The Human-Human Interface

“So I can look at you from inside as well”

The World Right Now

Experienced the latest in x-ray technology on my dental visit last week. ViperRay captures the dental x-rays and displays them direct to personal computer. Runs on Windows XP, Pentium IV. Health care cost pressures are pushing the technology to uncover greater efficiencies, but the result here is patient access to more and deeper information about their own bodies. And once it’s on the computer, well, I don’t think anyone wants a BLOG of x-rays of my slowly decaying body, but… (Bonus points for naming the song and band that the header quote came from.)

“The end result is quicker diagnosis, enhanced patient communication, and the financial savings from eliminating the on-going use of film and chemicals.” The dental assistant said less x-ray exposure for the patient, but I’m not sure that’s right.

Now, Everybody Does Something About the Weather

The World Right Now

NOAA Weather Radio has made possible access to state-of-the-art government weather tracking information in a bewildering variety of consumer formats. You can also get the Weather Bug on your PC desktop, cellphone, or eventually that tattooed integrated circuit just under the watch on your left wrist. Bringing you the world right now, and the world a couple of hours from now as well.

“NOAA Weather Radio is a service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. Department of Commcerce, and is the ‘voice of the National Weather Service.’”

And there are competitors. I have their “bug” on my laptop’s system tray – it starts blinking when there’s a local forecast update.

“WeatherBug, the leading provider of weather information services, owns and operates a proprietary network of 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations and more than 1,000 cameras that are strategically placed at schools, public safety facilities and television stations throughout the U.S.”

Storm Hawk is the first hand-held weather device with GPS moving map technology for use on land and sea. Get real-time and forecast weather information on demand, displayed in graphics and text, for your specific location.

Smaller Cheaper Faster

Personal Infrastructure

Seeing the MIT Media Lab $100 PC made me remember what the low-cost Asian manufacturers do every year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Last January, I saw the Latte – 3 GHz processor in a 4 pound, one square foot package. I’m typing this on a laptop that weighs the same and has one-quarter the processing power.

“the world’s smallest P4 system…the fastest and smallest mini-PC in the world.”

Cheaper Laptops

Personal Infrastructure

MIT is not a large-scale manufacturer, so the practicality of this plan remains to be seen, but it seems clear that riding Moore’s Law to a much lower price point would do more to spread general purpose computing power to more people around the world.

“The MIT Media Laboratory expects to launch a prototype of its US$100 laptop in November, according to Nicholas Negroponte, the lab’s chairman and co-founder. The facility has been working with industry partners to develop a notebook computer for use by children in primary and secondary education around the world, particularly in developing countries. The laptops should start appearing in volume in late 2006. “In emerging nations, the issue isn’t connectivity,” Negroponte said at the Emerging Technologies Conference on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Cambridge campus Wednesday. “That’s not solved, but lots of people are working on it in Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, etc. For education, the roadblock is laptops.””

Google Boosts Wi-Fi

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

As I’ve said before, ”Wi-Fi technology looks like the most organic source of development of network infrastructure. Like phototropism, the bandwidth grows and develops in the direction of the most interest and need.” Sexy corporate funding will create buzz and might juice infrastructure in the short term, but centralized Fortune 500 planning may work counter to the natural evolution of the technology.

“’Google has submitted a proposal to offer free, wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) to the entire city of San Francisco,’ Google said in a statement.”

Material Unity

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

This National Science Foundation report dates back to 2002, surveying convergent technologies in nanoscience, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. The following quote from the introduction caught my eye recently

“Convergence of diverse technologies is based on material unity at the nanoscale and on technology integration from that scale. The building blocks of matter that are fundamental to all sciences originate at the nanoscale. Revolutionary advances at the interfaces between previously separate fields of science and technology are ready to create key transforming tools for NBIC technologies. Developments in systems approaches, mathematics, and computation in conjunction with NBIC allow us for the first time to understand the natural world, human society, and scientific research as closely coupled complex, hierarchical

systems. At this moment in the evolution of technical achievement, improvement of

human performance through integration of technologies becomes possible.”

Grids Within Grids

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

More lessons of the Internet applied to electricity generation. If we’re getting more wired, we need to deal with the environmental impact of greater electricification.

“Small networks of power generators in “microgrids” could transform the electricity network in the way that the net changed distributed communication. That is one of the conclusions of a Southampton University project scoping out the feasibility of microgrids for power generation and distribution…Microgrids are small community networks that supply electricity and heat. Microgrids, say the researchers, could easily integrate alternative energy production, such as wind or solar, into the electricity network. …That network could be made into a smart grid using more sophisticated software and grid computing technologies. As an analogy, the microgrids could work like peer-to-peer file-sharing technologies, such as BitTorrents, where demand is split up and shared around the network of “users”.”

A tip of the NeuroHat to the Da Vinci Institute News from the Future newsletter.

We’re All on the Solar Grid

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

This one may seem contradictory to the item I logged a couple days ago, about portable power. The whole thrust of solar energy true believers is to “get off the grid”. But in my view, you are just hooking into the much, much larger solar grid. The fact that this project is underwritten by software entrepreneur Bill Gross’s Idealab incubator, applying an Internet model of business development, underscores a convergence of interests around interconnection.

“Our solar energy systems empower environmentally conscious customers to achieve utility independence and save money on energy. Our expertise in engineering, capital financing, construction management, and customer service is the reason many of California’s forward-thinking companies have chosen to rely on EI Solutions.”

Location Based Services for the Newly Mobile

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

The viral success of the mobile phone industry, to the point of replacing the wireline phone in increasing numbers of households, brought the attention of the FCC to reinventing the 911 emergency service for the mobile world. This has spawned rapid growth in technologies for interconnecting the untethered – from established giants like Cisco to focused start-ups like Intrado. Intrado’s core corporate focus on E911 shouldn’t obscure the potential for other location-based services and capabilities – what’s the nearest pizza joint to where my car is right now?

“The Cisco Wireless Location Appliance is the industry’s first location solution that simultaneously tracks thousands of devices from directly within the WLAN infrastructure—bringing the power of a cost effective, high-resolution location solution to critical applications such as high-value asset tracking, IT management and location based security.”

Intrado provides the core of the nation’s 9-1-1 network and delivers innovative solutions to communications service providers and public safety organizations, including complex data management, network transactions, wireless data services and notification services.

Princeton Global Consciousness Project

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

A major academic institution has an ongoing project to compile the empirical evidence for a rising global consciousness. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

“Personal experience is supported by a growing number of good experiments which show that consciousness and intention have subtle but important effects in the world. We know that groups of people sometimes experience a special resonance of feelings and ideas, and recent scientific evidence indicates that effects of coherent group consciousness can be detected with appropriate instruments. The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) is an international collaboration of researchers extending this research to global dimensions via the Internet. The project uses technology and methods designed to record effects of events that stimulate us to integrate as a world-wide consciousness. Examples include the funeral ceremonies of Princess Diana, the first hour of NATO bombing in Yugoslavia, and a few minutes around midnight on any New Years Eve.”

“The Global Consciousness Project is an ongoing, long-term experiment, and the results from the instances that have been analyzed thus far show considerable evidence of a correlation between particular events and the data from our network of random event generators. A summary for nearly four years (to May, 2002) shows a highly significant result. It is tempting to draw the conclusion that a true global consciousness is creating the anomalous effects.”