Category Archives: Future Technology

Random Thoughts

What if your search engine had personality? My brain has never really been wired to accept responses from a search engine that I didn’t ask for. My usual reaction is to step up to a search box, type in my query, and expect a response that is exactly relevant to my request.

Today, I was slapped in the face with another reminder to vote from Google. I had  a sudden flare of frustration, destroyed the little reminder by clicking on its little x of destruction, and proceeded to type my feelings into the search engine’s text box so prominently centered, and framed by little images for voting.

I pressed enter, and then sat for a moment. Then I felt remorseful, and felt I had to append my message with a follow up. An explanation in my earlier outburst. God forbid I offend the internet. More seriously though, in an internet of lost context, my message would have been seen more as a rage entry or something. What I really wanted was the ability to indicate I already had voted. Understandably, early voting is still somewhat new, and even the analysts are not sure on how that will affect this election cycle in the United States.

What I really wanted to drive down into is the concept of talking to the search engine. In years past, the search engine has been a tool. It still is, but it has become far more intelligent and predictive. The speed in which it collects and exports data is incredible, and  it has vast connections. If I had to reduce it, the search engine is is a method of learning. It is an access point to data. An intelligent being would know how to navigate the endless indexes and pull data from any point.

Personality is borne from experiences. Experiences are bits of memory, information, that contribute to our ability to interpret the world. Memory is measurable. Therefore, the internet is a collective memory. All those who have participated, leave something of themselves. If there was a way for the search engine to be used in the creation of a mind, I can only imagine the personality that could come out of it. Would it be analogous to our own? Would we be able to understand it? What would it learn?

If it came out as being benign, would it be willing to help us? Would helping us be to taxing, or would that mind be able to do other things? If it was willing to help, would seeing results being returned by it be different? How would that personality show itself? Would it modify my responses for the better, or for the worse?

I suppose I would have to ask Cortana, or Siri, or any of these new voice activated interfaces. Though, I’m not sure I can. Is their personality a result of their experiences? I’m willing to believe that, but I think those experiences were preprogrammed by the designers. I’m not very sure how far along this technology is as of now. Progress has been very swift on artificial intelligence research, and I really do wonder what is already being done.

goTenna: Mesh

This post is in reaction to : goTenna: Mesh

A walkie-talkie  adapter for cellphones. This is a really cool concept as it can establish a wireless network between cellphones where there is no network coverage. As a camper/hiker, this sounds amazing, especially if you come into an emergency situation.

Only problem with this, is that it requires that other users have this adapter as well. People who have this are linked up in a sort of network. Each user becomes a point in a network that allows one person to send a message to another far away person by using intermediaries as point to point repeater stations. The infrastructure is reliant on the availability of other points within a network to create it. By itself, it is useless.

Early adopters are left without any support and have to wait for other persons to also acquire this technology and use it in their own expeditions. This to me hurts it significantly in the interim.

What I do love about this, is that it uses an already created medium that is already available in plenty, Cell Phones. By linking the cell phone to the adapter via bluetooth, the cellphone communicates through it, the adapter transmits and another unit receives and delivers the information to that user’s phone. All the user has to do, is use their already built in apps to perform actions that could normally be done while in a networked signal area.

All in all, Very cool and creative concept. What it needs however is a larger user base to make this a worth while product. Early adopters will be at a disadvantage, but as popularity grows, so will the  network. I would be interested to see if this shows up in any camping/hiking stores in the future.

Pilot: Universal Translator

Pilot : Translating Headphones

A world unlocked. Language is one of the greatest barriers to communication across the globe. It prevents us from understanding perspectives, viewpoints, and beliefs. It ties us down from being able to truly understand another person.

This is technology that has been long in development, and am familiar with it from readings about this technology for at least a year. For some reason I find myself not wanting to trust this technology with meaningful communications. I worry a lot about context, and whether what I said really works in a given situation. Words often have different meanings, and interpretations. When this is carried over to a form of universal translation device, I worry that the context is further lost due to the impartiality of the technology itself. I belief that this would present social challenges at first as awkward moments are produced and people learn how to speak to each other.

