June 30, 2004

Mediated Roamality

2015679578166546.jpgMediated Reality is one of those emerging technologies that is going to change our life, and to jump on it early is almost like being transformed into a superhero, or supervillan depending on your attitude. Mobileye has produced a computer chip for us high-tech roadwarriors which is just astounding, and makes me think that mediated reality is closer than I had thought. With a bit of graphics fu I'm sure this would be gorgeous, but in a way I love the terminator style green lines in all their videos. I watched them all.

EyeQ is pretty similar to the HUD fighter pilots use, so don't be surprised when you get covered by paintballs if you try to cut me off.


[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 12:53 PM | TrackBack

June 29, 2004

Solar Spinach Power

If Popeye was as smart as Marc Baldo, he might have thought about using his photosynthetic food for electrical means. Baldo along with the other smarties over at MIT have come up with a better way to produce solar energy. The process uses the photosynthetic proteins between two layers of conductive material. Not surprising since that's basically what most plants do while they're sitting in the sun, but to harness this is no minor feat. The technique is still very beta since they only last 21 days, but at 12% energy conversion this is science not to be laughed at.

I just love that these scientists went back to their roots.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

June 28, 2004

The Witnessential Net

This photo shows Steve Mann wearing an EyeTap device and a screen displaying photos published by his EyeTap off his website. I think this rig could be a bit more aesthetic, but it certainly confronts people with the fact that they're being recorded. I found this photo while reading a paper written by Mann called "The Witnessential Net":

"The Witnessential Network for the protection of Human Rights workers, and others who may be subjected to violence, is achieved through a new kind of imaging and hierarchical architecture having special properties ideal for defense against unaccountability of attackers. Incidentalist video capture and self-demotion are introduced as new collegial forms of defense against unaccountability. Results of various experiments conducted worldwide over the past 20 years, on the inventing, designing, building, and using of wearable photographic apparatus having these special properties are also described. Other fundamental concepts with respect to a Personal Safety Device suitable for Human Rights workers are introduced."


Posted by nym at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

June 26, 2004

Cellphone Location Sharing

After doing research on locative technology I found this tidbit about services like dodgeball and whoat (whoa-tee) that try to introduce people to each other by alerting them to people close to them geographically.

"The key difference between online and location-based mobile social networking is the fourth dimension - time. Online it's relatively easy to get critical mass , as I just need to recuit some like-minded people. In a mobile context, I need to recruit them AND have enough of them that they'll be in certain places at certain times. Mathematically (though I have no idea how to prove this!) it's going to be incredibly less likely that you'll find someone by adding this new dimension." [mobile-blog]

images.jpgInteresting. What these services seem to lack is passive locative signaling. It's one thing to be punching into your cellphone "I'm at the corner of 1st and Main St" verses your cellphone broadcasting the information to a server which controls who is able to access your information, which is much more close to a GPS service.

Cellphones likely will become the new GPS, with embedded GPS chips, and more sophisticated management of your tracklogs, geo-images, and social network. While locative technology is cool, I agree with mobile-blog's assertion that these two services are a waste of energy, because it assumes that:

  1. People are going to spend most of their time typing their location into their cellphone
  2. The rest of the time they will be trying to convince their friends to do the same

[Link from mobile-weblog]

Posted by nym at 09:20 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Contains Superior Synthetic Parts

parts.jpg"...longtime bOING bOING editor Gareth Branwyn underwent total hip replacement to help relieve the pain of severe degenerative arthritis. A quintessential happy mutant, Gar wrote a smart, funny, and poignant deconstruction of his reconstruction, accompanied by "get well" illustrations by designer Jim Leftwich."

I just love the get-well illustrations, but Gar's description of his cyborganic event is quite lovely too:

"During the initial visit with my orthopedic surgeon, he brought in an implant for me to play with. It was a gorgeous, awe-inspiring piece of modern machinery - almost Zen-like in its shining simplicity and austere precision. The cementless implant technology my doctor's clinic uses was co-developed by them and has been implanted into thousands of patients. The description of the implant reads like something from a William Gibson novel. I now sport a Duroloc(r) 100 acetabular titanium cup with sintered titanium beads for in-bone growth adhesion. I have a bleeding-edge Marathon(r) polyethylene liner with irradiated cross-linked polymers for tighter bonding and longer wear rates. My Prodigy(r) brand stem has a 28mm cobalt-chrome head and a cobalt-chrome femoral component with sintered cobalt-chrome beading for bone in-growth fixation. Where 2001's HAL 9000 was fond of telling people that he was made at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois, I can now boast that part of me was manufactured by DePuy Industries of Warsaw, Indiana."

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 02:26 PM | TrackBack

Virtual Reality Pain Killers

landscape.jpgAparently, and really not that surprisingly, virtual reality can be used to help prevent pain. Similar to meditation, virtual landscapes can reduce the ammount of pain that the brain registers from 50 to 97 percent. Researcher Hunter Hoffman and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle believe that virtual reality can serve as an anesthetic. In additon, they have shown that virtual reality "dramatically changes how the brain physically registers pain, not just how people subjected to pain perceive incoming signals".

