Monday, October 8, 2007

DigitalSpace Builds Virtual Worlds

The Washington Post has a pretty in depth article this weekend in regards to virtual worlds and the people who inhabit them. In particular it discusses people with disabilities escaping through avatars which provide them with the freedoms they don’t have in real life. It also discusses how those who are feeling they may have lost a little something can retain their youth online. Hmmm, maybe a study on whether we are trading in our red corvette convertibles as mid life crisis symbols for an overly bejeweled “Sword of Anthar”. But I digress.

It is a good read with the prerequisite “experts intrigued but wary” warning label.

Second Life was mentioned many times over in the examples they gave, but one of the online world resources mentioned that I have not been familiar with was the straightforwardly named, DigitalSpace, which creates Digital Spaces.

DigitalSpace is “is an international corporation with a leading practice in virtual worlds for industrial design engineering, education and public outreach.” Their sample projects extolling their expertise in creating worlds is abundant with lunar rovers and other space exploration type projects. There is the “Surveyor Mission” virtualization and the “Moonyard Lunar Obstacle Course” and the “VASTSim ISS Crew Emergency Medical Training Simulator”.



The company was also approached by a health insurance company to develop a facility on the Internet using Active Worlds. Digital Space writes that “The company felt that the development of a Virtual Worlds facility should be in the form of a Virtual Headquarters. Rather than seeing this just as a marketing tool, The company wanted the facility to allow visitors to experience the next best thing to visiting the physical offices the company.”


Which is cool. But, what I thought was the coolest application was with Buddy and the street crossing game built for children with autism. The safety training is provided in a virtual environment which teaches kids to learn how to navigate sidewalks and street crossings through the use of a game tuned to their specific needs.

1 comment:

noisms said...

That reminds me of a game we used to play when I was about eight or nine, and computers were just starting to be introduced into the classroom. The school's computer was a big old Acorn thing, with those huge floppy disks people used to use.

The game was based on Frogger, but you took on the role of a little boy trying to cross three busy streets. You could try to dodge the traffic, you could ask a policeman for help, you could go to the designated crossing point and use the lollipop man - and sometimes you had to help old ladies to cross, too.

We spent hours on that thing.