Monday, July 30, 2007

Using your Wiimote in Second Life

MIT research fellow David Stone is developing some interesting manipulative learning environments for Second Life using the Wiimote as the interface: Second Life Wiimote Training:

Take the innumerable possibilities present in the world of Second Life and combine them with the motion-sensing capabilities of the Nintendo Wiimote, and what do you get? If you're MIT research fellow David E. Stone, you get a highly customizable training simulator. Calling the controller "one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in the history of computer science," Stone is using the Wiimote in conjunction with Second Life to create training simulators for companies such as Orkin Pest Control. Companies that classically have trouble finding training methods the truly engage the user. Within the world of Second Life the company could potentially run employees through checking a house for moisture or mixing chemicals.

That is pretty cool, but "one of the most significant technology breakthroughs in the history of computer science"? That's a tad over-the-top.

I spent months earlier this year trying to score a Wiimote, was finally successful, and did do some playing with it in Second Life. I got it to work in nothing flat, but found that I was having to take my hands from the Wiimote back to the keyboard to issue commands a tad too often. Perhaps if i was immersed in a specific learning environment, optimized for the Wiimote, that wouldn't be necessary. Most of my keyboard interaction had to do with navigation and communication, and I found it just a tad too cumbersome.

I might have to dust-off the Wiimote and try it again. I see they are up to version 0.5 of the DarwinRemote application. I was using version 0.1a. I'm going to write Brown to see if I can visit some of his locations. I do remember it being kind of fun, and the potential for learning that involves the manipulation of objects is large. You can't do this sort of stuff in an LMS.

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