Personal Infrastructure

“Case was twenty-four. At twenty-two, he’d been a cowboy, a rustler, one of the best in the Sprawl…jacked into a custom cyberspace deck that projected his disembodied consciousness into the consensual hallucination that was the matrix.”
– William Gibson

Smart Motes

Personal Infrastructure

Smart Dust – Smart Motes –

“Intel believes that someday billions of embedded chips and sensing devices will be integrated into objects and locations that are part of our daily lives: clothing, baby cribs, cars, swimming pools, office buildings, hospitals — even vineyards and farms…Today, sensor motes monitor temperature throughout the vineyard. Each mote in the vineyard currently takes one temperature reading per minute and stores the results. The mote records the highest and lowest temperature readings for each hour of the day.

Someday these sensors may also act upon the environment. Imagine sensors that could monitor soil moisture to irrigate only the sections that needed it, or monitor crops to keep them free from pests and diseases.”

Smart Dust

Personal Infrastructure

I don’t believe this, but I’m going to do more research in case.

“Smart Dust” is basically very miniaturized electronic devices. This is similar to stuff like RFID, smart cards, EZ Pass and those rice grain size tracking devices you can have injected into your pets. But Smart Dust takes this all to a new level by being small enough to be disguised as dirt, the kind you can pick up in your shoes or clothing. Each bit of Smart Dust can be given a unique serial number that, when hit with an “interrogation signal” from troops on the ground, or aircraft overhead, is broadcast back.”

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Personal Infrastructure

Here’s another real world deployment of biometrics combined with video monitoring. It shows the short step from terrrorism concerns to monitoring anyone who disagrees with current Administration policies.

“With practice, you can recognize the video spies in the city of Washington, DC. To a casual observer, they resemble lampposts. Some of the cameras have a 360 degree view and magnify by a factor of 10-17. Some are equipped with night vision and can zoom in on a target well enough to read text on a written page or look into a building. Most are placed at locations that would not come to mind as primary terrorist targets: Smithsonian Castle, the U.S. Department of Labor, Dupont Circle, Union Station, Wisconsin Avenue, the Old Post Office, and the Banana Republic in Georgetown. Though the targets they view may not stand out as particularly vulnerable to terrorism, the cameras are placed strategically for the purpose of monitoring demonstrations and protests.”

Biometrics and Mass Transit

Personal Infrastructure

Biometrics coming to a bus stop near you.

“The Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver, Colorado has adopted 3D facial recognition for physical access control to secure its Treasury. RTD is using A4Vision’s Vision Access 3D Face Readers raise security levels. The new readers verify that RFID access cards used with the Lenel access control system for access to the Treasury are being used only by designated, authorized holders. RTD also uses A4Vision’s Vision Enrolment Station to enroll authorized individuals in a 3D facial recognition database that stores and manages identity information and access parameters. Jim Hawver, A4Vision VP of Sales, said, “Denver RTD’s investment in A4Vision’s 3D facial recognition products marks a significant adoption, considering the potential of 3D facial biometrics for mass transit security.”

Mobile Power

Personal Infrastructure

Battery power duration and energy levels are one dimension of limits on portable devices. There appears to be a lot of upside in this area.

“Despite their high energy density, lithium batter-ies are not used in cars

and other transportation applications because they cannot deliver power at

a sufficiently high rate. Kang et al. (p. 977) report a combined

theoretical and experimental exploration of a class of battery electrodes

with a layered transition-metal structure that permits much faster lithium

ion transport. The results suggest a general strategy for improving

lithium-battery power delivery.”

Self Powering

Personal Infrastructure

Powering remains a big question in the migration of personal telecom devices closer to and then within the human body. Here’s an interesting approach.

“Devices implanted in the body require power, which is normally delivered by batteries, but a number of approaches have been proposed to tap into the power or fuel sources the body already provides. Wang and Song (p. 242) have converted mechanical energy into electrical energy by deflecting anchored ZnO nanowires with a conductive atomic force microscope tip. The strain field created by bending the nanowires with the tip caused charges to separate and build up on opposite sides of this polar material. The tip and nanowire form a rectifying Schottky barrier so that built-up charge is released as electrical current when the tip crosses from one face polarity to the other.”


Personal Infrastructure

Bill Gates is still ridiculing the idea, but the cheap computer is gaining steam.

“A Chinese company has claimed to have developed the nation’s first

low-cost computer priced at 125 US dollars, using an indigenous central

processing unit and the new product will hit the market in June, a

report said today…

The performance of Longmeng, or Dragon Dream, is equivalent to a 1G

Pentium III desktop, according to Zhang. It is a computer, a DVD player

and also a video game player. The computer, equipped with standard PC accessories,

is portable as it is the size of a textbook and weighs 500 grams.”


Brain Computer Interface

Personal Infrastructure

For a more grounded view of the electric brain, here’s a year-old article from Science.

“This fall, surgeons implanted 100 electrodes into the brain of a 25-year-old quadriplegic man and connected them to a computer that enables him to check his e-mail and choose a television channel with his thoughts alone. And monkeys with similarly implanted electrodes have used brain signals to move cursors or robotic arms in two dimensions (Science, 24 January 2003, p. 496). Now, in a groundbreaking development, two neuroscientists from the Wadsworth Center, part of the New York State Department of Health in Albany, have shown that similar feats may be possible without the dangers of inserting electrodes into the brain. This week, in the online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Wadsworth’s Jonathan Wolpaw and Dennis McFarland demonstrate a brain-computer interface (BCI) that can translate externally detected brain signals into both horizontal and vertical movement of a computer cursor.”

Good Vibrations

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I believe there’s a lot to be learned about the electrical nature of the brain and body. I’m not sure this device reflects much in the way of learning, but hey, they have an office just down the street from my house. Maybe I’ll drop in. Lord knows my cells have not been “vibrating at their optimal frequency” in years.

The VIBE Machine – (Vibrational Integration Bio-Photonic Energizer) It uses the principle that life forms can absorb radio wave energy to strengthen the cells of the body against physical imbalances and infection. The device creates a strong electromagnetic field that raises the vibration of your cells to their optimal frequency. By sitting next to the machine, one receives the benefits of this energy field.

A related product is Lifewave.

“The LifeWave Energy Enhancer patches contain the LifeWave technology. The patches are constructed from a patent pending blend of water, stabilized Oxygen, amino acids and sugars sealed inside of a plastic shell. These materials are put through a proprietary process and applied to a substrate so as to form a nano-scale organic antenna. This organic antenna is then “programmed” like a computer chip. When properly assembled, these LifeWave antennas are capable of passively communicating with the user to instruct the body to improve energy and stamina. Endorsements from Olympic swimming coach Richard Quick and LPGA Hall of Fame golfer JoAnne Carner.”

Brain Fingerprinting

Personal Infrastructure

This one sounds borderline crackpot, but it doesn’t seem that far from the realm of biometrics generally. It would be a subtler investigation to correlate a brain “fingerprint” with personality, memories, consciousness, but surely an interesting one.

“The Colorado House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Brain Fingerprinting Testing will take place Thursday, March 9, at 1:30 p.m., in Colorado State Capitol, Room 0112. This is a critical bill that the DaVinci Institute has been working towards for the past two years. The impact of Brain Fingerprinting will be global as a valuable tool for more efficient and cost-effective justice and increased public safety.

The inventor of Brain Fingerprinting testing, Dr. Lawrence Farwell, caught a last minute flight into Colorado and is scheduled to offer expert testimony at the hearing. Other stakeholders in criminal justice and corrections are invited to attend either to just observe and learn, or to offer comments on the technology.”