Maybe cyborgs like Steve Mann can use head mounted displays next time they get a root canal. I know from my friend, dragoon that dentists are already starting to use head mounted displays in their practice to alleviate boredom and small talk.

[Link via betterhumans]

Posted by nym at 12:08 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

"Talk to the Hand - LITERALLY!"

0426pe_fingerwhisper.jpgI wasn't going to mention this awfully mundane story on cellphones in watches, but when I heard the words "Talk to the Hand - LITTERALLY!" from a Fox 11 News promo here in Los Angeles, I just had to.

Left hand photo from gizmodo. At least gizmodo's post on the subject brings up the posibility of cellphone inplants.

Excuse me, is that your butt ringing?

Posted by nym at 08:09 PM | TrackBack

WiFi hub using Cellular

junxion.jpgThis product is a prototype, but I like it when common ground converges, like that of cellphone data transfer and WiFi. Well they're both WiFi really, but what this device is aimed at is bridging the gap between cellphone and hotspot communications, thus allowing more net friendly devices in stranger places. For example, I think this might be good for the Roam-Net project, when trying to teach city children about collaborative mapping and technomadics. Then again, I'd probably just get the cellphone card and build a prototype of my own with an old laptop. Bridging connections really isn't that hard after all, but this would be cool for quick temporary wireless networks.

I wonder what cellphone carriers will think about open access cellphones.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 07:55 PM | TrackBack

June 23, 2004

Mass Distraction

New ideas for cellphone distraction:

The Hood:

The Coin:

The Game:

[Link via textually.org]

Posted by nym at 01:22 PM | TrackBack

ACLU Bust Card for Photographers

Reader Len Norton wrote in with a great tip in response to the uncamera'd post describing a pdf/palmbook similar to the ACLU's Bust Card but released by Attorney Bert P. Krages. The free document is a quick and well written guide for photographers who want to know where and when they legally can snap their photos.

From the front page of their distribution site:

"The right to take photographs is now under assault more than ever. People are being stopped, harassed, and even intimidated into handing over their personal property simply because they were taking photographs of subjects that made other people uncomfortable. Recent examples include photographing industrial plants, bridges, and vessels at sea. For the most part, attempts to restrict photography are based on misguided fears about the supposed dangers that unrestricted photography presents to society.

Ironically, unrestricted photography by private citizens has played an integral role in protecting the freedom, security, and well being of all Americans. Photography in the United States has contributed to improvements in civil rights, curbed abusive child labor practices, and provided information important to investigating crimes. These images have not always been pretty and often have offended the sensibilities of governmental and commercial interests who had vested interests in a status quo that was adverse to the majority in our country."

From "The Photographer's Right":

bustcard.gif"Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights

Most confrontations are started by security guards and employees of organizations who fear photography. The most common reason given is security but often such persons have no articulated reason. Security is rarely a legitimate reason for restricting photography. Taking a photograph is not a terrorist act nor can a business legitimately assert that taking a photograph of a subject in public view infringes on its trade secrets. On occasion, law enforcement officers may object to photography but most understand that people have the right to take photographs and do not interfere with photographers. They do have the right to keep you away from areas where you may impede their activities or endanger safety. However, they do not have the legal right to prohibit you from taking photographs from other locations."


"Despite misconceptions to the contrary,
the following subjects can almost always be photographed lawfully
from public places:"

  • Accident and fire scenes
  • Children
  • Celebrities
  • Bridges and other infrastructure
  • Residential and commercial buildings
  • Industrial facilities and public utilities
  • Transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
  • Superfund sites
  • Criminal activities
  • Law enforcement officers

Other sections include: "They Have Limited Rights to Bother", Question, or Detain You", "They Have No Right to Confiscate Your Film", "Your Legal Remedies If Harassed", and "How to Handle Confrontations". All of which is on one small reference page that you can fold up and put in your wallet.

Makes me want to print up a bunch for my photography and photojournalist friends.

JWZ and the livejournal crowd have this to say on the subject.

Update: "the whole photographic freedom debate just annoys me...it seems so clear to me :-)" [Rich_Gibson]

[Link thanks Len!]

Posted by nym at 12:47 AM | TrackBack

June 22, 2004


I'm thinking of starting a site called photos FOR progress. I like pushing social buttons. This guy wasn't even trying:

"In February, I wrote about the poor quality of squash in our local supermarket. I took a digital camera in and took a picture of the hapless, bruised items that pass for fresh vegetables.

It looks like this site is read by more people than I anticipated. The store now has a nice sign by the entrance:"



Posted by nym at 11:17 PM | TrackBack

Giveaway Update

One more free GMail account... tomlong zat gmail dot com. Good luck!

Posted by nym at 01:39 AM | TrackBack

Cyborg Arms

t800arm.jpgWell research similar to the robotic arm tests with chimps implies that cyborg arms are not that far off, nor are brain activated keyboards. North Carolina's Duke University Medical Center gives no finite word if the human brain is capible of carrying on more complex things like controlling a myrad of cyborg-tenticals, but the following quotes are positive. I'll keep hoping.

