February 22, 2009


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.

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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.

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May 27, 2008

Understanding Aging conference and free symposium

On the BarCamp LA list, Chuck Esterbrook wrote:

> Hi all,
> You are cordially invited to participate in the scientific conference
> "Understanding Aging: Biomedical and Bioengineering Approaches," which
> will be held from June 27-29, 2008 at UCLA. The conference includes a
> free symposium for the general public on June 27th focused on public
> policy implications of successfully postponing aging. The scientific
> conference, on June 28th and 29th, will be focused on the science and
> technology of aging and its postponement.
> Over 20 illustrious speakers are already confirmed. The provisional
> schedule for the conference and online registration are online.
> Full details at:
> http://www.mfoundation.org/UABBA/
> -Chuck

Thanks Chuck! He has promoted similar forums, such as the Life Extension Workshop here in Los Angeles.

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April 07, 2008

Wearaware and IGargoyle Do Maker Faire

See me at Maker Faire!
Come meet Nym and I and bring your wearables! We're here to profile and promote the community's work on this site, so let's meet, get some media, and get it up here. Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I'll be exhibiting my latest in the Wearaware collection.

More roving telepresence hacks from the brothers!

More Soon!

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March 18, 2008

Introducing: My Technomadism Hacks

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.

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January 06, 2008

iLimb Arm Unnaturally Powerful

iLimb Hand.jpg
Accompanying Touch Bionics' prosthetic finger and hand (shown above), comes the iLimb Arm. It's interesting to read how its superhuman capabilities may be intentionally scaled back before they will become available. Hacking the limb to its designed capabilities may become more akin to unlocking than overclocking.

link via Engadget

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Programming DNA

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

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November 17, 2007

Life Extension Workshop datablast

In this quick digest about my attendance of the Life Extension Workshop yesterday, I will drop a lot of names and links on you while I attempt to digest the profound content of the day. Thanks to everyone whom I met for being so cool and sharing your passion for your interests; even when you could not talk about certain things for various reasons.

The presenters and panelists included Doctors Stephen Coles, Aubrey de Grey, and Michael Rose, followed by David Kekich and Peter Voss. I will be helping Dr. Coles post video online; I'll post when and where that will be available.

Gerontology Research Group
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS)
M Prize
Methuselah Foundation
Benford & Rose
Gregory Benford
Persona Foundation

There were various plugs for books, which will reach you through links, slides, and video of the workshop. I want to mention a book that was not part of the day's official proceedings, which I learned of when I met Gregory Benford. He and Elisabeth Malarte have authored Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs, and I'm excited to check it out.

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November 12, 2007

Life Extension Workshop- new schedule

Now beginning at 2PM:

2:00-2:30 Steve Coles
2:30-3:30 Aubrey de Grey
4:00-4:30 Michael Rose
4:30-5:30 Coles, de Grey, Rose (moderator: David Kekich)

location unchanged
seats are still available
[internal link]

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November 07, 2007

Life Extension Workshop in LA 11/16


"Aubrey de Grey will be giving a Life Extension Workshop on Friday Nov
16th from 3pm to 5:30pm. Specifically, he will be giving an update on
SENS and the MPrize (more on that below).

Aubrey is a computer scientist, biomedical gerontologist, editor of
Rejuvenation Research and author the book "Ending Aging'..."

[via Chuck Esterbrook on the BarCampLA mailing list]

Yes, you read that correctly: "Ending Aging"

Amazon lists it as #1 in some categories, including Physiology.

Embassy Suites LA - Int. Airport/South
1440 E. Imperial Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245

*** To reserve a seat, forward this message to bruce@novamente.net
with your name and the names of any guests.

Adapted from the book description and Wikipedia pages:


A long life in a healthy, vigorous, youthful body has always been one
of humanity's greatest dreams. Recent progress in genetic
manipulations and calorie-restricted diets in laboratory animals hold
forth the promise that someday science will enable us to exert total
control over our own biological aging.

Nearly all scientists who study the biology of aging agree that we
will someday be able to substantially slow down the aging process,
extending our productive, youthful lives. Dr. Aubrey de Grey is
perhaps the most bullish of all such researchers. As has been reported
in media outlets ranging from 60 Minutes to The New York Times, Dr. de
Grey believes that the key biomedical technology required to eliminate
aging-derived debilitation and death entirely—technology that would
not only slow but periodically reverse age-related physiological
decay, leaving us biologically young into an indefinite future—is now
within reach.

