Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Internet of Things

Equator Emergy (M.R.G. = Mixed Rality Gadgets; Energetic, Emergent, etc)

 Last Updated: September 20, 2005 

Cybermon (c.f. Cyberdog, in Camden Lock Market), creates inventions that are just south of the equator, but also just north of the equator, so its really just a question of mental latitude

Why? Because:

this is a denial of service attack on patent-hungry industry

after Pokemon, Digimon, now we have Cybermon....populated by weird, and quite possibly monstrous, ideas - for example, here are several we prepared earlier...

Coctail d'Eau - Orpheus in Cyberspace

In Cocteau's movie, Orphee, the poet, having listened to coded messages in the surreal radio broadcasts of Eluard, travels to Hell to rescue his friend, Eurydice, by traveling through mirrors. Mirrors, which look remarkably like water (only hanging in space, exactly the way a Iain Banks novel, doesnt). The Coctail d'eau is a haptic feedback device that doesn't exert force, but rather, viscosity.

Virtual Homing-Pigeon-Brain in a T-Shirt

I was talking to some folks about wearable computers today -they envisage a network woven into clothes RATHER than wireless - since this reduces the power requirement a lot ... and it occcurred to me that such a network would prbably be quite sensitive to the magnetic and electrical fields of the earth - now its well known (since a paper inScince back in 1979) that pigeons can detect the gradient of the earths magnetic field and use this to assist navigation - how much date one gets is unknown, but with a few meters of wiring around a person, one ought to be able to do a lot better than a pigeon. or is it just a virtual-pigeon-brained idea?

Fridge Cam-lets

You've heard of fridge magnets? well these are bluetooth capable webcams you stick on the fridge (inside or out) so that you can look at stuff from remote (if say your home phone is a bluetooth/dect/gsm n-band phone (when oh when wil lsomeone ship a gsm/dect home base station thats priced sensibly, eh?)). So inside the fridge, they need to be able to actuate the light too (unless of course you are a true believer and know that the light doesnt really stay out when you close the fridge door:).

So then, from the shop, not recalling if you are clean out of chicken nuglets or smoked salmon, you can from your cell phone, call your fridge (well, you dial home and ask your bluetooth manager gateway to) and ask it to show you whats on each shelf.

cam-let - now there's a neat name:) you stick em here, you sticck em there, and see what's going on...

wipod - a radio, how quaint!

how often is it you can't find the cable to link your mp3/digitalcamera/programmablewatch to your laptop and the internet? yes, almost daily - so what we want, and we will get it is low cost short haul wireless - now dunno bout you, but 2 of my laptops do bluetooth, as do all 6 cell phones in my house (6 people live here ranging from 7-50 years old). So we dont want them thar wires no more. not if you can help it.

of course someone is gonna shout "security!". well thats why bluetooth is the way it is - true, with wifi, you'd wanna have some sort of ipsec, or higher level vpn , or even just straight ssh tunnel to the device, but hey, that software all exists, all fits in modest chunks of memory, and we are talking about devices that store Gigabytes of music and images, and have respectable audio/video software in - a complex comms stack should be a needle-in-a-haystack - oops- wrong analogy; should be in the noise; oops - still wrong analogy - um, so the comms stack should not be a significant extra burden - they already got USB and other gubbins in there. lets just have an IP bluetooth stack and a secure wifi stack and be done with - you know it makes cents.

The Hairt

its very frustrating when you meet people who have only seen your picture on a web page...esp. if you are pictured there with longer/shorter hair - the solution is the new device the Hairt

this is a scottish sounding device that you put on your head and it has a sensor that detects people by cookies, given them when they last visited your website, and displays the haircut on your head that is most familiar to them - if you meet two people, it morphs the haircut to meet both viewpoints....

in a crowd, it probably does best if it makes it look like you have nits..

The Gurl

The gurl ("grab URL") is a pair of glasses - they posses a small camera AND an overlay display - when you see a URL on a real world object, they capture and OCR it for later upload via irda to your palm/phone.... if another person has seen an object with some interesting symbl on it, they can label the object with that symbol and an associated URL (for example they see a truck with a particulalr registration, and want to remind you if you see it to do something (crash into it for example) - so then you see a virtual URL


after we bought you the hairt, and the gurl, now we have the karmalian

this is a piece of material like a j-cloth that can wrap around and stick to anything and then (via bluetooth) receives an image of itself and its surroundings from a "nearby camera" (or even a CIA surveillance satellite) - it then changes color/pattern to as close as possible to the surroundings, thus hiding/concealing what is is wrapped around - initial use is to hide my mug in plain view so people stop stealing it from the staff common room - later projects will incremantllay deploy this material over sections of cities to make more and more of them look like the surrounding countryside - with suiable interaction from users, its possible that different people will be able to provide consensus view (some of you might want the contryside to look more like the surrounding city for example...)

a simple application would be wth bob rosenburg's virtual keyboard, one could display an keyboasrd on any surface that one was "typing" on...

