It has finally happened - the Kinect motion-sensing gadget from Microsoft has been hooked up to control avatars in virtual worlds that use the Second Life viewer:

Thanks to New World Notes for spotting this!

This kind of thing tends to get people very excited, and rightly so - making interaction with 3D virtual environments more intuitive and less clunky is key to bringing the benefits that these environments hold. I'm easily swept up by the giddy shiny too, imagining being able to have all my movements and facial gestures immediately reflected in my avatar, visible to everyone, under my control (turn down transmission of grumpy, accentuate transmission of happy, apply improve-posture algorithm etc). This is maybe a step along the way, but before getting too excited it's worth understanding exactly what is happening here and what the limitations currently are. Read on for detailed analysis...   more »