Aubrey has created a detailed plan called Strategies for Engineered
Negligible Senescence (SENS) which is aimed at preventing age-related
physical and cognitive decline. He is also the co-founder (with David
Gobel) and chief scientist of the Methuselah Foundation, a ...
nonprofit organization. A major activity of the Methuselah Foundation
is the Methuselah Mouse Prize, a prize designed to accelerate research
into effective life extension interventions by awarding monetary
prizes to researchers who extend the lifespan of mice to unprecedented

Regarding this, de Grey stated in March 2005 "if we are to bring about
real regenerative therapies that will benefit not just future
generations, but those of us who are alive today, we must encourage
scientists to work on the problem of aging". The prize reached US$4.2
million in February 2007. de Grey believes that once dramatic life
extension of already middle-aged mice has been achieved, a large
amount of funding will be diverted to this kind of research, which
would accelerate progress in doing the same for humans.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, pledged $3.5 Million to the
Methuselah Foundation for SENS research. Justin Bonomo, professional
poker player, has pledged 5% of his tournament winnings for SENS

There is more at:

Again, it's on Friday Nov 16th from 3pm to 5:30pm.

*** To reserve a seat, forward this message to bruce@novamente.net
with your name and the names of any guests.

Hope to see some of you there,

BarcampLA Wiki: http://barcamp.org/BarCampLosAngeles
BarcampLA Blog: http://www.barcampla.org/
BarcampLA Group: http://groups.google.com/group/BarcampLA?hl=en

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November 06, 2006

Will Our Grandchildren Be Robotic?

133225227_19ef92ef7a_m.jpgTonight, from 9:30 to 10:30pm GMT, Adam Montandon from the HMC MediaLab will be joined by Dr Fiona Coyle, Philosopher Dylan Evans and Nick Bostrom, leading spokesman for "transhumanism" on BBC Radio 3. The debate is called "Will Our Grandchildren Be Robotic?", and seems to reveal a bit about the future technologies our future kin may sport. I can't imagine tattoos and piercings will be all that shocking in the future, so what will our children and our children's children do to get attention with their peers?

The broadcast is part of the BBC's Freethinking festival, and for those of us who aren't in the United Kingdom, the show will be up for the next seven days.

I'm looking forward to it!

[ Photo from Dysamoria. Tip off by Adam. Thanks Adam! ]

Posted by nym at 09:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

Bush Administration Fears Transhumanists

Illu_YouOnlyBetter2.jpgThe Transhumanist right to be better than human (>H) is already under attack from those fearful of such potential. The Bush Administration's bioethics council has come out against people who want to upgrade themselves. It's one thing to become a cyborg if you've lost or were born without some core functionality, but to want to improve upon who we are as humans, is somehow unethical.

Transhumanism is being taken seriously by an increasing number of scholars. The fact that Stanford’s respected legal bioethics program hosted the 150 or so attendees from Europe, Asia, New Zealand and North America to discuss issues raised by human enhancement is testimony to how far transhumanism has come in from the fringe.

Even the government has taken a position — against — in the second report out of President Bush’s bioethics council. Titled “Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness,” the 2003 report suggested the need for regulations to prevent the use of biotech to give people powers they did not have naturally.

It's a shame that they wish to regulate what people do to themselves, but that's in line with much of the conservative agenda, like gay marrage, right to die, etc. My only hope is that like most tech law, it will lag beyond the technology itself, so all the laws will be regulating, is the past.

[ Link via Transhumanist Tribe. Image from MSNBC. ]

Posted by nym at 09:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 05, 2006

Do You Believe In a Singularity?

<nym> do you believe in a singularity?

<anselm> no not really
<anselm> i think it looks like a singularity from the outside but from the inside it is just business as usual

So what do you think?

Posted by nym at 11:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

Do Cyborgs Deserve Human Rights?

ordaos writes:

look what I found on the coffee table in the middle of my engineering building.


Only two days away. Should be an interesting event if you're in Santa Cruz.