Virtual Eyes (as opposed to Normal Eyes)

(read while listening to primalscream

When you look into someone's eyes, normally, you see yourself reflected (at an reflection angle that is the same to the normal as the angle of incidence, what a coincidence:-)

So with Virtual Eyes (TM), you see someone else reflected - the person that this person was LAST looking at ....

This is useful in negotiations....

Re-tale Therapy

This is a new version of a very old game - you have to pin a story on a shoplifter - you have to do it by leaving an audit trail of false data in the surveillance databases around the world to prove that someone who wasn't really there, was.


This is a low cost solution to the problems faced by te higher Echelon's within GCHQ, of trying to keep up with all the latest dotcomeraderie - alon the lines proposed by Professor Flan O'Brien (a.k.a. Miles na Gopaleen) in his highly respected work on the Instutute, concerning the ventriloquists, the Karmavore is a whispering hidden assistant worn like a cufflink (Think appliance-meets-ms_paperclip, and you cannot go far wrong)- when a word comes up in conversation with an expert, that the assistant knows that the Goverment Advisor will not know thge meaning off, it is quickly emailed off to an expert who then provides live voice - the speech and voval patterns of the remote expert are on-the-fly translatered into fly-on-the-wall commentary in the manner of the GCHQ advisor, so that the RealWorldPresent expert notices not-one-thing - it is suddenly as if the upper-echelon person really is an expert too.


is a web page which shows a map with the web server and the current client show and a compass which displays the direction North w.r.t where the client is currently facing....doing this without gsm or gps in the client is tricky (but possibly not impossible - think about it...)


A simulated -user-friendly, green radar screen on your lap/palm/desk-top, showing the locations of real and virtual people near you and their velocities...(think of it as "visual rwho", and you can't go far wrong). for busy webmaisters, it shows the location and data rates of the current and recent client set...


Do it yourself DNA - the UK government is kindly making the entire DNA record of 3M alleged evil-doers avaialble - this is a web site that lets you cook up arbitrary forensic evidence with the appropriate human tissue marked with a chosen (or randomly allocated) persons DNA.....for a small fee, the evidence can be left at the requested location by our trusy arbeiter. better than appropriating someones biometrics, eh!

All of Mirrors

for several yearz now, i've been mucking around with a network simulator called ns for a lot of network research here, and also running it in partial emulation mode - basically, ns mimics the internet protocol stack by offering a set of classes that fit into a discrete event simulator much as you might expect - it has a topology generator, and a selective trace facility which then lets you run visusalisations of the history of dsimulation run.

ns is written in c++ and object tcl, and via a _very_ crude reflective interface, allows the tcl to modify the implementation and behahviour of the c++ level (and vice versa); (footnote: reasons are that tcl is good for scripting, so you can quickly modify descriptions of instances of topology or imposed events and other simulation configuration data in that languiage, while the c++ is therefore "efficiency" reasons (simulating 10^6 nodes in interpreted anything is seriously not likely to get far)

it allows you to interface to the real world in "emulation mode" - an entity in the simulator acts as an "avatar" for the real world ip or end system or traffic object, and via a simple packet filter/gateway, allows on to make experiments that are part real part simulated...

[aside: for reasons of sanity, we've been trying to re-write the whole thing in java ]

so anyhow, what interests me about this is that of course it is a specific instance of mixed reality....and it gives some interesting insights (or might do if i didn't have so much teaching and admin to do) into the sorts of problems faced by systems that attempt to simulate a world with some common ground with reality, and also interface to it....and the first one i can come up with that there are bound to be massive assymetries - inherent is the fact that the real world is as real as it is whereas there are choices of resolution and of temporal accuracy in the simulated world.....there's not a choice about the rate at which time rolls forward in RL...

So anyhow, in parallel with this, manuel oliveira was working on dealing with simple differences in network, display and other system capability in a shared environment, and it seems that the approach he is adopting (from some of y'all work) can be extended into RL and from RL into cyberia

we'd need to think about a suitable set of mapping functions to cope with interpolation and extraploation in the simulated environment - easy enough, but how do we modify the behaviour of the users in the _Real World_ _environment_ ??

easy: we do it with mirrors (*) if you have an (imperfect, fairground hall-of-m*) mirror at the gateway between virtual and real, on the real side, it shows the real user how they look to users in the simulated world - this can be done in a lot of ways - its certainly well known that yo ucan get peopel to behavve differently by showing them what (you want them to think) they look like.

hmmm, programmable mirrors, eh? whatever next?

