Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is an aquatic virtual avatar.

Carnival Corp. is populating its ships with virtual avatars that follow passengers throughout a cruise, said John Gaudiosi at Wired. The avatars, or "Tagalongs" — each takes the form of a sea turtle, seahorse, or angelfish, which passengers can then customize to their liking — appear on screens that passengers pass by, and even on their cellphones. They are activated by a "Medallion," a poker chip–size token worn as a necklace or bracelet.

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The chips were introduced last year with 7,000 sensors wired into the 19 decks of Carnival's Caribbean Princess. Now the entire Princess fleet of 17 ships has been retrofitted to accommodate them. Carnival hopes that eventually the "very design of future cruise ships could evolve based on both the feedback" from the ubiquitous sensors and passengers' interactions with the Tagalongs.