Re: Cyborg Seeks Community

Date: Fri Nov 17 2000 - 10:58:27 MST

Anders writes about:
> > >
> I think this is so far perhaps the most
> convincing practical step towards exploring what it would be like to
> be posthuman. The technology is clunky, but it is a forerunner in the
> same way Douglas Englebart's demonstration of a primitive mouse
> interface, cut-and-paste, hypertext and computer network in the 60's
> was a forerunner of today's interfaces and networks.

I agree, this is a fascinating concept and one which I would like to
explore as the technology becomes cheaper. The article mentioned Doug
Platt, an Extropian who was active in this area. Several years ago at
a party at Max's house I met Doug (I think it was Doug) who demonstrated
his wearable equipment, a PC with a chord keyboard he could wear on his
belt, and a head-mounted display (HMD).

> Of course, the big question is whetehr wearables will be the way to
> go, or if PDAs will out-compete them. In the same way, good wearables
> may block development of direct brain-computer interfaces beyond
> medical use.

With the Palm VII and WAP enabled Internet phones, wearables may
seem obsolete, but the display bandwidth provided by these devices is
so limited that it restricts their usefulness. A wireless internet
connection feeding a HMD would be far more useful.

Then the whole idea of mediated reality is fascinating even without
wireless technolgy. Some of Mann's claims seem exaggerated to me;
I don't see how you could remove ads with current technology, other
than putting a manually-controlled opaque window into the display.
However they give us a feel for the kinds of things that will be possible.

Mann's ideas about exploring other sensory modalities are fascinating
as well. He uses sonar sensors with vibrating tactile stimulators to give
a "feel" for what is around and behind you. I saw an article yesterday
about using smells to provide information. While your portfolio is going
up you smell honeysuckle; when it drops there is an odor of burnt toast.
This would be processed unconsciously so you'd always be aware of your
financial status in the back of your mind.

Lots of cool stuff around the corner!


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