A hands-free interface for Second Life

Standing in front of a large-screen television, leaning, turning, and twisting as the on-screen character mimics his actions, Philippe Bossut could be playing the latest Wii game. But he is not wielding a Wiimote or any other controller, and Bossut's avatar is flying not through Super Mario Galaxy, but Second Life. Through the use of a special 3D webcam and some custom software written by Bossut, Segway-inspired movement in the real world can control things in the virtual world. Running, turning, flying, even creating objects are done with nary a keyboard or a mouse in sight.

Back in the 80s, virtual reality was cumbersome and uncomfortable, requiring a head-mounted display and a special glove to move around the world. Twenty years later, the display is gone and the gloves are off. We've had Second Life to be the world of imagination; now we're developing the means to put ourselves into it. HandsFree3D currently can do little more than move your avatar around -- but imagine if this was combined with puppeteering -- the ability for your avatar to mimic your real-life facial expressions and body language? And perhaps add in the Emotiv headset that reads moods and emotions straight from your brain? This truly revolutionizes interactions with the virtual world and those who dwell within it. In a few years, the idea of sitting at a keyboard to play a game may well seem quaint and old-fashioned.

Check out the video of HandsFree3D in action after the break.