"Patients are awake during the surgery, and their brain signals are recorded to ensure that the electrodes are placed in the right location.
The study also showed that more parts of the brain could be used for neural interfaces than the researchers had previously tested with monkeys.

Unlike the monkey study, in which electrodes were implanted into the brain's cortical structures, the current study involved analyzing brain signals from electrodes inserted deep into subcortical structures.

"This shows that one can extract information not only from cortical areas, but from subcortical ones, too," says Nicolelis. "This suggests that in the future, there will be more options for sampling neuronal information to control a prosthetic device." " [betterhumans]

The future? I prefer this to the cyborg girlfriend scenario. In any case, my children are sure to find new and creative ways to offend me through body modification.

[Link via del.icio.us/tag/cyborg]

Posted by nym at 01:33 AM | TrackBack

June 21, 2004

Uncamera'd in a Transparent Society?


The issue of people being uncamera'd is soon to be pretty big. Sprint thinks people want cameraless Trio 600s phones. Corporate America is worried, I can understand why; It sucks to be on the other end.

Dan Gillmore writes:

"I suppose it's always better to sell what the customer wants. But I have bad news for Sprint's worried customers: This won't help much, because the pace of technology means cameras will soon disappear from view, embedded in clothing and eyeglasses, not just phones.

Sprint's move highlights one more set of issues we have to confront in a world of digital information. Whether we're talking about photos or videos or documents or just about anything else that can be converted into zeroes and ones, we're entering a changed world."

[Link via boingboing]

Speaking of transperency in our society...

Who's got the power? Enron's got the Power. (5.1 MP3 Link)

[via dav via boing boing]

Posted by nym at 10:46 PM | TrackBack

Killer Drones on the Gaza Strip

8153839961650352.jpgIt had to happen. The Israeli Army is talking about using killer robotic drones after a "troop withdraw". Personally, I think that if you replace a soldier with a drone, then get that soldier to sit in front of a computer controlling that drone, then you aren't really withdrawing at all. Kind of like how Dubya offered to bulldoze Abu Grabi and rebuild it with a new prison.

"A computerized observation system will allow the army to identify "hostile elements" and fire deep into Gaza, Yediot said. The system will even choose the most appropriate weapon to use to hit a specific target."

While the plans are not definite, I'm sure the Israeli Army would love to have all those people living under the gun.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:56 PM | TrackBack

Giveaways and Posthumanism

logo.gifIn the past month igargoyle has seen over 3,500 page views, not including our full rss feeds. Thanks for your patronage, it's been fun publishing (mostly) every day this past month. As a reward, the first three people to email me at tomlong zat g mail zot com get accounts on google's amazing new gmail. I also have one gmail account for whoever emails me links or leads, or plug you shamelessly if you prefer.

On another note, I thought I'd share this disturbing short story from Warren Ellis of http://diepunyhumans.com/ that was published a while ago. I was reminded of it by a friend talking about wanting to write, and a robotic suit article I saw on engadget. Exoskeletons are great, but when will we have cybortenticals?

"okay...that story creeped me out. thank you very much nym..." [Rich_Gibson]

Warning: This story is pretty graphic.

robotsuit.jpgShe used to have eyes I could lose myself in, and then she had them replaced with laser pointers. Little red dots jumping up and down on the bedroom wall as I took her from behind. I could live with that until she had the animal voice import. The cheetah purring was okay, but the dingo noises just killed the mood. The combination of the red eyes and the gorilla sounds when she jerked off was horrible. A few weeks later, things were moving down there that shouldn't have. Don't be scared, she said, as stuff pumped like organ stops under her skin. Something extended itself and waved at me.

I threw up between her legs and she didn't talk to me for a week. Which I suppose you can't really blame her for, but still.

I knew it was over when she cut her legs off.

Had them hacked off at the knee and came home with a suitcase full of modular replacements. The stumps had little Firewire ports that plugged into the new lower leg units. She fitted what she called her Sex Legs and flexed artificial toes, feet fixed in a perfect arch to accomodate the welded-on six-inch heels. Apparently there were Segway gyroscopes in the calves to keep her upright when she walked.

I came home one night to find her in a red latex minidress and sixteen legs. Spider things were sprouted from her knees, eight legs each. She paraded on the plastic kitchen floor for me, swinging her hips. Clackclackclackclack on the floor. Clackclackclackclack.

She stuck her tongue out at me when I started retching. There was what looked like a DC power inlet on the tip.

After that, it just got ugly. I had to go. I saw her again a couple of weeks ago. She introduced her new boyfriend as Spin. His skin was cold and shiny, like white plastic coating over steel. He had a revolving drum in his stomach. She leant against him and grinned.

I'm living in my car now. My car loves me. I mean, it wouldn't have grown a real vagina for me otherwise, would it?

