June 26, 2008

My N430


This is the work I exhibited at Maker Faire this Spring. I've been hacking my Archos PMA-430 into wearable computer prototypes for 2 years, and hacking my Nokia N95 for about 9 months. The top image shows a video feed from my Nokia to my Archos, while the image below it shows the unhoused wiring that adds functionality such as USB connectivity and power.

Systems integration is designed for field-reconfigurability and use of ubiquitous technologies such as USB ports and ethernet or phone cables. I can charge both devices from AC, my motorcycle, its solar panel, or even a random computer in any number of libraries, cafes, etc. The two devices link up through a retractable 8-conductor ethernet cable, although I can use a multitude of available cords. The green terminal blocks allow field connections without soldering, since I believe the universal connector is bare wire if no adaptors are nearby.

I have hundreds of images of my work, and lots to write about, so there will be much more ahead. Just a Heads-Up.

Posted by robo at 12:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

Disney Distributing Cyberpunk?

The irony of Disney distributing a major motion picture whose secondary plot involves massive unilateral corporate control, propaganda, and monopolized consumerism is too juicy to ignore! The corporation's name, BNL, stands for Buy N' Large, and the consumers buy and get large.

I was inspired to write about Pixar's Wall-E by the fantastic blog, wiki, and forums at http://www.cyberpunkreview.com. Therefore, this synopsis focuses on the Cyberpunk themes of Wall-E's secondary plot, which is the story of humanity. The primary plot of Wall-E is an animated romantic comedy between robots, who have the ability to learn and have emotions. The secondary plot has computers and robots with a similar suggestion of machine intelligence that is very reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In Wall-E, humanity has moved off a heavily polluted Earth, which travels in a space colony aboard a starship. The ship's captain receives all his information from the corporate-programmed computer, who then relays news to the society while reading a teleprompter. Like the talking heads of his passengers' video chats, these broadcasts are Orwellian in their framing and ubiquity. He is also controlled by information provided by a combination of a computer, recordings from a mashup of a Coprorate CEO/US President, and a HAL 9000-esque computer; replete with the same red, glowing eye. This cyclops is the ship's autopilot, provides spaceship status reports, and acts as First Mate. It mutinies against its human captain similar to HAL 9000 in 2001 and V.I.K.I. in I,Robot.

The BNL corporation that literally provides life support systems and educates humanity's youth. Their only semblance of face-to-face communication is screen-based, like a two-person holographic video chat. This Heads-Up Display mediated communication is used even by physically adjacent people. They don't touch or see beyond their screens. They don't see what is around them. They are seated and sated by convenience and the holograms, which reminds me of THX-1138 and The Matrix. Everyone is overweight because their only physical movements involve consumption; drinking meal shakes or buying into the latest trends, which are also broadcast from a central computer. The computer intervenes in the physical world through robots, and once triggered, secret automation routines are very difficult to override- even by the figurehead human captain, who is a corporate puppet. He discovers a secret recorded message that is also similar to 2001. Like I,Robot, Wall-E posits that rogue intelligent robots are not only prone to revolution against humans, but against themselves as well.

My original thoughts and members' comments are here:

Posted by robo at 07:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack