Virtuality reality at a desktop computer has always seemed so — how should I say it? — unreal.
Now a new generation of inexpensive video cameras that sense 3D information is taking a tiny step toward the Star Trek Holodeck.
Take a peek at the video that Mitchell Kapor and Philippe Bossut posted Friday demonstrating software that allows navigation in virtual world environment without a mouse or a keyboard.
Mr. Kapor was the original investor in Second Life and he took up the idea of a prototype navigation system after he and Mr. Bossut began thinking about the implications of cameras such as the prototype from 3DV Systems, an Israeli company that has begun showing the ZCam, a low cost, real-time depth sensing video camera.
The camera can translate human hand motion or body motion into the movements of a virtual character inside Second Life. The demonstration works by placing the camera near the computer screen and pointing it at the human navigator. It is possible to move forward by leaning forward and move backwards by leaning back. It is also possible to jump and even fly around in cyberspace with the correct hand gestures.