Rich also gave me this link about future shock levels. "I thought I was a big singularity guy...but then, actually thinking of firewire ports in my leg stumps seems, well, a bit off putting." [Rich_Gibson]

Posted by nym at 03:29 AM | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

70 Megapixel 360deg Cam

360.jpgAt first I thought this was a typo but considering the price, it's just a top-notch camera. The Livecam is supposed to be a 70 megapixel camera that does seamless 360 degree images ala QuicktimeVR. Interestingly, the camera can zoom up to 20x, which makes me wonder if they're hoping casinos might purchase these. With and embedded webserver that is completely open-source it sounds like a dream. Selling for CHF 9,600 (about 7,716 USD).

This would make a great webcam.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 02:40 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2004

UK Bus Texting

2498406749551474.jpgLeicestershire county in England is trying out a keen idea that delves into texting and geolocationing.

"...mobile phone users can send a text message containing a six-digit code unique to their bus stop to a local bus company.

Within 30 seconds a text message is sent back giving the location of the bus."

This is pretty interesting as the issue of finding oneself can be pretty daunting as Chris Heathcote explained in his ETech presentation earlier this year entitled "35 Ways To Find Your Location", which touched on using bus and taxi stops as a way to help find your location since they often use similar unique identifiers. In any case I'm still bothering my phone company to stop archiving my text messages for johnny law, and start allowing their customers to figure out where they are since they already know anyways.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 02:37 PM | TrackBack

Linksys 802.11g WiFi Extender


The WRE54G is a new 802.11g range extending device, similar to the Airport Express, but without as many features and about a hundred less. It extends both 802.11b and 802.11g networks, and autoconfigures with the push of a button. Doesn't weigh much either at just over half a pound.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 02:03 PM | TrackBack

June 17, 2004

HOWTO: GeoImages

geoimages.jpgI'm currently working on a hack for an upcomming book called "Mapping Hacks" for O'Reilly Books, so this hack from Digital Photography Hacks really caught my attention. David suggests using TopoVision to create the images, but my friend Schuyler has a perl hack which links albums to GPS tracklogs as well if you're not a Windows user. In addition, Anselm and I (Tom Longson), are working on a way to streamline this process by autolinking photos to tracklogs with just a web browser. If you're interested in getting started, this article is sure to help.

[Link via anselm and engadget]

Posted by nym at 11:51 AM | TrackBack

TouchPad Keyboard

7312187097675176.jpgTouchpad company, Exideas, is using touchpad technology to help build smaller input devices. This one has a lot of wearable tech potential being that, it's so small. I can imagine people using this on their sleeves, as a touchpad "watch" (sans timekeeping), or even on their pants. While I think I would prefer a Twiddler 2 for my dream wearable, this seems like a logical solution for hi-tech phones, mp3 players, and more.

"MessagEase Keyboard uses a system of taps and slides with fewer keys requiring a smaller area. The taps enter frequent letters while slides enter the rest of the characters. MessagEase keyboard is currently available for use with PDA and Tablet PC. A touchpad implementation of MessagEase can also function as a mouse input." [from geekzone]

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 11:25 AM | TrackBack

June 15, 2004

POV Cams for Alzheimer Patients

microsoftsensecam.jpgWhile I wasn't impressed when I first heard about Microsoft working with wearable cameras, this latest announcement actually sounds rather heart-warming. Microsoft's Cambridge lab is working with Addenbrookes Hospital to help treat Patients with Alzheimer's disease or head injury. These patients already keep written diaries to help them through their life, but many, especially children, dislike writing all the time. Patients then can look through their visual diaries to help augment their memory and improve their quality of life. The camera uses light sensors and IR sensors to detect changes in light and to help detect when the person is talking to someone else, or playing with an animal.

Even though this is very nice to hear, I don't want Microsoft to be the company making my wearable computers.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 11:29 AM | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

Cool Solar

Every cyborg loves solar energy, it's limitless, quiet, and nowadays, much more portable. No longer are solar panels being built only for the home and industrial sectors.

Thanks to IPC Solar Technologies, maker of the iSun consumer solar panels, better solutions are emerging for the individual and outdoors man markets. The first is the rollable PowerFLEX, which are available in 5, 10, 20, and 40 watt versions (much better than the iSun's 2.2 watts). [source i4u]

The second is much more rugged and fully waterproof, and is being made in conjunction with Coleman. It's called the Coleman 50200 Exponent Flex 5 (try saying that five times fast), and is only $99 from amazon. Not bad for this 5 watt solar panel.

"The flexible solar are made with durable CIGS solar cells, a material proven to be very stable and long-lived, even when subjected to the rigors of extreme radiation in space. The solar panels work also under cloudy and rainy skies. The ICP Solar panels are designed to power 12V batteries and Gadgets." [from i4u]

IPC's new technology is excellent stuff for wearables, and the company has already partnered with wearable computing clothing manufacturer, scottevest. They plan to introduce their solar clothing for $300 in the spring of 2005, but any serious cyborg will want some more power.