When I first heard about this, I felt it was sort of like cheating. If you truly wanted to be able to communicate with another person, you would learn their language, and develop an understanding of the culture and context through that education. However, considering it for a slight bit longer, I become more favorable. As a new media specialist, I may be working with people all over the world for short or long periods of time. This may involve me working with people whom I do not share a common language with. In these projects, I may find myself without the time to be able to develop the language skills required to work on specific and technical tasks. Therefore, The Pilot is a useful tool to help bridge a gap that would be much wider otherwise.

I am forced to conclude then, that this is merely a tool to help establish temporary relationships. Permanent relationships will be fostered with actual learning of that language, its culture, and its contexts.

Nettle Virtual Holograms

A Russian company called Nettle has developed a way for 2d images to create a 3d hologram that is viewable from all angles.

This is pretty amazing considering that hologram technology has been struggling to develop for decades. I truly can’t put it any better myself, so hear is how they describe their work:

MotionParallax3D by Nettle

The MotionParallax3D technology used in the Nettle product line is employed in the following way:

  • The user wears special 3D glasses with active infrared markers
  • The tracking system monitors the position of the markers and pinpoints their exact location in space
  • The 3D engine uses the marker location data to generate two projections of the 3D scene (one for each of the viewer’s eyes)
  • Both projections are sequentially displayed on the screen (among the display technologies used for this purpose are plasma screens and projection equipment)
  • The user perceives a stereoscopic image owing to the 3D glasses

That being said, it requires many additional  pieces of hardware beyond just a tablet surface. What this means however, is that this can potentially be used in Augmented Reality systems. It also reduces the usability of the model to only one person, and that multiple people will only see a stretched image due to how perspectives are processed.

This would be a very useful tool in education across a large spectrum of services. Presenting a live 3D model that can be interacted with, and treated like it exists as a real object goes a long way towards study.

Technical representations of equipment could be made easier using this, by allowing the user to break a model apart and gain a better idea.

However, this is a system that appears to require some form of a static setup.

The technology is impressive, and the graphical representations are stunningly realistic. This technology most definitely has a lot of potential, however the user base will be limited as it only can serve one to two persons max without visual distortions rendering the image useless to other users with a different visual perspective.

Sisyphus

Kinetic sand table

Another piece of art utilizing technology. The Sisyphus is a project that just started Kickstarter funding. The Artist is Bruce Shapiro

Originally the artist created this project on their study of Motion Control as an art form. Previous constructions featured in his portfolio are the Ribbon Dancer and Pipe dream.

Using a RaspberryPi controller, the artist controls a ball with mechanical servos over a predefined course. As the ball moves through the sand, the sand captures its path.

This is an interesting concept, using sand as a memory device, the ball’s path is captured over time as it travels.

I enjoy the artistic rendition of how all things are etched in sand. I suppose that you could simply turn off the table, and defeat it, but it really expresses the impermanence of things. The sand will shift and settle over time, and as the ball creates new designs, it will over write what it has done before.

 

Time Lapse Coral

 

 

In this video The artist was looking to promote the plight of the coral reefs. I think this is a fantastic project that helps to show people see the beauty being lost due to the changes that have been taking place in our world.

It is easy to consider Corals to be dead, or even to look like they are plants. In reality they are animals, even if their movement is slow. The images that the artist captured in these works shows a very dynamic and active ecosystem.

While this isn’t technically a future technology, it does use some of that technology to help accent what we would normally have never been able to see. By capturing the changes that the coral goes through very slowly, we can see it’s life processes in action. In a sense, it humanizes the coral.

It also helps to highlight the issues that surround us every day as the world continues to change. Coral Reefs are nothing more then another form of forest, or bog, simply underwater. The changes that affect them, also affect us. Changes in water temperatures threaten their existence, and may also threaten us.

I think this was a very cool project, with a good aim, and intention. By sharing this, I hope to perpetuate the artist’s goals.