Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

1. The USA’s National Space Society had their machinima awards ceremony last weekend, in conjunction with the University of Western Australia. There’s some superb machinima featured – you can view them all here.

Also, don’t forget to check out the May winners of the UWA’s 3D Art competition, or go have a look yourself in-world. The scope and quality of the work on the UWA sim never ceases to amaze me – it would now have to be one of the largest virtual world art repositories.

2. Mandy Salomon has a good piece on the troughs and crests of virtual worlds adoption by business and government.

3. Koinup have announced they have an app for the iPhone / iPad under development called Metaverse Wallpapers.

4. Speaking of iPhone / iPad apps: we’ve added some more feeds to our Metaverse Reader app, including the Second Life Grid Status feed. If you use the app and have a feed you’d like to see added – drop us a line.

5. One of those new-fangled web-based virtual worlds, Habbo Hotel, has just turned 10.

Health Beyond 2009 – e-health, Serious Games and Second Life

Posted originally over on Metaverse Health:

As a Registered Nurse with a passion for the use of emerging technologies to improve health, it can sometimes be a little frustrating when things don’t seem to progress as fast as one would like. There’s also the ‘they just don’t get it’ phenomenon amongst some in health leadership and management roles, which can lead to the conclusion that progress is all too slow with new approaches.

A stark contrast to that is occurring this week in Melbourne, Australia, with the HealthBeyond e-health Consumer Day. I was very happy to be invited to attend this event to provide participants with a tour of some key health presences in Second Life in conjunction with what will no doubt be an engaging keynote from Mandy Salomon . It’ll be difficult to choose which health areas in Second Life with so many great options, but I do know the University of Plymouth’s sexual health sim is going to feature.


It’s great to see the Health Informatics Society of Australia taking such a lead, featuring virtual worlds, serious games for health and broader gaming for exercise and stimulation in a get-together of this calibre. I have a feeling there’s going to be some exciting announcements come out of the gathering for the Australian health sector, which I’ll report on in coming weeks.

Realising a virtual worlds industry in Australia

Christian Salles, Olivier Lamirault, Serge Soudoplatoff, Jean Michel Billaut and Franck Bellido are five impressive individuals. All from France, they have played various roles in France’s technology sector (their full bios follow at the end of this post) and they intrinisically understand virtual worlds. One (Franck Bellido) developed his company’s Second Life island presence.


Educational Consultant Lindy McKeown provides a tour for the visiting French group in Second Life

Over the past week these five have been on a mission to see how Australia utilises virtual worlds and it’s been quite a tour. They’ve spoken with key people at VastPark, NICTA, AFTRS, SLCN, ExitReality, Skoolaborate,CLI and Smart Services CRC to name a few.

In the few hours I spent with the team from France, I was struck by their passion for the subject and their obvious respect for the work being done in Australia with virtual worlds. It was also a stark reminder of Australia’s lack of broadband infrastructure when seeing their reaction to our broadband speeds, which makes achievements to date locally even more impressive in a lot of ways.

Sometimes it takes a collaborative occasion like this to really bring home the fact that Australia well and truly has a virtual worlds industry – one that attracts interest worldwide.

A big thanks to Mandy Salomon at Smart Services CRC for the invite to take part.

The bios:

Christian Salles career in applied research spans 35 years working in France, Norway, Taiwan and Frankfurt with the banking conglomerate BNP Paribas. Mr Salles pioneered intranet technologies in 1996, overseeing 200 installations including that of Reuters. More recently, Christian created his own consulting firm, Back End Office and is a professor at Paris’ Dauphine University.