"The jacket has two small snap-on photovoltaic panels that fit onto its shoulders. These charcoal-gray solar panels convert the sun's rays into energy, which then feed a hidden battery pack about the size of a deck of cards. The batteries are wired to all the pockets, which can have almost any mobile devices plugged into them." [wired news]

So when exactly will we see this tech in backpacks? It seems like a logical jump. I found this other company which sells units designed to go on hiking packs. Not classy like IPC's stuff, but certainly good for the technomadic hiker at 20.2 watts.

Posted by nym at 08:35 PM | TrackBack

GPS for Runners

The Associated Press has a review of the Garmin Forerunner 201 (pictured to right) and the Timex’s Bodylink System (pictured below), both wrist mounted GPS units for runners. Each unit has specialized functions for specifically for runners.

sc-VirtualPartner.jpgFor example, the Garmin allows you to run with a virtual runner on the display who runs at your specified pace. One could imagine Garmin or Timex building future units to allow Olympic runners to against AI virtual rivals to better their game based on their performance.

[Timex Bodylink System above]

The AP article says the timex tranciever is superior in GPS performance, but the Garmin comes with the ability to transfer data out of the box, and records elevation and incline information. While Timex is silly to not include something so basic as altitude, unlike the Garmin, you may have to purchase an add-on to get a heart rate monitor for $36. The Garmin comes with the ability to save running data, and software to make graphs of your performance, while the Timex needs an add-on (which comes with the data cables), for $50.

Another feature the Garmin has that the Timex doesn't software to encourage you to try new trails while giving you directions to get back, which sounds really neat to me, but the reporter says that on average the Garmin took longer to get a satellite lock, and also lost it's signal more often, especially around tall buildings.

Bottom line:
Garmin Forerunner 201: $130,
2.8 ounces, better for rural areas, better features.
Timex’s Bodylink System (with heart rate monitor): $232
~6 ounces, better for citites, expect to pay $282 to record data.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 07:41 PM | TrackBack

June 13, 2004

Father's Day

[from amazon]

Posted by nym at 02:26 AM | TrackBack

June 12, 2004

Kim Jong-il and the Cellphone Ban

cap_030.jpgNorth Korea's cellphone ban seems to be more complicated than previously stated. While the following quote from Howard Ringhold supports the censorship hypothesis for the reason behind the banning, freenorthkorea reveals that the train bombing was an assassination attempt by "anti-North Korean government forces" on the disliked leader, Kim Jong-il.

nkcensorship.gif"Ohmynews is a website in South Korea that employs 26,000 citizen-reporters. Those citizen-reporters and their readers vote on which articles should appear on the front page. It's wildly popular, particularly among the young cybergeneration. Earlier this year, Ohmynews did something remarkable. The candidate that was favored by many of their readers and reporters was behind in the polls in the days before Korea's Presidential election, and the exit-polls in the early hours showed him losing. A call to action on Ohmynews led to readers sending nearly a million emails to their friends, urging them to get out and vote, along with an uncounted number of text messages to their friends' telephones. That unprecedented online get-out-the-vote effort tipped the election – and the first interview President-elect Roh gave was to Ohmynews."

This indicates that North Korea's neighbor has recently had a change in government directly due to improvements in communication in the form of the internet and cellphones. While censoring the internet is easy, censoring text messages is almost impossible unless you restrict or outlaw cellphones.

In addition, if the the train bombing in Ryongchon on April 22 "had been conspired by anti-North Korean government forces to harm North Korean leader Kim Jong-il" the ban seems justified, at least from the view of the North Korean dictator. For someone so disliked, cellphones seem an obvious target to quell dissent.

"A North Korean official who was recently on his business trip to China said, “The North Korean National Security Agency has investigated the incident since it took place and concluded that rebellious forces had plotted the explosions targeting the exclusive train of Kim Jong-il. The security agency, in particular, gained evidence that cell phones had been used in triggering the explosion and reported to the North Korean leader that the use of cell phones should be banned for the sake of the leader’s safety.


A North Korea defector who crossed the border a few days ago said, “It doesn’t seem to be a temporary measure, because even handsets have been conscripted following the cell phone use ban.” “The Postal Service, which manages the cell phone business, has unilaterally conscripted handsets without offering any compensations. It's a typical example of a dictatorial state,” the defector pointed out." [freenorthkorea.net]

In any case, while North Korea's citizens are being held back in the dark ages, their government is still watching.


In related news, Italy takes the opposite approach, and spams it's hipster crowd with pro-voting text messages.

[Link from Howard Rheingold]

Posted by nym at 10:49 PM | TrackBack

How to be a Gargoyle

snowcrash.gifFunny article about being a Gargoyle, and a few reviews of equipment that can help you become one. Short, but sweet.

"Now all we need is a full-power portable wireless computer system with extremely long battery life that can interface with any number of I/O devices.

Yup. That's all we need."

I too cannot wait to hack my first brainstem.

[Link via bloglines]

Posted by nym at 03:57 PM | TrackBack

DejaView Finds Manufacturer

DejaView finally, after being at the consumer electronics show, being hyped on TechTV and Regis & Kelly, has found just under a year later, a manufacturing partner.

