Thursday, July 12, 2007

Interface - The Future 1 Island

One question that always seems to arise with any interactive work is the form of its interface. Anytime we develop an environment that can analyze and respond to human/avatar behavior, there is an interface that allows the system to 'sense' or read this behavior. In some cases, the interface is distributed throughout the interactive environment, and in some cases, it is centralized into a single device.

I found this unit at 'The Future 1' island in Second Life. it seems to track and locate avatars when they are located within the islands boundaries. The avatar is displayed as a dot in a scaled down model display of the island. While this device does not display any kinetic interactivity per se, its ability

Out of the 4 categories (passive, active, reactive, interactive) I'm classifying this project as an Active work because it simply monitors and displays the location of its inhabitants as opposed to actively engaging the user (a reactive project). Say, for example, the user was able to manipulate parts of the island by directly manipulating the scaled-down model in front of them. They might be able to locate avatars in the model and shift landscapes to create an experience for other users on the island. They might be able to touch the dot representation of the avatar which would automatically set up an IM channel and allow the two to communicate. While not necessarily built for this purpose, I'm presenting these examples to suggest how this system might adopt and interactive element to its use.

It is interesting to note that the tracking device is a representation within a representation. While this holds significance for its parasitic virtual relationship to its host (the island) I prefer to consider its signifigance as an interface. By creating a scaled down 'Active' model of the island, the avatar is able to engage the island in a different manner. More to come on this...

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