The Linden Prize goes to … Studio Wikitecture and Virtual Ability

Studio Wikitecture and Virtual Ability are the winners of the 1st Linden Prize!  Both projects will receive $10,000 USD–the largest award in the virtual world industry–in honor of their achievements.  After 230 applications and two rounds of deliberations, the judges decided that these two projects were “like comparing Tuesdays and Oranges”, so they will share the award!

“How do you measure the value of a project? Should making a deep impact on a select group of individuals weigh heavier than making an impact on a large population? Ultimately that wasn’t a question we could answer, so we decided to celebrate and honor both projects,” said M Linden.   “The reach, scope and success of all the entries – exemplified by the winners – demonstrates how individuals and organizations are using Second Life to improve the overall human condition, something Linden Lab has strived for since day one. Heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the winners, finalists, entrants and every Resident and organization that continues to demonstrate how Second Life is fundamentally changing the way people learn, play, communicate and collaborate.”

Studio Wikitecture

Studio Wikitecture explores how a geographically dispersed design team can simultaneously work on the same architecture or urban planning project. This includes sharing ideas, editing the contributions of others and voting on the success or failure of proposed design iterations. To help guide and manage collaboration effectively, Studio Wikitecture built a version tracking Wiki that it calls the “Wiki-Tree.” Unlike conventional wikis that track text documents in a linear history, Wiki-Tree tracks versions of 3D models and saves them within a continually evolving digital tree structure. Studio Wikitecture’s most recent project saw a number of different participants from varying disciplines come together and collaborate on the design of a health clinic in one of the more remote parts of Nepal.

Judges comments: “A brilliant social and technological evolution of the use of virtual worlds.”  “I can see a potential application to creating affordable housing in developing nations.”

Virtual Ability

Offering a series of courses and resources to help people with real-world disabilities get acclimated and start using Second Life, Virtual Ability helps realize the documented medical and psychological benefits offered by virtual environments. The organization has developed a unique orientation process that assesses individual skills, provides customized training and makes recommendations for assistive hardware as needed. Once users are comfortable in the virtual world, Virtual Ability offers a series of daily field trips, including everything from mountain climbs, skydiving, fishing, dancing, and countless other activities that are difficult or impossible in the real world.

Judges comments: “The orientation experience and resources are excellent.”  “It is a powerful, personally transformative experience for people.”

A big thank you goes to the judges and vetting committee, applicants and testimonial writers.  You have made the inaugural Linden Prize a rewarding testament to the creativity, and hard work of the Second Life community.

Congratulations to the winners, Studio Wikitecture and Virtual Ability!

For summaries of all the finalists and special mentions, please go here.

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