West Virginia Department of Commerce Get a Second Life

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Get a Second Life

By Andrea Bond

Imagine you had the opportunity to explore exotic places or promote your business worldwide – without having to leave the comfort of home.
What if you could meet classmates or co-workers from around the globe and attend seminars with them in real time, without the costs of travel, video conferencing or long-distance calls? What if you could share three-dimensional versions of your products or locations and let potential customers explore them?

All of this is possible with Second Life, a virtual world developed by the San Francisco-based Linden Lab. The site consists of hundreds of user-created islands representing real and fictitious places. Users interact with each other and the environment via custom-designed 3-D models of themselves called avatars. Users control their avatars to test drive new automobiles, visit popular vacation destinations or participate in science lab experiments.

“It has unlimited possibilities. You’re only limited as much as your creativity,” said Kathy D’Antoni, vice chancellor of the Community & Technical College System of West Virginia.

“We are in a global economy and we’re moving to a world that needs to be closer connected,” she said. “It’s an opportunity on another level to tell people how great West Virginia is.”