May 31, 2004

Barcodes and Cameraphones

Cameraphones are becoming more of a wearable device than a phone these days. A new product in this vein is SpotCode, a barcode system for pointing and clicking on various devices, such as vending machines or computers. This is done by using a cameraphone with bluetooth to relay "selections" based on barcodes on displays or signs.

Another application of cameraphones and barcodes came up during the ETech conference in San Diego. Chris Heathcote presented "35 ways to Find Your Location", which touched on using barcodes, cameraphones, and sticker printers to coat a city with locative barcodes to help people find where they are. Another use for this technology are "hidden" messages, and "barcode tagging".

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 07:50 PM | TrackBack

May 30, 2004

Dressed for Dependence

Last October, Desearch and Revelopment put on a two week workshop called Dressed for Dependence, which uses art to provoke critical thinking about technology and a society of control. The site has a wiki and large photo gallery. This photo to the right is my favorite. K3, Malm� University - thirteen brave students produced clothes and accessories designed to increase the wearer's dependence on technical structures and the benevolence of other people.

[Link from anna vallg�rda on]

Posted by nym at 11:22 AM | TrackBack

May 29, 2004

Free GeoCoder

Schuyler Erle who is currently working on a Geo Hacks book for O'Reilly, has produced the first open source, completely free, geocoder, called "". This means that you can use his code and the US TIGER database to translate American addresses into a longitude and latitude.

[Link. Thanks Schuyler!]

Posted by nym at 01:07 PM | TrackBack

MicroOptical Interview

microoptical.jpgPretty tame interview with MicroOptical Marketing Vice President Mark Basler. Not very noteworthy, except for the following passage:

"We've talked to a lot of wireless telecom executives, and they're very interested in replacing cell phone displays with these kinds of glasses," Basler says. "These companies want to be able to sell consumers more and more display-intensive functions that will use up air time, but in order to do that they'd have to make the handsets so big that no one would buy them. That's where we come in." Possible partners also include phone makers like Motorola, Nokia and Samsung.

[Link via Patrick Hall on]

Posted by nym at 12:08 AM | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

Killer Spotlight for Infrared

IR-light-1.jpgIf you have an infrared camera, especially those mediated reality POV goggles we previously wrote about, this handheld spotlight is a must have. Perfect for hunters, assassins, and snoops, the $150, the 1-million candlepower is a bargain. I also can see the military using something very similar in conjunction with their night vision goggles, if they don't already.

If I can get an infrared camera this summer, I may well buy one of these for the wifi technomad geekery at burning man.

[Link via gizmodo]
Gizmodo also recommends How Night Vision Works, which I really enjoyed.

Posted by nym at 07:19 PM | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

Cyborg Sensations

Nice article on Mann's opening keynote address at digifest:

Over one or both of his eyes, Mann wears a rotating fleet of mini-cameras and lasers that constantly mediate the world around him. Through the computing power attached to his body he can filter out obnoxious billboards, see people behind him, surf the Web and even change the colour of his surroundings.

[Link via Steve Mann's]

Posted by nym at 04:22 PM | TrackBack

May 26, 2004

Ricoh GPS Camera

While I had heard about these quite a long time ago, I actually see the Ricoh being sold for $950 by a gps enthusiast site, GeoSpatial Experts. Unfortunately, enthusiast or not, the only thing they seem to be experts at is marketing. I do not recommend buying their software (don't buy the camera bundle, it's $200 more expensive). That being said, the Ricoh looks like a really good solution for taking geo-referenced images if you're in the market for a new camera.

Hopefully other big players will follow this trend- it's not going away.

Posted by nym at 12:39 PM | TrackBack

May 25, 2004

Future Force Warrior

ffw_solider.jpg"We're stripping the soldier down to his skin, and building out from there," said Jean-Louis "Dutch" DeGay, an equipment specialist at the Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center, which is supervising the seven-year, $250 million overhaul, dubbed Future Force Warrior, or FFW.

The land warrior equipment was due for an overhaul. The previous design was designed for men only, which is inappropiate for women trying to pee. In addition, many other improvements have been made such as armor that can take five to seven direct hits from a machine gun, gel based sensors for collecting pulse and breating rate, and better etextile cabling (shown below).

Gee, as pacifist, I suddenly really want to join the army.


[Link via Gizmodo
Photos: Noah Shachtman]

Posted by nym at 02:20 PM | TrackBack

Plastic Flexable Touch Panels

film_large.jpgGood news for future wearable computer input:

Fujitsu Monday announced the availability of ultra-thin, lightweight, flexible and rigid touch panels for mobile applications.

General delivery begins in early 2005. Pricing for a 2.5-inch Film-Film touch panel is about $5.00 in 100K-piece lots. A 3.8-inch Film-Film-Plastic touch panel is about $11.00 in 10K-piece lots.

[Link via Gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 02:02 PM | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Cameraphones and a Transparent Society

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sounded like he was blaming technology for letting the Abu Ghraib scandal spin out of Pentagon control when he testified recently before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We are constantly finding that we have procedures and habits that have evolved over the years from the last century that don't really fit the 21st century. They don't fit the Information Age. They don't fit a time when people are running around with digital cameras," he said.

[from MercuryNews]

While political, I believe this is yet another case of people thinking they can avoid political nightmares, like Abu Ghraib in a transparent society though censorship. Sorry Rumsfeld, all your skeletons are belong to us.

Posted by nym at 12:03 PM | TrackBack

Automotive HMD

nomad_hud.jpgMicroVision has introduced a new head mounted display for $4,000, which is being marketed towards automotive service enviornments. This means that your local grease monkey may be wearing one of these devices, if you own a porche.

