At Lotusphere I had the opportunity to chat with a number of the researchers about the work they have going on in the area. Here are a few of the projects cooking and worth thinking about: • Wormhole bridges the virtual and Web worlds. Woody Huang showed how you can take information in one world and then render it the other. So a list of my personal contacts, for example, may be rendered as avatars standing around me in a circle. It’s sort of like a screen-scraper for the virtual world, but one that’s constantly updated as necessary. • Bluegrass is a SecondLife for business. This is tough one to describe here and I hope to post some links to the technology shortly, but basically Bluegrass provides a sort cartoon-ish world that employees can use to explore and collaborate. Individuals move through a lush, landscape and interact with other avatars. Avatars give off “bubble” of information that provide an excuse for incidental interactions, says researcher Li-Te Cheng. • Team building games can be fun and form an important connection between coworkers. Normally, that’s done at costly off-site meetings. Jason Ellis and crew are hoping to enable employees to do that online by providing different team building exercises for teams in SecondLife. I think what all of these projects have in common beside the raw technology is that the work environment should be made to be a bit more fun. Games, online interactions, and the like are parts of “playing” with one another that leads to more effective teams. I think it’s an interesting idea. What do you think?