Jean Michel Billaut consults on technology and innovation at the highest level of government and industry. His career with the Euro bank BNP Paribus has included Senior Economist and ‘VP in charge of Communication’. He is currently their advisor on the Internet. Jean Michel has chaired the ‘Centre d’information et d’etudes sur le credit’, a research organisation on credit, savings and financial problems and since its foundation in 1993, chairs ‘Club de l’Arche’, a multi-disciplinary thinktank to exchange information and thoughts on the introduction of new information technologies and the communication in society. In 1983, Mr Billaut launched Atelier, the first financial telematics service in France, and is chief editor of ‘Journal de l’Atelier, a review on technologies and marketing for professional organisations. Jean Michel was amongst the first to implement BBS systems and launched one of the first websites in France, ‘Web de l’Atelier’ (1994). In 1998, he created Canal Atelier, France’s first video streaming channel. As advisor to the provincial city of Pau, Jean Michel oversaw the introduction of innovative internet services underpinned by an optical/wifi network of 100 megabits for 30USD /month. Between 1998 and 2002, Jean Michel chaired the ‘Digital Towns Association’ and is currently lobbying for a ‘new deal’ in Europe: to build a fibre optic infrastructure end-to-end all over Europe. Jean Michel has written widely on the net economy and holds degrees in economic science (PHD) and informatics. He was awarded the distinction ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur’, by President Chirac for the promotion of the Internet in France.

Serge Soudoplatoff is the president and co-founder of Almatropie, an association devoted to the promotion of innovative Internet usage. As such, he continues a distinguished career on the leading edge of high technology. He has recently founded Commonbox, a company devoted to simplify money pooling, and make it more cooperative. He is a co-founder of the multi-national provider of pricing, rating & charging solutions, Highdeal. Prior to that, he was Director of Innovation for France Telecom, driving the telco giant’s work group defining Internet policy and action plans. As such, he launched projects on mobility and the Internet, corporate IP telephony, and the services and new economic models needed in the Internet age. Before joining France Telecom, Serge managed the innovation research centre in Paris for Cap Gemini. He also did research on speech and pattern recognition at IBM research labs in Yorktown Heights, NY, and spent several years as a university professor. He began his career as a geographical engineer for the French national geographical institute, doing image recognition and satellite positioning. Mr. Soudoplatoff is a former secretary-general of the French professional group, CP2i, comprising research organizations with the joint aim of promoting high tech innovation. Serge teaches Internet and strategy at Hetic, the school of the Internet, and at ESCP-EAP. He has an engineering degree (PHD) from France’s equivalent to MIT, Ecole Polytechnique, and is the author of “Avec Internet, où allons-nous ?” Le Pommier, 2004. (‘Where are we going with the Internet’) The book is downloadable. In addition to speaking fluent English and French, Serge is conversant in Russian.

Olivier Lamirault
Oliver has been working on eLearning solutions since 1992. As director of Ingenium, he is devoted to the development of Ingenium and building the Ingenium team. The objective is to maintain Ingenium as a leader in the field of e‐learning. Olivier designs and realizes the pedagogical engineering of Ingenium partners. He manages projects and monitors the production to ensure the quality and the relevance of teaching resources produced. Technology and pedagogy play an important role in its activity. The remaining time is devoted to developing relations with external partners.

Franck Bellido
Franck is the Flash and 3D developer of Ingenium. He is responsible for achieving the development of complex flash animations which required coding in the language action‐script. Franck also develops elements into 3D environments for Ingenium’s video production and illustrations. Franck develops VirtuaLearn, the Company’s learning and collaborative island in Second Life.

Merged realities: events and issues for virtual worlds

Two of our more popular features each week are our weekly mainstream news roundup, The Watch, and our weekly does of machinima, Weekend Whimsy. The former runs Mondays, the latter Fridays.

We’ve decided to add a new feature that will run in the middle of the week, called Merged Realities. It will be a handful of links to virtual world events, real-world events and non-mainstream coverage of virtual worlds issues. If you have an event that you think will be of interest, contact us with details. Either use our contact form or DM us on Twitter. If it’s Second Life related, feel free to IM Lowell Cremorne.

Onto the inaugural edition:

1. Mandy Salomon, Senior Researcher at the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre, is giving a presentation on Second Life to the Women in Information & Communication Breakfast Series – if you’re Canberra based this is worth checking out.