The system lays schematics on top of what you would normally see, and uses 802.11b wireless to connect as a thin client to the shop's server to pull schematics. They also say you can view webpages over the monocromatic display, but somehow I think this might not be the ideal way to surf the web.

Link [via Gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 10:34 AM | TrackBack

May 22, 2004

NASA's BioBlackBox

bioblackbox.jpgNASA's been developing, again, this time a biometric black box; something I think many people would benefit from. The device is said to capture "biological data, like changes in heart rate, the amount of oxygen in the blood stream, how the wearer is moving ... and much more.". Hopefully development like this will spur on the health community to make better biometric devices. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go to McFranchise soon to get one of those pedometers they're giving away with salads.

[link via]

Posted by nym at 01:29 PM | TrackBack

May 21, 2004

Be vwery vwery quiet...

dupe.jpgWell, if it's your interest to be sneaky and take other people's information, then the Forensic MD5 is just what you've been waiting for.

This is a hard drive duplicator designed for spies, law enforcement, and other devious types. I amost wanted one just for the spy-tech factor until I saw their website, which made me gag, which lables it as the "ULTIMATE WEAPON AGAINST CYBER-CRIME".

These spy devices are already being used by the police, FBI and auditors to duplicate hard drives in order to collect forensic evidence.

...The handheld has built-in USB connectivity and slot access to PCMCIA for laptops. It can also search for hundreds of words while capturing at full speed.

[from engadget]

Posted by nym at 02:12 PM | TrackBack


Tiny GPS out on the market. It's about 5cm by 5cm and can be mounted on your car's dashboard. Pretty neat!

Posted by nym at 12:57 PM | TrackBack

May 20, 2004

PayPay against Free Speech

robots.jpgDue to PayPal's recent stupidity and blatent disregard for free speech, I have removed the paypal donations on this page and have replaced it with a google adsense ad. Hopefully this will give me some real feedback on how the site is being recieved, and produce some cool contextual links.

Below is the release from the Freenet Project, an open source project which relies on donations to pay for it's anti-censorship software development. Please consider donating to them if you are able to.

17th May, 2004 : Paypal suspends Freenet donations account
Paypal has frozen the account we use to accept donations over the web, they refuse to give any reason other than "use of an anonymous proxy", which suggests that someone at Paypal took a dislike to the goals of our project, since I have never used an anonymous proxy to access Paypal (this being the activity I assume they sought to prevent). It is fortunate that Johann Gutenberg did not rely on Paypal to fund his work on the printing press, which also allowed anonymous publication of information, since his account would probably have been frozen too.

If you are concerned about whether your account might be at risk due to your political opinions you may wish to speak to their PR contact Hani Durzy at (408) 376 7458. If you are an investor and you would like to see what other political opinions Paypal doesn't like, you may want to speak to their Investor contact Tracey Ford at (408) 376 7205.

[ Picture from Robot Protest found via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 07:07 PM | TrackBack

May 16, 2004

Eye sensing POV camera

eyeblog.jpgNice hack at creating a POV camera that detects eye contact. I had an idea for this a long time ago, but designed to see if people were checking out my butt. I would like to see this hack be improved though, as it reminds me of Steve Mann's wearable computers from the 1980s.

Update (May 18th):
From alterslash:

Second version in development - by tilrman (Score: 5, Funny)
Researchers found that the eyeBlog was only 28% effective when used by female wearers, but couldn�t reproduce the effect in the lab. After some field trials, however, they discovered and corrected the problem. The new eyeBlog-II for women is 96% accurate and will be completed sometime next month. Rather than attaching the sensors to eyeglasses, the eyeBlog-II will be embedded into a bra.

Re:Second version in development - by fraccy (Score: 5, Funny)
hehehe� funny as that is, I think you�re onto a winner. People want to know when they�re being watched by someone /not/ in their field of view. Imagine the marketing potential of a device attached to the buttocks, alerting female wearers of an er.. admiring onlooker. This would probably result in some kind of armageddon (and a lot of slapped faces), along with the subsequent development of ButtBlog jamming devices�

Posted by nym at 01:46 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2004

GPS attachment for the Game Boy Advance

gbagps.jpgWhoha. GeoGames suddenly are going to get very big.

Besides being able to tell you where you are, there are also plans for multi-player games that take advantage of the GPS, though it doesn�t sound like any are actually in the works yet.

These guys seem to be interested in GIS solutions in general including geoimagery and navigation.

Posted by nym at 11:43 AM | TrackBack

May 05, 2004

Empowering People with Cameras

Great bit about Howard Rheingold's article over at The called "Inverse Surveillance".

...He is suggesting, in response to all the flack cameraphones gets with regard to privacy issues, "that they be used used as "inverse surveillance", allowing the public to snoop on the snoops and watch the watchers...

Now that millions of us walk the streets with cameras in our telephones while authorities and theorists freak out about the privacy implications, has anybody stopped to think that our privacy was compromised long ago by the hundreds of surveillance cameras that capture our images without our permission every day?

Has anybody stopped to think that cameras in the hands of citizens � cameras capable of sending their images directly from the street to the web � might present an opportunity to turn surveillance around, to invert the whole notion that we are watched at all times by invisible police, security guards, and other snoops? In fact, somebody has.

Steve Mann's ideas of citizen "sousveillance" predated the cameraphone phenomena by nearly a decade.

People will empower themselves with cameras. Suddenly the term "Flash Mob" can mean something entirely different.

Posted by nym at 12:44 PM | TrackBack

GPS Video

gpsvideo.jpgWhile not a totally new subject, I noticed this article over at engadget which desribes a new product for Sony digital camcorders.

"Red Hen Systems has a new a GPS attachment for digital camcorders (though it only works with Sony cams, right now) called the VMS-X that stamps your video footage with the precise location of where it was shot."

Posted by nym at 12:38 PM | TrackBack