Virtual or Actual: What’s Your Reality?

“Uncanny valley theory” refers to a gap in emotional response to humanoid robots and CGI characters. There’s a point where people feel creeped out by near-realistic human fakes when they take on an almost real but not-quite-right look. Think corpses, or zombies.That valley may have been crossed by computer graphics company Image Metrics. They’ve recently released a mind blowing video sample that demonstrates their new facial animation technology. In a nutshell, they record movements of a human actor, and can replicate and control facial micro-movements down to the pixel.
This Kidnapping Is For Real
A North Carolina woman is facing attempted kidnapping charges for driving to Delaware and trying to take her former Second Life companion at gunpoint. Kimberly Jernigan met her internet significant other in person a few months ago, after which the “victim” in this situation ended their relationship. Apparently, this sent poor Jernigan into a downward spiral, and after her first kidnapping at gunpoint attempt was laughed at, she posed as a US Postal worker to get his new address, broke into his home, bound and gagged his dog in the bathroom, and greeted him at the front door with a laser-sighted BB gun. After seeing the red dot appear on his chest when he walked inside, the victim immediately fled and called the police. His dog was unharmed, and the cops picked up Jernigan on the freeway sometime later. She is currently facing charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary, and aggravated menacing.

London gets a Second Life

Someone with a bit of time on their hands (Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith, from UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spacial Analysis, no less) has uploaded data from the urban landscape of London into Second Life. You can see it taking on 3D form in a Matrix-worthy way here:

Says the Doctor: “[W]e have managed to import our Virtual London model of 3 million plus buildings into a scrolling map. The map is built from prims that ‘rez’ [out] of a central point to build accurate models based on Ordnance Survey MasterMap with height data supplied by InfoTerra.

Fascinating!

Its actually great to see Second Life being used in a relevant way …

UPDATE: As an interesting follow-up, the Ordnance Survey requested that Dr Hudson-Smith’s crew remove this project from Second Life. The rotters!