07, ARVEL will present CLIVE by Dr. Jonathon Richter, an ARVEL Inworld Discussion/SITE special virtual events series (Bookmark this page for other events: http://arvelsig.ning.com/events)

ARVEL is also hosting VWBPE 2012. Expect to see LOTS of really cool exhibitions and traffic on the CAVE Island common grounds. Similarly to SITE Virtual, VWBPE 2012 will be using the dual-sim presentation space (EDTEC and CAVE Islands) to welcome up to 100 simultaneous avatars.

So bookmark your calendars for March: 03/04 to 03/09 SITE; 03/15 to 03/17 VWBPE; and all ARVEL Inworld Discussions are listed in the ARVEL Event Calendar (We’ve had a discussion EVERY week since we came back from the winter break!)

I’ve also been quite busy with the ARVEL SuperNews Winter 2012. The theme of this issue is Engagement and Renewal. We still have a lot of room for picture submissions for the Club Photo page, questions for Dr. Chris Dede for his ‘Dear Abby’-like open letter, blog and twitter suggestions, etc. We already have some great reviews of softwares and apps for augmented reality and video games. I know that a few ARVEL colleagues will be sending more suggestions based on their own trials, errors and usage. What a great community of practice we are building.

Last by not least, Jonathon Richter, Patrick O’Shea and I are busy setting up a really (and I mean, REALLY) cool member experience that we will open for the 2012 AERA Annual Meeting. Called The Scholar Journey, this quest-based experience will include AR, 3D GameLab, and onsite events. BYOMD!!!! (Bring Your Own Mobile Device!!!!!)

Please twitter this post (#educedge). This will help get the word out regarding all the cool events coming up in SL and in real life. Cheers!

KZero Universe Q4 2011

11 01 2012

On Jan 6, 2012, KZero published its Q4 report. Enjoy.

Tell me what you think about this new report. It certainly puts some naysayers back to their closets. “The death of Second Life”? Really with 30 million accounts and growing? The virtual worlds are dying? uh….with numbers like these (VW by age categories: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/quick-stats-vws-size-region/) I highly doubt that. I am not specifically defending SL. I am defending the position that virtual worlds are here to stay and evolve. They won’t probably evolve into what we have now and SL might not be there in 20 years, but what is certain is that the immersive technology is growing and evolving. With 652million accounts in VW for ages 10 to 15, I’d say that the future looks more and more into VW-platform and technology-like for communication (entertainment, education, business).

What do you think? Comment here and the Star badge is yours.

Merging Kinect and inworld objects/avatar

6 01 2012

Repost of “Disembodiment: Interview with Glyph Graves about his Kinect Performance”, Dec 8, 2011 on http://lindenarts.blogspot.com/

Kinect-controlled face in SL

“Artist Glyph Graves has pushed the boundaries between virtual and physical realities once again. He programmed and scripted his own hack for the Kinect to map and move his real life physical body and movements onto virtual objects in Second Life. Glyph’s earlier piece, “Faceted Existence,” (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q5N1X5Cs30) used 2500 spherical primes to indicate his face, which loomed large above avatars in the virtual landscape, and was revolutionary as the first use of Kinect to make art that others could see, as opposed to only controlling an avatar with the alternative controller.

“Disembodiment,” the new performance piece that Glyph debuted at the Linden Endowment for the Arts exhibition, InterACT! on Sunday, December 4, 2011, extends his previous experimentation to represent not only his face, but now a body represented by spheres. Here he discusses how and why:

Lori Landay (L1Aura Loire): Can you tell us how you use the kinect controller to manipulate objects in Second Life?

Glyph Graves: For those that don’t know what a kinect is, it’s a sensor device that can capture depth and shape data using a combination of infrared and visible light. I take the data and stream it into Second Life, then reconstruct the shapes by positioning prims.

For all of us technical geeks, how about some more detailed specs? The rest of you can take a catnap and come back for the answer to the next question!

I first made this in August right after the face piece but never got round to showing it except to a few people….” […Go to http://lindenarts.blogspot.com/2011/12/disembodiment-interview-with-glyph.html to read the rest of the interview]

Here is a cute badge for twitting this post. Thank you! Make sure to add the hashtag #educedge so that I can count how many tweets you’ve posted. There is a special award for that!

