Designing Lifestyles For 2020 in Second Life

Thu, Aug 23, 2007


The Philips Design Second Life Team have put out what must be one of the coolest invitations on the planet. They are asking Second Lifer’s to share in designing the future.

The Co-creation Experience is intended to be a journey over time that we hope to take together with the ‘Philips Design Friends Group’. The only qualities you need are to be open, creative and collaborative.


The third discussion on the co-creation experience (for more information on earlier discussions see and my earlier post on Philanthropy By Design) will be held on Friday the 24th, 12.00 PM -2.00 PM PDT, and Tuesday the 28th 11.00 AM – 1.00PM PDT (Second Life time) on Philips Design Co-creation experience on Virtual Holland 3. I will be on a plane to Chicago SLCC on Friday at this time. Hope to see y’all there! But, I can’t wait for Tuesday which will be a repeat of the Friday session.
The topic will be the Philips Design Probe program – an in-house far-future research program that considers what lifestyles might be like in 2020. The Philips Design Probe program

was set up to identify long term systemic shifts and to anticipate changes in future lifestyles, based on new and emerging technology, socio cultural trends and the effect of political, economic and environmental influences.

In one of those Second Life “serendipity” experiences that I mentioned in my previous post, yesterday, I bumped into Dolf Rhino (picture below). Dolf is a Philips Design Senior Director responsible for business development and operational management in the area of Design for Virtual Worlds. And, soon we were joined by three key members of the Philips Design team. Yel Oh, a Philips Design innovation director with a background in interaction and experience design, and Wendy Mahana and innovation consultant.


Yel Oh explained that the Probes work has been split into a number of projects that are theme based. The plan is to hold a series of meetings in Second Life in the coming months to share this work, some of which is not yet public.

The series will start this week by introducing and discussing more generally some of the Probes themes which are: 1) The future of self expression; 2) The future of clothing – Philips have quite some history in wearable tech (the picture at the beginning of this post is from the Design Probe Program -Skin) ; and, 3) The future of packaging. There are a couple of others but Yel Oh said they are not yet public ….. “hope to bring them to SL once they are public in RL (simultaneously),” she added. Each Probe project will then be individually presented and discussed in future meetings.

Embedded sensor/actuator networks merging virtual and real environments can increase the emotional band-width of both.

I asked Yel Oh how they proposed to bring these Probe works into Second Life as part of a co-creation experience. I am particularly interested in how this project, using sensor technologies, might use the special qualities of Second Life not just to facilitate co-creation of real world products, but also to help virtual and real environments merge into each other more deeply.

The immersive 3D experience, and Second Life’s electronically mediated environment that is already rich with meta data, is a very interesting environment to experiment with the possibilities of interaction been real and virtual sensor/actuation networks. Virtual worlds have a big advantage over the real world in terms of working with sensor data as the have built in wireless, RFID, meta data and geolocation, so it makes sense for this to be a place for proto-typing sensor/actuator enhanced communication.

Philips Design’s project of creating expressive wearables in Real Life seems an ideal opportunity to explore new ways to enhance emotional expression in virtual environments and intensify the expressive interaction between real and Second Life.

And, as Yel Oh, pointed out these concepts are about self-expression and emotion very close to the heart of Second Life. I immediately fell in love with the idea of garments In Second Life reflecting emotional expression recorded from biometric sensors in Real Life. And, I asked Yel Oh how these could become a co-creation project in Second Life soon, like now!

To learn more about how Philips Real Life clothing lights up to express the emotions of the wearer go here. And, for more pictures from the Philips Real Life “Skin” project see here. And, for a brief but cool video here.


The Philips Design Co-Creation Experience in Second Life

Dolf Rhino explained: “One of the elements we are looking to understand is how input and feedback on prototypes is valuable in SL and RL. In general we want to look at how the feedback on topics might be relevant when translated to the RL.”

I asked how they planned to start the co-creation process in SL. Yel Oh replied:

well what I would really like to do (but no promises here) is to build some of the most relevant concepts here in SL, especially ones with emotional feedback. This could be triggered by behaviour or communication from within Second Life, although connecting to real life sensors would be even more interesting. Then give them to selected members from our group to try out for a period of time here in-world. After finding out about the initial experiences it would be great to offer full permission creations. And then see how the new owners adapt and change the original concept.

Also I asked whether there were any plans to experiment with the Second Life Client to enhance collaboration and co-creation. Dolf said yes they were doing some experiments with adapting the client. But, it was too early to report about the results. It will be very interesting to hear more on this!

“Sensible Organization: Inspired Social Sensor Technologies”

Using social sensor technologies to merge virtual and real environments, and to enhance the already rich immersive collaborative environment of Second Life and other virtual worlds is, for me, one of the most exciting frontiers at this stage of the virtual adventure. There are some very interesting projects coming out of MIT that show the huge potential of sensor/actuator network technologies integrated with virtual environments.

