Microsoft is apparently exploring ways to make Xbox Live avatars more like their users. To that end, the company has filed for a patent that details "an Avatar generator for a virtual environment [which] reflects a physiological characteristic of the user, injecting a degree of reality into the capabilities or appearance."Virtual Worlds News: Microsoft Rethinking Avatar Creation Tools?
Patent application 20090309891 describes the new approach to avatar generation as follows:
An avatar generator for a virtual environment reflects a physiological characteristic of the user, injecting a degree of reality into the capabilities or appearance. Thereby, many of the incentives of the real world are replicated in a virtual environment. Physiological data that reflect a degree of health of the real person can be linked to rewards of capabilities of a gaming avatar, an amount of time budgeted to play, or a visible indication. Thereby, people are encouraged to exercise. Physiological data that reflect the health and perhaps also mood also improve social interaction in virtual environments. People seeking to meet and become acquainted with particular types of people are not thwarted by the artificiality of avatars. The physiological data can be gleaned from a third party health data collection repository, a healthcare smart card, a real-time physiological sensor (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, peak flow, pedometer, etc.) [via 1UP]
Now I can see 100,000 of Microsoft Gold Partners out their suddenly flooding into Second Life to lean about Avatars.