* of course, this idea was originally had by Jean Cocteau as a way of visualising the gateway between Earth and Hell in his visionary film Orphee (1949) which also features some very neat use of poetry as code...

SMELL - Sensing Means for Electricity's Location for Laptops, etc

This device is put into mobile phones, laptops, pacemakers, etc and tells you where the nearest source of juice i if you are running low, or need a de-fibrillator, whichever is most relevant:-) Other tropisms (heat, light, sceneary, can be considered later.... sort of like warchalking for free 802.11 access (or gnutellaing for mp3s) only now its shickingly more useful.


Web Ages - this ages web page content - takes pictures and introduces entropy appropriately - takes text, and makes it more archaic.


radio controlled helicoptors are quite inexpensive nowadays - now here is an idea - we have peopl being tracked around the department via ultrasound, and their avatars displayed in holodeck the CAVE in the appropriate places - why not have helicoptors fly around the quad in patterns that map the same space as people in the department - better still, we could get a bunch of ballet dancers and track them, and have the helicopters mimic the dance - with sufficiently athletic (nijinsky/nureyev leaps to mind) dances, there might even be a strong 3rd dimension to this... ... a kyoshi concept 30 can be bought for about 95 quid second hand...

Mobile Teethcare

Dispensing Wisdom with Care:
Using blue tooth to combat grey teeth

the average customer for dewntal care products is not aware that it is possible to use to much fluorude - where water supplies are either naturally or artiificially high in fluoride, it is wise to reduce the intake in toothpaste.

By monitoring this level and emitting the information on a standard bluetooth service address, toothpaste dispensers with appropriate receivers can now add the right quantity of toothpaste on demand - Note that the cost of the technology is largely in the installation.

Of course, care must be taken not to jam the 802.11 network that is being used by the household health monitor to control the temperature of the water in the tea, coffee, chocolate, shower, sink and bath, or unpleasant side effects may occur.

Bombe Surprise

so, as a cyclist, what i want is a waterbomb (ballon fileld with water) that i carry in my knapsack where the water is dyed awith a non washable color

the balloon is carefully calibrated to be a certain strength...

then if someone drives too close or too fast, and i drop or throw it at the vehicle, it marks them as a "bad guy"

but only if they are too close/fast

low cost sensor net stuff (e.g. from ucla or usc or berkeley) for acceleromters/proximity etc

a new application for smartdust?


A Blog rachet - you know - a rachet is a device that lets you go one way, and not back. This is a browser plugin that lets blogs only move forward - it slips and compresses cycles in the web down the rachet til they are scrumpphed down the end like so much used dental phloss. Google? I nearly ultravistad til i kried.


This is a solution to those of you who went to glastonbury - we print out lots of listings of middleware, and wrap it around our feet - it stops us slipping and soaks up all the mud - we can then put the paper and mud in the recycling fires at nite to keep warm while listing to swingbeat in the Field of Lost Vagueness. This is a social service as it removes unwanted middleware and mud and only creates marginal amount of CO2 compared with speaking at the Middleware conference, or talking to colleagues about debugging it.

One line spoof of Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "This is going to be difficult", thought the general, many years later, as he died. Or to put it another way, as Peter Pan dressed for his first job in the City "To Tie Die would be a great adventure".

Potable Computers

The liptop computer is disguised as a moustache - good even for ladies in the mediteranean climes. Like a babel fish, it takes utterances, and translates them - unlike babel fish, it is an output device, not an input device, which probably renders it less useful in group conversations, but still could be amusing.


Brogging is to blogging what instant messanging is to e-mail. brogging is so called as its so in-your-face - conntations such as "bragging" are entirely intended (and intirely entended too).

a Brog site is a combination of RSS and blog. Its for people that feel what they have to say is so important that, not only must other peoiple have the opportunity to hear it, they must hear it right away, and possibly not even have the choice to turn it off.

a Brog site uses Brats (these are vermin, a combiantion of Bots and RSS) to distribute unwanted content to discontented recipients. Brats make use of spryware, which is thin-client spyware (e.g. installed on blueberries, blackberries and ipods, and digital cameras) to pop up the window to display the incenessant nonsense typed by many broggers, just like <- this :-)

A more complete version of this can generally be found on my
home page on a good day.

today I am mostly modeling designer psychoses

it seems to me that the internet was almost certainly actually created by aliens. the idea that humans would build something so baroque is implausible. I have met some of the people usually credited with being the father, mother and uncle of the internet, and I can't say that I believe it - the same could be said for WWW (search engines - why aren't there search and destroy engines), P2P (file sharing - havn't we got enough files already) and blogs and all the rest - it is far more likely that this came from an insect or machine culture, possibly from the future. or else from the past, but not anywhere near here or now. network address translators, now what are they all about eh?

its also clear that avian flu is a human product, and not part of normal evolution of viruses.

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home