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JULY 21, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 28 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

Get Animated
Why play Mario when you can be yourself?

Plus: The Babes Have It

In Hindu scripture, an avatar is the incarnation of a god. New technology can't make a deity of you yet, but you can now have your own computer avatar. Thanks to British firms BT and AvatarMe, anyone can get a virtual Mini-Me to represent them in cyberspace. BT's Matthew Lawson explains how:

I'm not much good a sitting still. Will making an avatar take long?

No. You stand in a booth and we take digital images in four positions. In two-and-a-half minutes your avatar is ready. You download it from the Web when you get home.

And do what with it?
There are many commercial applications, such as virtual conferencing and clothes shopping [where your avatar could try on clothes in an online store]. But the most immediate impact is in videogames. So far we support Quake, HalfLife and The Sims.

Quake is a great multiplayer game. Can I scan in co-workers and shoot them?
Yes, hmm. We don't like to promote the violent aspects. We use it as a team-building exercise, like doing paintball war games.

I've been paintballing. At the end the boss runs the gauntlet and everyone unloads their leftover ammo into him.
We could still do that.

Okay, where can I get avatared?
The only three booths in the world at the moment are in London's Millennium Dome. But we're working on a mobile version that we can take all over the world.

Great, can you put my head on Lara Croft's body?
That would be a little bit distressing.

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Vol. 2 No. 4

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