Nothing really new to say here, except if you want to get in on the pre-orders, you can get in que for just under $400. They haven't changed the design of their 30 second buffer instant replay point of view camcorder. If something just happened that you want to download later, you press a button, leaving a 30 second movie on it's memory card.

Not terrible considering JonesCam is selling a similar camera without a recorder for $275. I didn't find the press video of Regis Philman wearing the DejaView that interesting, but it did make Regis look a bit silly. I really hope that they replace their camera with something a little more sleek.


DejaView Announces Gargoyle Toys
June 21, 2003
DejaView Details October 26, 2003
New POV Cam (about the JonesCam not DejaView) November 26, 2003

Updated on June 12th with related links and improved text for clarity.

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 03:13 AM | TrackBack

June 11, 2004

Kick Ass Mapping for your Japanese Car

I think Sony's 'Navi' in car systems just got launched in Japan, but even if they haven't, the article over at Linux Devices really makes the geo-geek in me drool. These pictures appeal to my visual side, my video gaming side, and my where-the-fuck-am-i?! side.

For example:

sony_xyz_navi_bingo.jpg"The 3D mapping interface shows actual buildings, and knows street addresses, enabling it to identify destination addresses. In the picture at right, it has identified a gas station belonging to a promotional partner. Advertising for many other businesses, such as fast food outlets, appears to be built into the maps."

What really makes me wonder about this technology is the level of detail these maps seem to sport. Anyone in locative field knows how hard it can be to maintain realistic road maps, let alone map the position of safty hazzard cones. I get the feeling I need to impress upon Dave Coleman's girlfriend, Mie to interview the Navi guys.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 03:33 PM | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

Cyborg Cows

I never thought I'd be envious of the students of Bovine University, but apparently cows are getting some sweet gear to wear. Ranchers may soon be able to herd cows without getting out of bed now, and be able to set up virtual fences for your cattle. Like virtual dog fences, these use electric shocks and sounds to herd, but unlike dog fences, these use gps devices to locate cows and determine if the cow is where they should be. They also use 802.11b to communicate wirelessly to update the virtual fence maps.

"[the researchers think their system would be] attractive to farmers in Australia who must move cattle across ranches that range up to 22,000 square kilometres - roughly the size of Massachusetts.

Currently farmers herd the cattle on horseback, motorcycles or even in helicopters, and have to open and close gates frequently, all requiring many workers and considerable time."

Okay so maybe the cows will have wearable computers before I do, but at least I won't be wearing a shock collar.

<anselm> soon i will steal ipaqs from cows

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:38 PM | TrackBack

Climbing Robots

climb.jpgNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who incidentally sponsored my father's migration to the states from England, are always coming up with new uses of technology. Their latest research has produced a rock climbing robot, called LEMUR, which has four legs each with their own claw to attempt footholds. Very similar to the spy bot previously reviewed, but much more hi-tech.

Having done a bit of rock climbing myself, I'm aware of the challenges inherit in gripping to vertical surfaces; I'm not surprised LEMUR currently has to be fed coordinates to climb from foothold to foothold. Luckily when they teach it to climb by itself it won't get vertigo.

In other news, I found this picture related to an earlier article on martial art impact sensors, which looks like a sketch of their prototype. If anyone has more pictures of this, please contact me (tom long tat gmail zot com).


[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:11 PM | TrackBack

June 09, 2004

Ranting on Mobile Social Software

I've been looking at social-network-with-cellphone-positioning services recently, and a really lame one recently popped up. At first I thought it was interesting, but the name was a bit daft - BEDD, and as it turns out it's technology is a bit lacking too. They alert you to your friends within range of your bluetooth, which is a bit like an alarm going off in your pants every time you start having a conversation with someone.

On the other hand, they're doing dating too, which is something I heard back in the days of the cybiko. WiFi dating, for the hipster crowd. What do they call that anyways? Toothing? Flirtexting? How far off are the "open access" vibrating panties?


Now that I think about it, there could be a whole new market for 'rubtones'.

Updated at 12:00 on June 10th with 2nd picture

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 11:10 PM | TrackBack

June 08, 2004

HitchCam - Cameras for Cars

hitchcam.jpgI saw an SUV the other day with a bumper sticker that said "HitchCam". Curious, I checked out his hitch, which had a nice metal finish with a black dot in the middle. Impressed to see such a sleek job, I waved from my cameraless car, and when I got home I found the website.

framecam.jpgHitchCam describes itself as "Forward Thinking for Reverse Driving", which they do a pretty good job at. All their products are "Vehicle Rear Vision Systems", and they do it in several different places. The first, which I saw on the road was their HitchCam, but they also sell a wide angle "FrameCam", an "H-Cam" aimed at the GM Hummer H2, and the UniCam, a wide angle camera that's designed to be mounted in the car's body somewhere.

If your interested in this kind of thing, you may want to check out a display called VISOR (warning -annoying flash), which is designed to go in the place of your vanity mirror. Never considered putting a display there.


