Milo, the amazing Kinect project that was shown at E3 2009 and missed the 2010 run, finally appeared again in front of audiences during the TEDGlobal 2010 talks. For those wondering, the TED is an incredible collaboration of “ideas worth spreading” in which many amazing and astounding things, mostly scientific, are shown by the scientists and workers developing them. From lab-generated muscles to talks about the future of safe sex, TED covers just about everything – and now we can include the virtual boy Milo on that list.

Milo, now even more intimate than he was before, was shown off in real life instead of on a pre-recorded video. Using the technology of Kinect, Lionhead have rendered a real-time world in which users use natural movements and conversation to interact with Milo, the child within the scene.

“This talk is going to be a little bit insane,” opened Lionhead Studio’s Peter Molyneux as he stepped out on stage. Instead of demonstrating the technology himself, he invited a random volunteer (named Dimitri) to come up onstage and interact with Milo – and the difference between them showing a video and bringing out a real person can’t be understated: Milo is here.

During the demonstration, Dimitri and Peter taught Milo how to skip rocks and clean his room. Dimitri also asked, at one point, that Milo crush a snail that was crawling on-screen. After hearing the request, there was a moment of hesitation from Milo, but then he went and crushed the snail with his hand. Thanks to Dimitri, Milo is now on the PETA Watchlist.

Milo was still feeling sad about both the snail and the fact that he recently moved into a new house, and on-stage, Dimitri started talking to Milo to cheer him up. After some conversation, Milo indeed managed to turn his frown upside down – the power of words, said by someone who had no previous experience with Milo, had changed everything.

Molyneux concluded his demonstration by stating “I love these revolutions and I love the future that Milo brings.” I can’t agree with this more – Milo isn’t just an impressive production demonstration, it’s a revolution in what players can do within a game. We can use hand gestures, show photographs, understand emotions, and truly interact with a virtual person who is so believably human that I bet if Milo fell into the lake, any player’s reaction would be to immediately jump forward  to save the child. This, my friends, is what Lionhead Studios wanted, and what their TED demonstration was all about: Molyneux wanted people to feel that there was a real child inside their television.

I think by now, he’s succeeded.

Source: TED News

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