The Speculative Event Horizon

“The Future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed”

Actually, the future was here ages ago, but most of it never happened. 2013 is almost jumping-distance from turning into 2014… and the only thing that’s really changed at Taylor Towers is that we now have Fibre-Optic… which makes the internet here the same speed as it was when I was in Estonia, about 5 years ago.

I collect open browser tabs – in the hope that some sort of theme will coalesce… and I’ve got a bunch of open tabs now, which are to do with bodily augmentation/interface. Mainly interface. Then it occurred to me that most of this isn’t actually real. It’s renderings. It’s like this shockwave of speculative invention that gets as far as the drawing-board, maybe as far as a 3D printer, but then it stops… because it’s main purpose isn’t actually to “be a thing”, but to “be an idea that gets talked about”.

Which is fair enough I guess, except that a lot of the time, it’s pretending to “be a thing”. Maybe this wave of innovation that never seems to actually happen has something to do with IP. Maybe people are just “having ideas” then locking them up in the hope of selling them. Say what you like about Open-Source… at least the DIY revolution is stuff that is actually happening – and the fact that it’s DIY means that it’s primary artefact is not “the thing”, but the instructions on how “I could do that too”.

Oy vey – here’s a bunch of stuff I found interesting. It hasn’t happened. It might… but probably only if we do it ourselves.

1) Buzzy Tactile Ring Thing

Quite a neat idea – a little lump of electronics… when you touch it (or whatever) a sister-device, somewhere else, buzzes/lights up. It’s a kind of remote-intimacy thing for people who say “no you hang up first… no you hang up” etc. The web-site looks pretty well put together – but the indiegogo page seems to have disappeared, and it appears to be some sort of investment company for bright young things. I’ve got a problem with “investment companies”. There’s something a bit ponzi about them.

That said – looking at their biog, if anyone can do this – they can… it’s just that it hasn’t yet, and it’s part of this whole shockwave of “future products” that are treated as though they already exist, but don’t. Quite.

2) Sign Language Translator


Won a design award. Looks cool.

3) Phone Gloves where you talk to your fingers


These have crossed the void into the real. You can actually buy them – and they’re not massively expensive either. Italian.

4) Massive Occulus Rift type thing from a couple of years back

massive occulus rift thing

Had smellovision, and wind. Never actually happened as far as I can gather – though to be fair they did say “ready in 5 years, 4 years ago”, to be unfair… 5 years is the “I know it will happen, but I don’t know when” event-horizon.

5) Retinal Prosthesis

Argus II

Which looks to me, a bit like google-glass, which feeds signals directly to the nervous system, and in the yet-to-be-invented model, direct to the brain. At the bottom of the page they say they already have the capability to make devices that allow you to see better than you already do – although that claim might be more to do with journalistic enthusiasm than anything that anyone actually said.

Still… the generational improvement in pixels has been 16, 60, 200… that’s fairly impressive. They currently cost about a million dollars each.

6) Vascular Access Glasses

Allow you to see blood vessels. They’re looking for distributors apparently… the words “Evena Sparrow is not available in the U.S., EU and many other developed nations” don’t exactly inspire confidence… and like so many of these things, there aren’t photos – just digital mockups. So who knows.

7) Wearable Motion Trackers

From Kickstarter – but they’ve cancelled it… say they’re going to re-launch in the new year.

8) Leap Motion to be incorporated into HP Keyboards

It’ll be interesting to see how much they hike the price on these – given that a leap unit on its own only costs $80… although obviously in New Zealand they cost $160.

So there you go. Uneven distribution of reality.

Wearable tech. It’s virtual.