Posted by nym at 04:31 PM | TrackBack

Thingster - The Massive Meta Machine


My partner, Anselm Hook has just announced our pet project to the public, so I felt it was the right time to give you the scoop on it here. Much of this project came out of my original goal for an information gathering community, which is certainly not a new concept, but the ideas were very similar to networks that other people like Anselm Hook and Brad Degraf wanted to build. I originally imagined a collaborative network of people wearing cameras, not so unlike camwhores.com, but aimed at allowing a distributed effort from the individual up at affecting change in the community.

So, in the effort to transform igargoyle into the community site it should be, it will be moving to Thingster soon, as a community site. We will be doing event calendars, as well as encouraging people to moblog in with cameraphones and other cyborg like gadgetry. Right now you can go check out Thingster, in it's alpha stage if you're curious.

Thingster is an open-source weblogging service for locative media. It is being developed by Anselm Hook, Tom Longson and Brad Degraf in association with Locative - a multi-disciplinary group of theorists, artists and engineers exploring the implications of attaching information to place.

Users can publish 'virtual post it notes' about any geographic location: a street intersection, a street address, a restaurant, a hiking trail or a geocache.

Speed and ease of use is a key feature. The time from first seeing the service to making that first post can be less than a minute.

The reward or 'exit strategy' for a project like Thingster is social and environmental. The hope is to enrich neighborhoods such that it becomes easy to discover local services at a lower cost and to create additional environmental awareness.

The hope is that people using Thingster should have a higher quality of life than people not use Thingster - they should simply be 'more fit'.

Thingster is in essence a killer web app for the semantic web- It extends the traditional ideas of blogging to include geographic information, events, photo albums, and much more.

As individuals we all benefit from tools that organize knowledge; tools that help us log our discoveries and interests, that let us share information.

Emerging grass-roots tools for sharing geographic information have a particular value. Such tools provide individuals with a way to share their own view of the world - not a corporate, orthodox or official view with all of the rough edges removed.

Grass-roots cartography - as it continues to evolve - has the potential to let individuals understand their surroundings in depth; to see the web of social, economic and environmental issues that tie their community together.

The better our local knowledge is the better our moment-to-moment decisions can be. This includes where and how we spend money, what natural resources we know of, how we use them and what volunteer, recreational and social opportunities we pursue.

Some ideal examples:

  • A shopper can see that there is a local vendor of vegetables, and to see comments from other people about that persons farm, and the farming practices used.
  • A weekend warrior discovers micro hiking trails not on any map that weave strands through a city otherwise divided by roads and cars... improving quality of life.
  • Subtle clues surrounding some local mystery - a missing pet - or an unusual incidence of break-ins become highly elevated. People can reach out and have a louder voice.
  • Destruction of old growth forest habitat would become immediately clear; visualized on a single map - and a much stronger call to action.

Tools are not there yet but are improving. As they improve individuals will have more power, awareness and hopefully wisdom. Member communities as a whole may then wiser as well; better stewarding their resources. A communities knowledge could be handed as a gift to each successive generation.

Updated at 9:30 on June 9th for clarity.

[Thingster - About Thingster]

Posted by nym at 02:00 PM | TrackBack

June 07, 2004

Serious Robots

wany_robot.jpgWay cool robot platform, suitable for a lot of projects (but please don't put a vacuum on it).

This mobile robot platform from Pekee has "microcontrollers (Mitsubishi M16c) , [a] video camera, 802.11b [WiFi], gyrometers (yum), and temperature, light, shock, and infrared sensors." Of course, if you read this blog, you know that all this gear aint cheap, but you can pick one up for your robotic research for $10,000.

[Link via gizmodo]

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WiFi in unexpected places

Apple has announced their new WiFi device called Airport Express, which besides doing 802.11g in what looks identical to their regular AC adaptor, also does a plethora of other cool things. This guy can play streamed music if you plug in speakers may also act as a WiFi repeater, in case that signal is 'Very Low". Damn Apple, is this what you've been spending your iPod earnings on?


...and on another note:
Apple, why don't you cater to the wearable market at all?

[Link via gizmodo]

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June 05, 2004

Philips KEY019 Digital Camera

philips_key.jpgPhilips has introduced a new digital camera that is being released this week, and makes me drool. Like their earlier model (Philips Camera Key Ring 007), this camera is small. Unlike their earlier model, this one boasts a kopin 0.16 color LCD display (found in some wearable computer HMDs- not to scale in picture). In addition, they boast a 128 meg flash drive, built-in MPEG-4 camcorder (up to twenty-five minutes), 2 megapixel camera, and an MP3 player, and it recharges and transfers files over USB. Understandably, this is a bit more expensive at $222 as far as I can tell, but it still seems like a great buy.

Sweet. Keep it up Philips.

