Second Life® is an online virtual world with many users, or "residents," who take the form of 3D avatars. Residents interact with objects and other residents as they navigate a vast 3D space. Second Life offers a variety of useful capabilities.
IEEE Islands in Second Life is intended to support the needs of IEEE's members, volunteers, and staff, and to help interested people learn about IEEE and participate in its activities. IEEE has hosted IEEE Islands in Second Life for several years now. Over the past several months the island has been rebuilt and its capabilities updated. Below are two sample images taken from IEEE Islands in Second Life.
Second Life, or SL, is not accessed through a web browser; it requires its own viewer. In 2010, SL creator Linden Lab introduced version 2 of its viewer. One difference between Viewer 1 and Viewer 2 is that the latter implements a powerful new feature called "shared media," which is the ability to place a live, interactive web page on any surface in SL. The implications of this are major, and IEEE Islands in Second Life has been rebuilt to exploit this new capability.
Shared media opens up the possibility of creating a walk-through web site, in which the navigable 3D space allows for a more expressive and subtle display of complex, interrelated web content. It also means that when a web page is updated, the content is automatically updated in SL, eliminating a former barrier to using SL as a tool for displaying dynamic content.