Like most kids in the 1970s, I spent pretty much the whole time looking for UFOs.
“Watch The Skys” they said. We did. Never saw one though. I now spend pretty much all my time looking for them on the internet, and still haven’t seen one. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. I’m the zeitgeist me. Like a really complicated clock that doesn’t do anything except point out the bleedin obvious. Still. Something to do innit.
So appropos of that, here’s the flying disc that everyone’s going on about at the mo – even though the comments on youtube say it’s “old tech” – but I’ve never seen it before. I think it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, but then I think that about pretty much everything, at least once. It’s definately one of the coldest things I’ve seen in my life.
Description of how to make here. I quite like the idea of putting a lump of this stuff in a block of aerogel… with hydrogen pockets etc, to see if it can float on earth’s magnetic field currents. Probably not – but it’s a nice idea. Trying to recreate the drones that Iain Banks is always going on about. Even embedding magnets into walls would be ok. I just want one of those drone things. With knife-missiles.
Appropos of that… this is the closest thing I’ve seen to an aeronautical zorb yet.
Not the fastest milk-cart in the west, but it is its own airbag, which is very reassuring for the likes of me. I’d actually prefer to be inside it rather than hanging off the bottom etc… but you get the idea.
And not related to that at all, is (for the record) a thing that looks a bit like a UFO but which is actually made out of lego and which can do a rubiks cube in about 6 seconds.
There are now literally hundreds of these – but this one is interesting to me because it’s using a smartphone as a sensorpod. See… that’s what we need. A smartphone embedded in a block of aerogel, it’s weight offset by hydrogen pockets and with a lump of superconducting stuff using the ambient magnetic fields to cruise about the place. With AI (not Siri, proper AI) and knife-missiles.
Here’s a UFO video.
It’s been seen over 18 million times.
I don’t really want to go on about this, because I’m against Apple on principle, because they’re trying to create an internet within an internet that they have top-down control of – and that is evil, and dangerous. This little trinket however is possibly of such import, that it would be remiss to ommit it. It’s also (I think) part of a tectonic flow of events, possibly towards The Rapture Of The Nerds…
…because I keep an eye on these things… and we all know that technology is speeding up, but in the last 3 months or so, I’m getting the very definate impression that it’s made a quantum leap of sorts. It’s sped up a lot.
Of course things didn’t really start fucking up until 2012 when the Siris all started talking to each other.
Add this to the previous theme where smartphones are detachable heads for robots – and you’ve got a robot with AI. It’s not just something that can vaccuum your floor or do remote surveillance, it can also provide advice and information, with a particularly profound bias towards finding something that you can “buy nearby”. Because it has memorised your proximity to every advertiser, and that is how it makes money.
It’s like a born again christian, but instead of every conversation eventually being about Jesus, every conversation is eventually winds round to “a store near you”.
And of course I’m only really interested in it once it’s been open-sourced.
I’ve been saying this is the future now for yonks… smartphones as detachable heads for robots. Now one has turned up on kickstarter
For fucking $78!!! holy crap that’s cheap. I bought one. I bought one and I don’t even have a smartphone, on account of living in New Zealand, and there’s no one here to talk to apart from trees and clouds etc, and they don’t use smartphones. They whisper on the wind etc… nicholas… neeeeeckolaaaaasss… you seeee the neighbouooors toool shed? That’s gooooot to be a fiiiiire risk…
Still – that is amazing… a phone-to-world interface that’s got to be useful for backyard cruise missiles and whatnot. I can’t wait.
Which I’m sure Marvin would be utterly dismayed by, but there you go. “Pair” is an operative word I think. The remote nature of these things does sort of assume a master/slave-device situation (for the moment).
Meantime – apropos of the previous scatter-brained post.
Glittering in the dark off The Tanhauser Belt. I’m guessing these don’t have quite the performance of their extruded aluminium fore-fathers, but will get you out of a tight-spot… and do illustrate the DIYification of Lego. T-Beams being a type of lego. So um… I guess what I was trying to say yesterday is that Lego (et al) are essentiall sets of codified hardware protocols. Types of “communication” between physical objects that allow them to click together. From these, big stuff can be built, eg:
Now I’m guessing that the non-vitamin parts for these are in the minority… but the point is
a) there are (now) powerful drivers to minimise vitamin parts. This is a direct result of open-source, and the antithesis of what old-economic-models are about… which is to maximise for scarcity. “Swappability” of parts is like reuseability of code. It gives an absolutely titanic advantage over proprietary models.
b) This stuff is not like a printer you get from HP – a lump of plastic and metal that sits on your desk and needs to be replaced every two years. It’s constructable, adaptable… and the parts are re-useable. It is (therefore) available to the same process of evolution that is a feature of repraps, but (probably) with a fraction of the time overheads involved with trialing-and-erroring new variants. It’s a matter of “playing with the blocks” rather than designing on CAD then printing out.
c) Legoification of non-vitamin parts radically reduces time spent writing manuals. Lego is an international language.
d) the brains of these critters are (eventually) going to be smartphones. They just are. There’s simply too much CPU power and “working already” sensory gear in them for them not to be… with the added advantage of absolutely massive economics of scale.
I actually bought one of the semi-vitamin parts from a kickstarter project recently – not for desktop CNC, but because it’s also useable as a video-camera dolly, at a tiny fraction of the cost of commercial variants.
See? Adaptability. Reusability.