2. Metaplace are having a stress test of their platform. If you’re a beta tester, you should have received an email with the details, otherwise log in to Metaplace to find out more. The stress test starts at 1pm PST on Thursday Feb 5th, which is 8am Friday the 6th of February AEDT.

3. Dancing Ink Productions have released the findings from their Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds project, conducted in partnership with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. I particularly like the graphic novel option for the findings.


4. The Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University is out its Greenland world into open beta:

To test some ideas, we have prepared a browser-based game of kingdoms, trade, diplomacy, and warfare in the stone age. The world is called Greenland and it enters open beta today. We invite those interested in such things to help us by testing the environment and contributing reactions and criticism to the forums.

To enter Greenland, go to and choose the Mercator server (the other two servers are closed for internal testing).You will need a code to register for the server; it is GLOPENACCESS.

5. Check out this superb video of avatars as music-makers (via New World Notes):

Bandbots – Second Life Musical Avatars from Chantal Harvey on Vimeo.

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research – it’s here

Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is now available. It contains an extensive collection of research:

Inductive Metanomics: Economic Experiments in Virtual Worlds
Stephen A Atlas

Toward a Definition of “Virtual Worlds”
Mark W Bell

Cityspace, Cyberspace, and the Spatiology of Information
Michael L. Benedikt

Another Time, Another Space: Virtual Worlds, Myths and Imagination
Maria Beatrice Bittarello

Virtual World and Real World Permeability: Transference of Positive Benefits for Marginalized Gay and Lesbian Populations
Jonathan Cabiria

Meeting in the Ether: A brief history of virtual worlds as a medium for user-created events
Bruce Damer

Help – Somebody Robbed my Second Life Avatar!
James Elliott, Susan Kruck

Avatars Are For Real: Virtual Communities and Public Spheres
Eiko Ikegami, Piet Hut

Towards a Theoretically-Grounded Framework for Evaluating Immersive Business Models and Applications: Analysis of Ventures in Second Life
Kelly Lyons

A Typology of Virtual Worlds: Historical Overview and Future Directions
Paul R. Messinger, Eleni Stroulia, Kelly Lyons

The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat
Chip Morningstar, F. Randall Farmer

From a Video Game in a Virtual World to Collaborative Visual Analytic Tools
Theresa A. O’Connell, Yee-Yin Choong, John Grantham, Michael Moriarty, Wyatt Wong

Virtual communities – exchanging ideas through computer bulletin boards
Howard Rheingold

Defining Virtual Worlds and Virtual Environments
Ralph Schroeder

3D3C Real Virtual Worlds Defined: The Immense Potential of Merging 3D, Community, Creation, and Commerce
Yesha Sivan

Second Life Mixed Reality Broadcasts: A Timeline of Practical Experiments at the NASA CoLab Island
Stephanie Smith

How Open Source Software Will Affect Virtual Worlds
Francis X. Taney, Jr.

In coming weeks we’ll feature stories on some of these pieces of research but if you’ve got a spare half-day, jump in and have a read. Special mention to Amanda Salomon from Smart Internet Technology CRC at the Swinburne University of Technology, who is an Associate Editor on the Journal.

Victorian universities run Second Life event

Discover your Second Life is an event hosted by Monash and Swinburne Universities. It’s being held Saturday 17th November at Monash Uni in Caulfield, Victoria.


Registration is required but free.

The speakers arranged are:

Dr. Suku Sinnappan

Gary Hayes

Dr. Mandy Salomon

Jo Kay

Dr. Melissa DeZwart

Debbie McCormick

Glenda McPherson and Malcolm Jolly

Lindy McKeown

Kim Flintoff

Chris Yeoh from IBM

Smart Internet and business in SL

Smart Internet, a joint venture between a range of universities, State Governments and industry, has released a report called ‘Business in Second Life: An Introduction’. Authored by Swinburne University-based Senior Researcher Mandy Salomon, it provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of play in SL for Australian business.


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