For example, “Sensible Organization: Inspired Social Sensor Technologies,” is looking at “how we can combine data pertaining to social, physical, or real information with virtual information to improve organizational effectiveness.”

Also, look out for some innovation to be coming from Cisco in this regard! I will be keeping an eye on Christian Renaud’s blog and the new Cisco Virtual Worlds blog as Christian has some very interesting ideas and a lot of experience in this area. The post on Cisco Virtual Worlds today is on, “Making ‘Over the Network” better than ‘Over the desk.”

When you have an ‘over the wire’ or ‘over the network’ interaction, you use fewer senses. Lets summarize the pros and cons for now, and some possible technology opportunities to address the shortcomings….


I ran into Christian Ciscosystems and Coco Linden on the Cisco sim. Christian said he would have dressed for the occasion if he had known someone would be taking pictures. Coco, a relatively new Linden, works on the client. Coco said, “we have lots of new devs all getting up to speed and fixing bugs so things should get noticeably stabler.” Coco has added the anti-spam controls for notecards, textures, and landmarks. Thanks Coco!

And, an important project to watch is EOLUS One. Eolus has some very interesting projects in the pipeline using sensor techonologies to link Second Life and Real Life in ways that enhance both.

MIT’s “Responsive Environments”

MIT’s awesome Responsive Environments Group is producing more ground breaking “Things That Think” than I can begin to enumerate in this post. And, their Dual Reality Lab demonstrates “Virtual and real worlds that reflect, influence, and merge into each other by means of deeply embedded sensor/actuator networks.”


Dual reality” is the concept of maintaining two worlds, one virtual and one real, that reflect, influence, and merge into each other by means of deeply embedded sensor/actuator networks. Both the real and virtual components of a dual reality are complete unto themselves, but are enriched by their mutual interaction. The dual reality Media Lab is an example of such a dual reality, as enabled the Plug sensor/actuator network that links our actual lab space to a virtual lab space in the Second Life online virtual world.

You don’t have to be from MIT to join in the Philips co-creation experience.

“The only qualities you need are to be open, creative and collaborative.” So come and join in the discussion on Friday Aug 24th or Tuesday Aug 28th. And, you can pick up some useful virtual goods for your space in Second Life while you are there.

I have already grabbed, Photoframe, Perfect Draft, Senseo Coffee Maker and Ambilight Slide show for my cube on arcspace. (You need a space on SL where you have rights to build to use these great virtual products.) The slide show and the photoframe will soon be joining the termite mound with the Ugotrade blog link, and the coffee cup (designed by my friend Aleister Kronos – he has a cube next to mine) in my arcspace very soon. But hey, I actually dipped my toes in the the prim building world by assembling the parts. I am looking for some termites now! And, I hear Aleister found some.

I can see why people get hooked on building in Second Life. It is really rewarding to assemble an experience to share with friends in just minutes. Here I am sharing a caffeinated hot tub with Robbie Kiama of Metamart who was introducing to me his new meta Travel HUD (heads up display) that you wear in Second Life. Check it out. It is very easy to put your favorite places and your own sim (with a picture) into the lists so others can find them, rate them, and send your hot spots to the top of this “digg” for Second Life!

You can find out more at Metamart And, if you haven’t yet tried metaHUD yet – you can get a FREE copy here


categories: Augmented Reality, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Second Life, social media, Virtual Worlds, Web 2.0, Web 3D, Web3.D, World 2.0

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Nobody Fugazi Says:

    For all the technical stuff, they seem to have missed listing the event in world. I’ll try to attend the event, but I am finding that many of these endeavors fall flat when it comes to communicating what they are doing… this is the only blog post I found which had the information.

    That isn’t good. ;-)

  2. Aleister Kronos Says:

    A built on the important topic of virtual termites (“vermites”?):
    At the moment you have a choice af termites – one that is photo-based, one that is prim-built – both from your truly. The scripting is a bit ropey… but then I only had c.30 mins to work on it. It’d be good to get them to a point when they will wander around arcspace under their own steam (ooh!! steampunk termites!). Maybe you need the experts at Second Wildlife for this though.


2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Second Life News for August 24, 2007 « The Grid Live Says:

    [...] Life News for August 24, 2007 Designing Lifestyles For 2020 in Second Life The Philips Design Second Life Team have put out what must be one of the coolest invitations on the [...]

  2. UgoTrade » Blog Archive » Philips Design’s Ideation Quest in Second Life Says:

    [...] Philips Design’s Ideation Quest in Second Life (SLURL) explores how to effectively combine the emerging technology of virtual worlds with a customer-centric perspective of open innovation. Co-creation and open innovation are important concepts for Philips Design and part of their vision for design as a catalyst for a better future (see also my earlier post on Philanthropy By Design in Second Life and Designing Lifestyles for 2020 ). [...]