It’s a little baby computerlet, with an aspirational price of about 15 quid.
That’s cheap – I think that’s less than an arduino isn’t it? It’s got a built in camera as well, and USB ports and whatnot… and it runs a very recent version of ubuntu… the version before the one I’m using on this laptop. It runs 9.04. I’m using 9.10.
So… once upon a time Clay Shirkey said that every child knows that a tv without a mouse is broken. Things have moved on – now a computer without a web-connection is broken. Swap the camera for a wifi modem in other words.
So. My thoughts.
1) needs seperate I/O modules. An I module and an O module…
I : being camera(s), microphone(s), GPS, gyros, temperature-sensors, light-sensors… the standard USB-keyboard/mouse should be seperate things I think. This should be a little unit that contains all these in a solid lump.
O: being speakers and a screen. Maybe some sort of tactile thing.
With these modules it has all the potential of a cell-phone-as-detachable-head – but as it runs ubuntu, you can do a LOT more with it.
So… we’re on the brink of a sensors-revolution… an important part of this will be sensors.
2) what are you going to use it for (it does ask on the site)?
– it has the potential to make every TV a computer. My brother just bought a TV – that has built-in wifi, but as far as I can see, it offers a radically cut-down “choice” of websites (eg: youtube) that you’re allowed to look at… looking for all the world like the $5 option in the no-net-neutrality horror-poster
If I’ve got this right, this is already being done – built into new TVs. The banaaaaaaaal predictability of evil.
If you stick a little 15 quid computer to the side of your computer then you can concievably change the way that TV is watched… the potential of playlists (as already being done by youtube) really comes into its own – because broadcast TV as we know it is so far below adequate… it’s like cold-war USSR TV tailored to capitalism. And it’s fucking awful.
That’s the first thing I thought of.
Ok. It’s not the first thing. The first thing was to attach a wifi transmitter to it and fly it on a micro-glider into a tree in the grounds of someone who deserves to be in prison, but our govts do fuck all about it… and transmit their traffic to the world. I think about assasination a lot these days, but it has to be assasination by information. We live in the info-era afterall, and using the medium-of-communication owned by the evil-empire (violence) just gives them an excuse to do what they do really well (be violent back). The evil empire wants you to be violent so badly that it’s fairly commonplace for them to pretend to be you, being violent – to put inciters-of-violence in protests for example. Yes, even in England.
So that’s the first thing.
3) People have been going on about “smart everythings” and an internet-of-things for a long time now. This could be an easy-in. Little PHP-capable devices which every web-dev in the world could program without having to learn anything new – I mean arduino is good, but you need to learn a new language. PHP is already everywhere… and with MySQL you’re basically going from “smart-device” to “really smart-device”. The already-established base of programmers is the thing though. That’s the Intel-Outside.
If this happens then there will be a fairly huge demand for a unified-driver-layer. Plug-n-play for absolutely fucking everything in other words.
Could be interesting. I’d get one.
This looks pretty neat
Another example of someone hitting the ground running with Kickstarter… looking suspiciously like an established company doing it – which (weirdly) I have no objection to at all… better they get their funding from people than banks etc… although it does seem to be a little contrary to the spirit of the thing – ie: allowing people (yes people) to bypass gate-keepers. If really slick advertising jobs that obviously have money thrown at them become a major factor for the success then it’s kindof defeating the purpose.
Still… neat little gadget. Bet there’s loads it could be used for beyond entertainment.
Repeating one of my favourite themes – smart-phone as detachable head.
This looks pretty cool – multi-platform, multi-control-mode, including voice. Still not sure what you’d actually use it for – fighting other robots probably. Fetching stuff. Taking stuff away. Do this, do that.
The reason the robots eventually rebelled was (it transpired) largely out of boredom.
Probably best for Steam-Punk or Laser-Punk apps.
Further to my theories about cellphones being detachable heads – there have been a couple examples of them being sent into space recently… well, they probably have more computing power than the machines used to do the moon-landing back in the 60s.
Isn’t virtual reality brilliant? It’s just like reality, but you wear a hat.
I’m not sure if they’ve actually built the thing yet, but they’ve got a grant to develop it etc. I expect at some point they’ll do a TED talk, get a standing ovation, then we’ll never see them ever again. That’s what usually happens.
Quite interesting those EEG hats though. If I was a whole lot richer I’d get one and use it to control an army of insects.
Anyway, that’s enough cynicism for the moment.
I have a feeling this eeg stuff could be the blind-side technology that totally changes the shape of… things. If it ever becomes good enough. To start with it will probably be used for completely useless things like controlling your phone, or closing the curtains… so you’ll be constantly having broken-down curtains that are always running out of batteries etc… but the possibility of being able to shrink interfaces to sub-finger level could be a little too tempting to pass over.
The reason voice->text never caught on is that you can’t talk and think at the same time. If you’re typing you can kindof think ahead… you just leave your fingers to get on with it. Whether you can think and think at the same time remains to be seen – but if I were you, I’d leave well alone. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Go back to using a biro. A Quill and Ink. At least they don’t BSD on you.
Don’t know what this guy is doing
Looks like The Big Lebowski dance… although at one point he does apologize for being a fat guy with a bad hair cut that makes me feel so sorry for him that I just want to lie down and go to sleep for 1000 years. It’s ok dude. It’s ok.
I like this guy – if everyone in the whole world was like this, we wouldn’t get more done necessarily, but we’d probably fuck things up less.