I met Laszlo Kovacs, Director of C/Punk/Doc through the amazing forums @ Cyberpunk Review. He invited me to submit media just as they were wrapping production, so we have a 1.5 minute segment on my Wearable and Nomadic Computing work that begins Act 2. Narration is by Hawk from American Gladiators, over the song Teenage Hitman by Encephalon. Thank you Wood, Keypixel, and my other fellow Cyberpunks.
I've been meaning to say hi to everyone I met at the 2nd BIL Conference and thanks for tuning in. It was a great networking weekend for the wearable computing community in LA. We want to put together a non-con AKA un-conference like Mobile Camp. Maybe we'll spin off Steve Mann's term for a wearable computer; WearComp, and call our non-con WearCamp or WearComp Camp. I'll write more later on some excellent BIL talks and interactions about Wearable Computing, Cyborg, and H+ soon. I want to gather some photos, video, and audio together to help share the phun.
Above, Alice Tseng-Planas's textile capacitive sensors and breadboarded Qprox chip with LED indicators
Many thanks to the organizer/presenters Alice Tseng-Planas and Syuzi Pakhchyan, Mark Allen for availing Machine Project, presenters JooYoun Payek and Gilad Lotan, and the assembly! I'd guess we had about 30 people at this first meet-up. Some were in town for SIGGRAPH 2008, some had met or come through advanced degree technology programs like Tisch ITP and Parsons CD&T, some were crafty, and some were just intrigued by the concept of the event. We began a contact list, shared information, and were proud to bolster LA's burgeoning tech-arts social scene with a wearable and materials technology special interest group.
More event images below:
Alice's touch-pad quilt interior
Trying out Gilad's imPulse device, a wireless telepresence device for sensing and visual/haptic display of two participant's pulses
Syuzi presents some materials like conductive thread and textiles, laser cut and sewn circuit traces and sensors, and other projects presented in her new O'Reilly/CRAFT book, Fashioning Technology.
JooYoun gives a sneak-peak at her SIGGRAPH 2008 presentation
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.
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:
I haven't been posting much, but I have been researching, developing, rapid prototyping, and hacking. I'm applying my love of desert camping, travel, wearable technology, and embedded computing to my urban flagship; a duosport motorcycle. Here's a first look:
This photo shows items I transformed into a top case and a tank bag.
While commuting, the top case can hold gear from errands. While touring, it can carry as much gas a my tank holds plus water. I can remove it anytime. This allows off-roading without extra fuel sloshing around in an enlarged tank. It is made from an LP case, and stability tests will determine if it's indeed more versatile than a top case and replacement gas tank; easily at a savings of at least $200.
The tank bag is made from a folding map case, magnets, and wiring. It's appropriate that it holds my phone with GPS, a non-networked highway infrastructure computer, compass and pencil pack, map, and a solar battery charger for my bike and auuxilliary device battery. I'm sure it'll still also hold an actual paper map or two. I can't find many tank bags with top map pockets that will fit my sloped gas tank. So, I made a form-fitting one that mostly multplies the functionality of the feature I wanted most anyway; a large map pocket.
CNN has broadcast a segment on Boing Boing TV, which shows a clip from my segment as it mentions "a demonstration of wearable computers" as a primary example of BBTV content. Online video-on-demand can be viewed here. BBTV uses a still from the segment, shown above, to represent it on their BBTV In The News page and here too. This still is also an except from their segment about my wearable computing work. I am honored and it has got me thinking...
Drew Endy presents on MIT's genetic reverse-engineering, developing a human-readable, high-level programming language, and leading a worldwide academic effort to develop open-source bio-objects. He proposes reprogramming bacterial DNA as one form of nano-engineering. Video documentation, found here, also covers a brief history of genetic decoding in terms of Accelerating Returns, safety protocols, and a speculative future of bio-hacking communities.
link via Hackaday
My man Flynn is doin' it agin!
Although our name was inspired by Snow Crash, in Neuromancer, "The Panther Modern leader, who introduced himself as Lupus Yonderboy, wore a polycarbon suit with a recording feature that allowed him to replay backgrounds at will. Perched on the edge of Case's worktable like some sort of state of the art gargoyle", I also found read about his Mimetic Polycarbon Suit here while searching around for artists' concepts of him.
Technovelgy.com describes the its namesake as: "Creative ideas and inventions of science fiction writers". This definition was enough to make me think about my concept of 'invention'. The first link also provides a link to one of many projects working on wearable chameleon technology.
"When we began Beyond Cyberpunk! (BCP), there was no such thing as the World Wide Web. Hypermedia programs like Apple's HyperCard were the only way to inexpensively deliver hypertext with linked sounds, images, and animation... The result was a 5.5 megabyte "connect-the-dots" cyber-manifesto. In 1993, we followed up the first BCP stack with a one-disk update."
William Gibson's book, Idoru is coming to anime, according to "Now Playing Magazine". I haven't personally read the book, but I would love to see more cyberpunk on the screen again.
“The studio people that were reading the script all loved it,” Steyermark says. “They said, ‘This is a $150 million movie.’ One of them came back and said, ‘How would you feel about doing this as an anime film?’ I thought that is really cool, really creative. It’s exciting, it’s a great way to do it on a smaller budget. At the same time, [it] could set up a live action version of it.”