[Link via gizmodo]

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June 04, 2004

Low Light Photography

One of the major problems in wearable computers and digital cameras is getting the best results in nighttime or low light situations. Thankfully, DigitalPhotographyBlog has assembled a list of tips and tip sites on this subject.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

North Korea Bans Cellphones

northkorea.jpgNorth Korea has banned cellphones, what next, cameras? Not sure how many people in North Korea have cellphones, but "Three quarters of South Korean's 48 million people carry at least one mobile phone". North Korea, which unlike Iraq I'm actually worried about, has predictably not given any explanation for the ban. A South Korea newspaper speculated that it may have to do with a train explosion in Ryongchon this April, but I believe the motivations may be more sinister. In 2001, text messaging toppled Joseph Estrada in the Philippines.

"In the charged atmosphere of last week's revolution -- where numbers were crucial -- Estrada could arguably have nipped the protests in the bud by closing down communications while mobilizing forces elsewhere. It might have bought him valuable time."

Please feel free to redistribute my new suggestion for the North Korean flag. I think it's quite appropriate for the current political climate.

Update (June 5th): Thanks to the beautiful and eloquent xeni, this entry got bOingbOing'd yesterday. Also my father told me that the day I published this article was the anniversary of the Tienemen Square Massacre. If you're visiting igargoyle from another site, please check out our daily updates of moblogging, cyborgs, and wearable computing.

[Link via engadget]

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June 03, 2004

WiFi Backpack Repeater

Now that's an antenna.

[Link via /.]

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Climbing SpyBot

spybot_climber.jpgWell, I suppose this goes under the vertical voyeur category, but I can see fun uses for the technology beyond spying on your neighbors. I personally would love a robot that could scale the walls than jump on my friends when they least expect it. On the other hand for 14,000, I'd rather build myself my dream wearable computer with that lovely POV jonescam. I'd be interested to play with this thing though, as it sounds like fun RC toy.

Unlike other robots, the SpyBot Climber does not use suction cups to adhere and climb; instead, it uses patented technology to pull itself to surfaces. With a versatile six-wheeled posi-traction drive train, the robot can travel and maneuver on horizontal, vertical, and even inverted surfaces with ease. The nature of the vortex effect also makes it forgiving of changing surface types. The drive train was designed to be powerful enough to handle an extra 1 lb. (0.45 kg) or more of payload (depending on mission profile), so you can transport additional devices, such as video cameras and transmitters.

[Link via gizmodo]

Posted by nym at 01:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

USB expansion for PocketPCs

This USB card is pretty important to wearable compters since so many of wearables these days are based on PocketPC. The SolarExpress PDA should be out next month. Not sure how much it will cost though.


[Link via engadget]

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June 02, 2004

Wearable Sensors for Martial Arts Blows

bruce_lee.jpgWearable computing just got physical. Somewhat like the military's "smartfibers" that are able to tell when a soldier is shot, researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Stanford University, and Impact Measurement are building wearable computers to measure blows to the body.

"The researchers are testing the system in tae kwon do matches. Information from the sensors combined with the judges' calls makes for more accurate scoring, according to the researchers. The method could also be used for sensing impact in other contact sports and also for videogames."

Also reminds me of that wonderful suit that Robin Williams wore in TOYS that would make funny sounds for different parts of his body.

[Link via gizmodo]

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Wearable Computing Gets Furry

This more artistic than technical hat is designed to allow people to know when you want to listen, or when you're busy listening to music.


[Link via gizmodo]

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3G Plus One = 300Mbps

docomo.gifWell if mobile communications is important to you, this announcement from DoCoMo is sure to please. The figures here are amazing, an average of over 100Mbps, and they were able to achieve 300Mbps from a moving car. Unfortunately Americans won't see this for quite a while as cellphone companies in the states are behind the curve, but it is good news for cellphone users around the world.

"The company said that the test achieved a maximum downstream data rate of 300Mbps with an average rate of 135Mbps in a car running at the speed of 30 kilometers per hour in areas 800m to 1km away from the 4G wireless base stations."

"[4G's average speed] is as at least as fast as any fiberoptic connection you can get at the moment, and means you can stream HDTV to your phone"

[Link via engadget]

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June 01, 2004

More GPS Gadgets

8277418074117263.jpgEngadget just gave some interesting information about some GPS units which act a bit differently. These were originally spotted by the Inquirer at the Computex trade show in Taiwan this week.

BT-318...a Bluetooth GPS module from GlobalSat which has an optional GPRS modem that’ll let you get online with your PDA or laptop (as long as they have Bluetooth, too). The other is Aqik’s new GPS locator for automobiles, which comes with a built-in GSM cellphone so that if your car gets stolen all you have to do is send the locator a text message and you’ll instantly get a message back with its exact location. And since it’s also a phone you can even secretly call it up and listen in on the thieves enjoying your automobile.

[Link via engadget]

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airtext.jpgBy waving the Nokia 3220 camera phone from side to side, the LED lights of the Nokia Xpress-on FunShell light up to "write" a message that appears to float in mid-air.

To airtext, you type in a text like 'call me' then wave it back and forth in the air. As the phone moves, a row of blinking red lights along the top of the phone leaves the phrase trailing behind it."

Turns out a company called Wildseed has done a teen focus group on "Airtexting" with great success. Other names for this new meme are "Light messaging" or "Wave messaging"

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack