Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We do what we must because we can

Today I am posting about a new project that I just started. It's not something new, actually. Steve Mann has been doing this since the 1980s but now it seems to be possible with low-cost hardware and some DIY skills. I'm going to build a wearable computer. And I am going to document this in a way that you can make your own. I may even produce and sell these as cheap as possible. I think this may have a great impact on society, just look at a few ideas of what I would implement (hardware side):

  • Head-mounted display
  • First-person camera
  • Pupil/Gaze tracking "mouse"
  • Pinch glove "keyboard"
  • UMTS internet uplink
And what would be possible:
  • Hands-free access to the web all time
  • Copy and paste text from reality into the Google search bar
  • Catalogue of all people you ever met, combined with face recognition
  • Instant recording and replay of every moment in your life
  • Tweeting what you see wherever you are
  • Decipher QR codes by looking at them
And I guess you can continue that list with a lot of ideas of your own.

Well, I am a technology enthusiast. I do this because it is possible. I am aware that this may have unforseen consequences. But this is not going to make me stop, no that is even making the whole thing more interesting. This morning I met Steffen Kurpierz, my former ethics teacher. I told him about my ideas and about how it could change everything. He asked the question that I had not thought about until then: Do we want those changes to happen? However, I think that we cannot stop the development anymore. Also it looks like the Japenese would love such a thing. Very dystopian, isn't it? Let me remind you that there is a company in Japan working on this right now and they are planning to make this available as a consumer product in 2020. Looks like that video is actually part of a viral marketing campaign for the Iron Man 2 movie. All other developments that I know are targeted at industrial or military use. But I am sure there are people working on this as a consumer product. If not, at least I am. We cannot stop it anymore but maybe we can influence the direction this goes. I recommend you to read this article (two parts, german) with wearable hardware in mind.

Well, while I've been writing this I got an email that the package containing the wearable display I ordered has been shipped. I will order the beagleboard as soon as it is available again. I am so excited.

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