Mass Effect 3 copies tied to weather balloons and sent aloft

Posted by on February 17th, 2012

EA is using one of the coolest marketing gimmicks I have ever seen to promote Mass Effect 3. The company has taken copies of the game, attached them to weather balloons, and then sent the weather balloons way up into the Earth’s atmosphere. The balloons will be launched in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Berlin, London, and Paris.

If you’re in those cities and can find the balloons once they come back to earth, you get keep the copy of the game. How bad would it suck if you found the balloons only to discover it was the wrong format for your console? Each of the games has a GPS tracking device and the fans can track where they land using the Mass Effect website and then go find a copy.

Via SlashGear

Georgia city considering virtual world, achievements

Posted by on December 21st, 2008

    - photo via

The city of Decatur, Georgia is considering creating a virtual version of their town to “encourage community networking, improve civic engagement, and promote economic development,” and in virtual Decatur, citizens could chat, interact with local government, and even unlock achievements.

The idea of moving applicable city services online in an MMO-style virtual world is fantastic, and since Decatur’s “achievements” (Game|Life’s word) translate to coupons and discounts at local businesses as rewards for interaction, this might be worth spreading to other cities.

Stanford presents: everything you need to know about the Emotiv EPOCH

Posted by on October 30th, 2008

Stanford University presents this hour long video featuring everything you need to know about the coming Emotiv mind-reading device. The first twenty minutes is mostly background, so skip forward if you get bored, but don’t switch off because it gets seriously cool. Can.not.wait for this!

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via MAKE


Laugh and your avatar will soon laugh with you

Posted by on July 12th, 2008

From New Scientist Tech:

Software that can automatically recognise “non-linguistic” sounds, such as laughter, and generate an appropriate facial animation sequence, could improve the quality of web-based avatars or computer-animated movies.

Animated characters are already “learning” to lip sync when played human speech. But this is only part of the picture – we laugh, cry, yawn and sneeze our way through life, and realistic computer animations must be able to mimic the facial expressions that accompany these sounds too.

Darren Cosker at the University of Bath, UK, and Cathy Holt at the University of Cardiff, UK, have developed software to automatically recognise some of these vocalisations and generate appropriate animation sequences.

See how:

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Eye-tracking interface means gamers’ looks can kill

Posted by on May 5th, 2008

Technology is being developed to allow people with severe motor disabilities to play 3D computer games like World of Warcraft using only their eyes.

Users typically guide a cursor with their eyes, staring at objects for a time to emulate a mouse click. But that is too laborious to let users to match the speed and accuracy of real-time 3D games, says lead researcher on the project, Stephen Vickers, of De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

Eye-gaze systems bounce infrared light from LEDs at the bottom of a computer monitor and track a person’s eye movements using stereo infrared cameras. This setup can calculate where on a screen the user is looking with an accuracy of about 5 mm.

Vickers’ software includes the traditional point and click interface, but includes extra functions to speed up certain commands.

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Link via

Perfecting my warrior robot race

Posted by on April 28th, 2008

Jonathan Coulton is a singer/songwriter who releases his songs via the Creative Commons license – which as well as being very cool, allows great things like this World of Warcraft video to get made:

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I’ll probably be some kind of scientist

Building inventions in my spacelab in space…

Thanks for the heads up Jon Mason!

Slashdong perfects the human/computer interface

Posted by on April 12th, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, you can – oh, sorry, I’ll start again.  Gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce you can now literally have sex with your computer.  Those noble innovators at Slashdong have taken the humble fleshlight device, and published detailed instructions on extactly how to control your favourite PC game with your penis.

The article gives instructions on hooking it up to some 3d sex game, but of course now that it’s loose on teh interwub, someone will get it operational for SecondLife.  And then World of Warcraft – imagine grinding your way through a few instances purely through pelvis power!

Altogether this is going to cost you about $100.  Oh, and your soul.

via Gizmodo

SecondLife used as a platform for augmented reality

Posted by on February 27th, 2008

Uber science-fiction author Charles Stross is experiencing something similar to our Warren; watching the future he painted in Halting State come to life around him.

In today’s post he documents the latest developments, including this gem – how researchers are using SecondLife as a platform to develop an augmented reality:

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As Stross says:

Put ‘em together with a 4G mobile phone and head-mounted display and you’ve basically got prototypes of the by-then-ubiquitous tech I was talking about

These researchers are making some crucial findings, including examining Presence in such a blending of realities.

I’m damn impressed at how much they’re able to accomplish using tools they’re developing from scratch inside SecondLife.

I’m sure we’re all excited to see how this technology, or rather intersection of technologies, progresses.

Aram Bartholl’s Open City project: WoW Coffee mission

Posted by on February 11th, 2008

Distepheno writes in with this clip from Graffiti Research Lab:

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He says:

Makes an interesting point, if during our virtual lives we are know to all, how would we respond to losing that anonanimity in a real life situation. Would losing that cause us to lose identity or would it encourage us to form the tight networks and community’s within MMORPG’s such as WoW. I myself am a member of a guild and stay in contact with the people i am online with whether i am playing the game or not. Would this sense of community be experienced the same if it was present every day or not.

I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s come out of an epic gaming session, only to wander around RL looking for status bars and IDs above objects and people. As functional HUDs become available, and we begin to augment our reality, these things will soon be there. It’s the everting Gibson writes about in Spook Country. Projects such as this by Aram Bartholl helps us to ask these questions ahead of time; maybe, just maybe allowing us to get it all right the first time? (Well, at least for us that are paying attention).

SecondSkin – a documentary on MMORPG players

Posted by on February 6th, 2008

Check out this trailer for SecondSkin, what looks to be an interesting examination of those who play in online worlds:

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via BoingBoing.