“Man Dies from Heart Attack in Second Life”

If it has not already happened, one could expect this sort of headline at some point in the future, especially as the always thin and sometimes too abstract “dividing line” between so-called Real Life and Virtual Reality continues to melt.

People in Second Life will soon be able, if they choose, to avoid fumbling around on keyboards to control the movement of their online personae, their avatars. In this article on CBC News, titled, “Body and mind control of Second Life avatars researched“, we read the following:

Now, technology from Japan could help make navigating online virtual worlds simpler by letting players use their own bodies – or even brain waves – to control their avatars. Take the new position-tracking system developed by Tokyo University, which uses a mat printed with colourful codes and an ordinary web camera to calculate the player’s position in three dimensions. The user turns left, and the avatar turns left. The user crouches down, and the avatar follows. “This technology lets you take the actions you’d use in real life and transpose them to the virtual world,” said research leader Michitaka Hirose. “It could make manoeuvring much, much easier.”

The next step should be to produce Web-enabled treadmills, so then avatars (and “real people”) will be able to get a great workout by jogging through Second Life. At that point, jogging in Second Life and jogging in Real Life, will suddenly appear to be a meaningless distinction.