Out on the Bleeding Edge


New technology fascinates me, partly because I know it’s far beyond my own ability to develop these things and partly because I want to know what’s coming “next,” what innovations are going to change our lives a year from now or five years from now. Here are a few things that I’ve come across recently:

Nerve-tapping neckband makes “telepathic” chat possible
Implications: 1) Talk on your cellphone without anyone around you hearing what you’re saying. 2) People with ALS will be able to “speak.” 3) Handicapped people can have “voiceless” control of wheelchairs and other devices. 4) “Augmenting human intelligence” by transmitting your “thoughts” wirelessly to the Internet (e.g., “where can I find a pizza restaurant near here?”) and sending query results back to you.

Watch “the world’s first ‘voiceless’ phone call”:

Mind-reading now 92% accurate
Implications: 1) Quadriplegics issuing commands to computers via brain scan. 2) Watching or analyzing another person’s dreams. 3) “A general brain-reading device that could reconstruct a picture of a person’s visual experience at any moment.”

New (fake) social networking site trolls your computer to share all of your personal information with “friends” online
OK this one is a joke, and it points to some of the pitfalls that all of this new technology can bring us. I just hate to make a list with less than three items. It aint much of a list at that point now, is it?

UPDATE: Here’s one I forgot about (until just now)—visual search engine SearchMe.com. It’s basically taking “CoverFlow” from Apple and applying it to a search engine. I like the concept, but I just wonder how long it’ll be before Google implements this and SearchMe will be no more.

Anyway, here’s the demo:

UPDATE 2: YouTube announced a little innovation as well this week. Implications: 1) Use the “chromeless” YouTube player and customize it for your personal/corporate website. 2) Allow website visitors to record videos directly to YouTube via your website (e.g., add a “video booth” on your website that captures video into YouTube but plays and displays on your website).

And more, as explained in this … YouTube video:

UPDATE 3: OK last update on this, I think. The TED conference has announced they’ll be opening their archives online soon. The first release is Nicholas Negroponte speaking at the first TED conference in 1984 (I had no idea they were that old!?). The video is 25 minutes of excerpts from his 2-hour long talk (the 18-minute rule had not yet been implemented), and it foreshadows CD-ROMs, Web interfaces, service kiosks, the touchscreen interface of the iPhone, and his own One Laptop per Child project. The “Lip Service” virtual conferencing idea that he talks about at the end is still pretty futuristic. It does make you wonder what the future will be like when virtual reality becomes as ubiquitous as the Internet is to (many of) us now.



Posted on 03-16-2008

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