Mind controlled-avatar and telepresence

7 12 2011

On November 12, the Jerusalem Post broke the news (and reposted on the Digital Journal) that the team of the Advanced Virtuality Lab (AVL) is working on several brain-computer interfaces. The VERE project (Virtual Embodiment and Robotic Re-embodiment) is funded by the European Union. The team recently reported the successful use of a brain scanner to control a computer application interactively in real time. Friedman, the team leader, commented on the potential applications of the recent achievement: “You could control an avatar just by thinking about it and activating the correct areas in the brain.”

BCI research has already provided some (relatively) mainstream applications, as you remember showed up on June 5 and 6, 2010 at a global aerospace convention in Ontario (ref. https://sabinereljic.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/technology-that-can-help-physically-challenged-humans-communicate/)

The Islreali team is also interested in telepresence and what they call intelligent transformation, regarding avatar behaviors and cultural variables.  The project BEAMING (Being in Augmented Multi-modal Naturally-networked Gatherings) aims to develop new approaches to producing lifelike interactions using “mediated technologies such as surround video conference, virtual and augmented reality, virtual sense of touch (haptics) and spatialized audio and robotics.”

As seen in the Second Life recording,  a BEAMING proxy is a bot that has been programmed to answer questions and also reproduce the characteristic mannerisms and body language of the human it duplicates.

Go ahead and tweet this post. This is great news spanning BCI, semi-intelligent agents, and telepresence.

LEGO WeDo and Scratch

11 10 2011

Want to get your kids interested in robotics? or learn about basic computing? create game narratives? Let’s start with programming.

Scratch is a free software (shared under the Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike license) that provides easy access to programming: “Create and share your own interactive stories, games, video and art”. The Scratch software is free to download and available for Mac, Windows and Linux computers. Educators have adopted the program to expand their students’ understand of geometry and logical reasoning among other disciplines.
A curriculum guide was posted in September 23, 2011. It provides a series of twenty 60-minute sessions, and includes session plans, handouts, projects, and videos: http://scratched.media.mit.edu/resources/scratch-curriculum-guide-draft

The support material provides you with a “Getting Started” to a “Scratch Tour”. However, I particularly like the Video Tutorials. Most of them are short around a minute; the longest staying under 3 minutes. Characters are called sprites. Here is a video on how to change your sprite and your sprite color:

Now imagine that you can make your Scratch project interact with the outside world: Enter LEGO Education WeDo robotics kit. Scratch dedicates a site for all the resources: http://info.scratch.mit.edu/WeDo

Here is a video on how to interact with your sprite by moving your hand: Use the LEGO WeDo distance sensor to interact with characters in a Scratch project. [hey! Kinect! You’ve got some competition coming soon!)

For more inspiration, check out  MIT and  the Science Museum of Minnesota

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Designing Digitally; Inc. wins 2011 Air Force Research Lab Virtual World Contract

20 06 2011

Original post 05/26/2011

“Teaching students how to build airplanes, robots and simulations is serious business, but Designing Digitally, Inc. plans to make it a game — literally.

Designing Digitally, Inc., the web-based training firm that specializes in E-learning, virtual worlds, and 3D simulations, was recently awarded a 2011 Air Force Virtual World contract from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory located in Dayton, Ohio. This means the simulation experts at Designing Digitally, Inc. will dedicate the next year to creating an OpenSim virtual world grid, called Virtual Discovery Lab (ViDL), in which high school and college students can explore these technical topics in a hands-on, educational environment.

“We are extremely honored to have been selected for this contract,” said Andrew Hughes, President of Designing Digitally, Inc. “It is going to be a fantastic and rewarding challenge to create the OpenSim virtual world infrastructure for United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Discovery Lab.”

The contract award not only calls for Designing Digitally, Inc. to help create the Virtual Discovery Lab OpenSim virtual world grid, but also to work hands-on with students interested in the field over the summer at WPAFB Tec^Edge office. Students in the program are able to explore a number of areas of interest in an educational, hands-on setting that is challenging and fun….”

Read all of it here: http://www.designingdigitally.com/blog/2011/05/designing-digitally-inc-wins-2011-air-force-research-lab-virtual-world-contract