They said it could have started in development as early as this May. I hope this is true. It's about time more of these great novels made it to the digital screen.
The totally cyberpunk country called Sealand, which housed the ultra cool data haven called HavenCo caught on fire yesterday. The country, which is based on an anti aircraft tower of the Essex coast of Great Brittian has come under attack on several occasions by people who wanted to lay claim to the tiny country.
“There have been a number of explosions on board as the fire has engulfed gas bottles and batteries. Only one person was on Sealand at the time, whom we understand to be a watchman whose job was to maintain the generators and equipment.
“A team of firefighters was flown to the scene but because of the damage to the structure they decided not to go on board.
“A firefighting tug sprayed the whole structure with water in the hope this would eventually cool the fire and starve it of oxygen.”
A spokesperson for Suffolk Fire Service confirmed the fire was left to burn itself out and was under control by 3.10pm.
Michael Bates of Sealand's royal family vows to rebuild. Good for him, Sealand has been around for a long time, and it would be a shame to see it disapear as it's one of the more successful "Start your own country" projects.
I admit it. I'm in love with cyborgs.
In the book, Snow Crash, Neil Stephenson describes this mile wide floating city made up of boats tied together around a giant aircraft carrier. The city would move around the world, and refugees would attach and detach themselves from the mass. This above picture is one artist's concept of the raft.
The concept is a massive raft city comprised of lashed together boats, ships, tankers, junks and whatnot. It isn't fully realized, but i liked the color and the lighting n this one. Enjoy.
I've always loved the concept of a floating city made up of nomads and technomads alike. This illustration is great, but it doesn't quite hit home for me. Someone else had this comment:
The color and lighting ARE great. It really does conjure up Stephenson's wonderful descriptions. My only critcism is that it doesn't feel quite as dirty and claustrophobic as his writing suggests; the scene seems a bit too ideal and saccharin. Good stuff :)
Even as I google this now, I can't find many results for the raft. There is Freedom Ship, an attempt to make a floating city in the form of a giant cruise ship, but nothing as chaotic as Stevenson describes in his novel. I once hosted a site that talked more about this idea at http://mind.blazingfast.net/TheRaft, but it seems that google nor the wayback machine are able to help me reclaim that page.
If you haven't read Snow Crash already, I really recommend it. You can find the descriptions of the raft on pages 118, 370, 387, 404. If you're interested in the concept of the raft, you probably should also check out this wiki page on the topic of floating cities. They even have a mailing list at email@example.com.
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Issue 4 of NYC2123 is online.
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The human body, much like a computer, contains myriad data processors. They include, but are not limited to, the chemical-electrical activity of the brain, heart, and peripheral nervous system, the signals sent from the cortex region of the brain to other parts of our body, the tiny hair cells in the inner ear that process auditory signals, and the light-sensitive retina and cornea of the eye that process visual activity. We are on the threshold of an era in which these data processors of the human body may be manipulated or debilitated.
An entirely new arsenal of weapons, based on devices designed to introduce subliminal messages or to alter the body's psychological and data-processing capabilities, might be used to incapacitate individuals. These weapons aim to control or alter the psyche, or to attack the various sensory and data-processing systems of the human organism. In both cases, the goal is to confuse or destroy the signals that normally keep the body in equilibrium.
Ah, to be a cyberpunk. Here's the cyberpunk manifesto by Christian As. Kirtchev.
1/ We are those, the Different. Technological rats, swimming in the ocean of information.
2/ We are the retiring, little kid at school, sitting at the last desk, in the corner of the class room.
3/ We are the teenager everybody considers strange
4/ We are the student hacking computer systems, exploring the depth of his reach.
5/ We are the grown-up in the park, sitting on a bench, laptop on his knees, programming the last virtual reality.
6/ Ours is the garage, stuffed with electronics. The soldering iron in the corner of the desk and the nearby disassembled radio- they are also ours. Ours is the cellar with computers, buzzing printers and beeping modems.
7/ We are those that see reality in a different way. Our point of view shows more than ordinary people can see. They see only what is outside, but we see what is inside. That's what we are - realists with the glasses of dreamers.
8/ We are those strange people, almost unknown to the neighborhood. People, indulged in their own thoughts, sitting day after day before the computer, ransacking the net for something. We are not often out of home, just from time to time, only to go to the nearby radio shack, or to the usual bar to meet some of the few friends we have, or to meet a client, or to the backstreet druggist... or just for a little walk.
9/ We do not have many friends, only a few with whom we go to parties. Everybody else we know we know on the net. Our real friends are there, on the other side of the line. We know them from our favorite IRC channel, from the News-Groups, from the systems we hang-around:
10/ We are those who don't give a shit about what people think about us, we don't care what we look like or what people talk about us in our absence.
11/ The majority of us likes to live in hiding, being unknown to everybody except those few we must inevitably contact with.
12/ Others love publicity, they love fame. They are all known in the underground world. Their names are often heard there.
But we are all united by one thing - we are Cyberpunks.
Also I found this list of cyberpunk fiction, which is the kind of thing I should get my friend and avid reader, dragoon, to add to.