Those of you who have always wanted to move around Second Life while actually moving around may be in luck. Linden Lab Chair Mitchell Kapor has teamed up with 3DV Systems to show the Zcam, an inexpensive video camera that can judge when you're leaning forward and backwards. No news yet on whether it can also sense when you're thrusting — sorry, Second Life sex fans.
The camera works by translating hand and body motions into an avatar's movements in Second Life. Tip a bit forward and the avatar will walk, tip faster and the avatar will run, tip too fast and you'll fall down (presumably). The included demo also shows the camera translating various movements into jumping, flying and landing "gracefully."
Low-priced 3D cameras, such as the Zcam, will not only make playing Second Life more immersive than other peripherals out there , it'll also completely rethink human-computer interactions, Kapor said.
Well, we'll see about that. All I know is, if years from now I'm suddenly standing in a Los Angeles parking lot half naked and swinging away at things with my katana thanks to a particularly crazy bar fight in a virtual reality world - I'll know who to blame. [New York Times]