RE: a new thread

From: White, Ryan (
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 10:39:55 MDT

I would like to see the HTML format of the dissertation you refer to.

Ryan v23.9


 -----Original Message-----
From: Adrian Tymes []
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2000 8:18 AM
Subject: Re: a new thread

Ian Field wrote:
> Adrian Tymes Wrote:
> | ...and cite the upcoming experiment of one Prof. Warwick, who wishes to
> | hook a device to his and a willing partner's (his wife's) nervous
> | system, such that signals which one device detects are played back in
> | the other's.
> Interesting!

Or the experiment where people are trying to map brain waves to specific
activities, such that they could be used to control artificial bodies
and maybe, eventually, pick up pictures directly from one's mind. (I
forget the details, but it's in one of the back issues of Wired, which
they keep at their site.)

> | You'd need to be able to develop bio-safe implants. Main problem:
> | infections around breached skin (as in, where the skin meets the plug or
> | the display screen). Not a problem in rooms where surgery performed
> | (allows temporary breach to insert devices); major problem for
> | day-to-day use in public spaces.
> I've been thinking in terms of physiological (genetic) modification to the
> nervous system, and possibly nanotechnology to create the physical
> interfaces on an "as-needed" basis (I know - I'm not in a hurry).

Nice dream for the future. But a business would need to get something
out the door en route, to get itself there.

> Consider a dedicated neural "processing" center for i/o and decoding
> it's bidirectional communication) - similiar to speech centers? Add a
> capacity" nerve which connects this center to an ending in, say, your left
> wrist. When a physical interface is required to an external machine, the
> nano-entities create microscopic electronic passageways to the surface of
> the skin, which interact directly with hardware. Advantages to this: 1)
> might not need a "standard" physical interface to connect to (nanotech
> adaptability), 2) probably no infection worries, 3) the nanotech could
> probably insulate the body from any raw electricity or radiation. Also,
> since I've got nano-entities in my world - they might as well repair any
> tissue damage that does occur. :-) Primary disadvantage: this all
> on currently nonexistent technology.

Intermediate step: determine the nature of those microscopic electronic
passageways. Could you come up with some that could be implanted and
left in? If so, then there's no need for nanotech to create them on
demand, thus bringing this much closer to current tech. (The neural
processing center still has to be developed, of course.)

> | * Tymes, Adrian. Direct Sensory Feedback from Prostheses. Diss.
> | UCLA, 1996.)
> :')

Hey, if you've got it, use it (as appropriate). I can send you an HTML
version of this if you want, though it's not the best dissertation out
there, and most of what it argues for has already come into commercial
reality since it was written.

> | Both problems are already being worked on. Perhaps a good first product
> | - tackling only the first issue, not the second - would be a hard drive
> | implanted in one's arm, with an I/O plug or minicomputer worn around it
> | and communicating via induction. The plug/computer could get stolen,
> | but stealing the data would not be a pickpocket's work, as opposed to
> | (say) a laptop.
> I like it! You'd also have one foot in the door on more "complex"
> (see above).

Which is why it is a good *first* product. Chain the products out so
that each one takes you one step closer to your ultimate goal, each one
building on existing tech (previously deployed products counting as
"existing" by definition).

> | Remember, business plans are about *business*. Funders don't care about
> | submissions of proposals to standards bodies - at least, not directly.
> My logic on this: The development of a standard contributes to acceptance
> and validation of your business model. From a risk perspective: theory is
> cheaper than application. From an economic and sociological perspective:
> society is going to require a period of adjustment to even the most
> of "AHCI" applications - the standards process is a good start. There are
> many people who would view even this conversation as immoral/dangerous.

Granted. And for that reason, it would be a good secondary activity for
the business, to protect/enhance acceptance of its products. But just
developing the standard will not, in and of itself, generate revenue, so
you also need something that does.

> | The most overriding question you'll have to address: how are you going
> | to make money off of this? There are many ways you can do this, but you
> | have to look to find them.
> I suppose I would look forward to a decent salary for the next ten years,
> develop a working prototype in late 2009, go into production in 2010,
> in 2012.

Aye, and there's the rub. Businesses have trouble predicting the market
even five years out, so funders don't like to invest in startups that,
even if things go as planned, won't see a penny of income for ten years.
Now, get something that can go into production by 2005, and one can plan
to use the profits from that to fund research through 2010, since the
funders can cash out on the first one if things go bad.

BTW, having retired, what would you do then? If you've been working on
this for ten years, and now that it hits the market, people are coming
up with all kinds of uses, would you really be content to only further
your vision for a mere two years? (Maybe you *could* retire
financially. There's a reason why people like Bill Gates and Larry
Ellison are still with their current companies, regardless of what one
thinks of said companies.)

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