Posted by nym at 09:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights con, May 26-28

Author of Citizen Cyborg, James Hughes, is holding a conference on human rights in a post human age. The conference, called Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights on May 26th through the 28th. Hughes believes institutions should help support human enchancement technologies in order to help make people's lives better rather than just extending the gap between social classes. I can definately imagine a day that the poor are judged more on their lack of transhuman prosthetics than the clothes on their backs.
What, if any, limits should be considered to human enhancement? On what grounds can citizens be prevented from modifying their own genes or brains? How far should reproductive rights be extended? Might enhancement reduce the diversity of humanity in the name of optimal health? Or, conversely, might enhancements inspire such an unprecedented diversity of human beings that they strain the limits of liberal tolerance and social solidarity? Can we exercise full freedom of thought if we can't exercise control over our own brains using safe, available technologies? Can we ensure that enhancement technologies are safe and equitably distributed? When are regulatory efforts simply covert, illiberal value judgments?

Between the ideological extremes of absolute prohibition and total laissez-faire that dominate popular discussions of human enhancement there are many competing agendas, hopes and fears. How can the language of human rights guide us in framing the critical issues? How will enhancement technologies transform the demands we make of human rights?

With the Human Enhancement and Human Rights conference we seek to begin a conversation with the human rights community, bioethicists, legal scholars, and political activists about the relationship of enhancement technologies to human rights, cognitive liberty and bodily autonomy. It is time to begin the defense of human rights in the era of human enhancement.

[ Link via boingboing / del ]

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April 18, 2006


Accelerando by Charles Stross has been nominated for the Hugo Awards Best Novel of 2005.

The story starts off as a thought-provoking near-future tale involving the rise of wearable computing as a means of intelligence amplification, then the afterburners kick in and the story rockets off into an exploration of transhumanism up to the Singularity and beyond.

Released under the Creative Commons license, Stross made the entire book available as a free download the same time the book went on sale.

Download it, read it, if you like it buy a copy and give it to a friend or add it to your library to read again later.

[ Link ]

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April 01, 2006

Transhumanists & Society

Transhumanists, the group of intellectuals who desire to use new sciences and technologies to increase the human existance both cognitively and physically are very interesting to me, not just because of the advances that they're pushing, but also because of the social backlash to those goals.

When I was younger, I was occasionally called a nerd, mostly because when I wasn't able to become wildly social with my peers, I turned to computers- one thing I could control and completely own mentally. Like most others who had similar experiences, I'm no longer called a nerd, but instead the more favorable term, "geek". I get this respect because this social group has grown through the dot com boom, and the push of the world wide web. I no longer wish to hide my interests as a geek, but stand tall.

Transhumanists though, while a subset of geeks, are less understood. In fact the idea of modifying oneself seems outright alien to many. The idea of pushing one's human shell to the limits to improve performance, and lifespan is even threatening to some. I myself have had conversations with people where I've expressed my desire to live for centuries instead of just one, and found myself in an argument about playing god. Nevertheless the goals of the transhumanist movement are appealing to many, which Stacy Robinson addresses in her book Transhumanism Reloaded:

...It may be a mistake to dismiss the transhumanists as a harmless group of under-socialized techno-geeks. Their vision of a world in which atomized individuals use technology and free markets to achieve dominance over others differs in degree, and not kind, from much of the real world today. At a time when many people feel powerless to influence social conditions, their message—don’t worry about society; technology will make you smart, strong, and attractive—could seem compelling.

It may seem foreign and strange right now to wear head mounted displays and want to put impant electronics under our skin now, but I think like theg geeks and the world wide web, transhumanism and cyborganics are going to become more and more accepted as this group of individuals excels beyond others. I will stand tall with my desire to augment myself because the idea of improving myself is compelling, and I believe while the transhumanist movement is young, the work being done now will be the foundations for years to come.

Posted by nym at 02:18 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

What the !@#$% do we know?

vfx1.jpgI went to a showing of a independent film called "What the !@#$% do we know?" last night. I thought the film was going to be some new-agey astrology flick, but turned out to be a lovely film about transhumanism, quantum physics, and religion. It blends scientists, philosophers, drama, and beautiful computer graphics to communicate the message of self-awareness and to describe complex ideas like neural networks.

The film had been held over for five extra weeks at the cinema I went to, so no doubt that it's distribution will continue to grow.


"[What the !@#$%] adds a surprisingly human edge to the science of quantum mechanics and tries its darnedest to convince the human race that we are, in fact, masters of our own reality and not just dust blowing in the wind..." [Entertainment Today]

Even if you don't think that everything presented is completely true, this is a thought provoking film, which made me think seriously about enlightenment and transhumanism.


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