Entry Name: iEyes; visual communication and augmented reality device.
Description: A set of contact lenses that sends and receives wireless data from various sources via a separate miniature “basestation” that one would carry with them. The basestation is not shown in these examples but it could be pen-sized or wristwatch-shaped. There is also an optional control pad, either a FingerPad (about the size and shape of a poker chip) or a TonguePad that one wears clipped behind the upper incisors.
Function: The iEyes essentially conveys data from the wearer’s cell phone, Blackberry, media player, GPS device, etc. Visual data is presented to the user similar to the goggles one can buy today to watch movies on a virtual widescreen.
Power Source: The iEyes have built in solar cells to power themselves off of ambient light; with capacitive electricity storage when in a dark room.
Feasibility: With emerging technologies like flexible electronic circuits, conductive plastics, nanotechnology-based super capacitors, multi-element lenses and the like, iEyes could be manufactured as early as 2009 for government use; with less expensive consumer-priced versions by 2012.
The iEye would appear to the casual observer to be nothing more than a contact lens. If one looked closer you could see that there is something a bit different about it. The lenses would be worn in pairs, built-in sensors would keep the screen aligned with the vertical and horizontal so it does not matter how the lenses are put in the eye. A preferences setting could override this, say if you were lying on your side and watching a movie; the virtual screen orientation would be rotated 90 degrees so the movie appears correct from your point of view.
This is the optional TonguePad worn behind the front teeth that lets you control basic functions such as answering a phone, scrolling e-mail text or playing a movie. As mentioned earlier, the basestation is not shown, but it could be pen-sized or wristwatch-shaped. The basestation would have connections to various devices, probably by high-speed wireless modules; somewhat akin to Bluetooth without the limitations of battery life and data transmission rates.
When a phone call is received, the phone number and person calling is seen by the iEyes wearer. The yellow arrow pointing towards the phone means a call is coming in from that person; pointing away from the phone means the call is going out to that person from the iEyes wearer. The iEyes – using data from the built-in cameras – continually adjusts text colors to be in contrast with the ambient environment. Calls can be answered by either touching the phone keypad, a button on the basestation, or blinking both eyes in rapid succession. If using the optional TonguePad – as this user is – one can either click the green circle (which means “yes” or “accept”) or the red stopsign (which means “no” or “ignore”). The cursor is by default indicative of what is being used to control it, such as a tongue if using the TonguePad.
When reading e-mail received on a Blackberry or iPhone, the message is scrolled up and down by using the blue arrows; the envelope means “reply” and the “go back” arrow means to go back to the list of e-mails. The yellow triangle at the end of the message text means there is more text to scroll down to read, when scrolling down a similar triangle appears at the top. To reply with the FingerPad or TonguePad there are user-defined phrases like “I will call you” or “Please forward to Ms. Lyons at my office.” To actually type a message one could use the virtual keyboard text entry function but this could be laborious. Ideally one would use a small optional keyboard or the keyboard on their phone or Blackberry. In this example the cursor is a finger, which indicates the FingerPad is being used.
Playing movies is one of the most basic yet amazing features of the iEyes. You see movies – depending on source of course – as equivalent in quality up to a 1080p high definition video. In this example the green triangle is less transparent meaning the movie is playing. Some of the features include the ability to have the movie very transparent so as not to obscure one’s view, or to have the background almost opaque. If wearing the TonguePad this is accomplished by clicking the contrast control and sliding the tongue to the left or right. In a darkened room the movies need no backlighting as the images are formed by OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) which generate light themselves.
When using the GPS function for directions, the directions are overlaid on top of what you are seeing. Spoken directions can be also sent to either your phone’s speaker or headset. One can also switch to the metric and real system of measurement.
Embedded in the lens are millions of tiny light-detecting elements, each with their own lens. The concept has been demonstrated in making lenses that function similar to an insect’s compound eye. In this case the (at least in the first version) there would be no zoom feature. A 5 megapixel picture is taken by either clicking a button on the basestation, using the optional FingerPad or TonguePad (in this case) to click the onscreen “shutter release” button, or winking twice in rapid succession with one eye. When the picture is taken software in the basestation decides which eye is seeing the better image and uses that data. An optional feature snaps a photo using both images; since this is a 3-dimensional photo the image can be viewed on a computer screen or TV with special polarized accessory glasses preserving the 3D view.
One of the most amazing features of the iEyes works in conjunction with an Internet connection through the phone as well as the yet-to-be-announced GoogleEyes service from Google. With GoogleEyes turned on, when you look at an object and request data, GoogleEyes attempts to identify the object (giving a confidence for the identification) as well as providing a definition from a user-defined source, in this case Wikipedia.
Let's start with researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health who reported in the February 2002 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that they could not find mercury-related health effects among a group of regular swordfish consumers.
In 2006, Phil Davidson from the University of Rochester Medical School, presented results of a unique 10-year study of more than 700 children living in the Seychelles Islands. The children's mothers averaged 12 meals of fish a week – about 10 times the average fish consumption of individuals in the United States – and those fish contained high levels of methylmercury. Yet cognitive tests on the children, taken multiple times over the years, found no cognitive defects or other maladies normally attributed to mercury absorption.
Our own EPA has said "Human-caused U.S. mercury emissions are estimated to account for roughly 3 percent of the global total, and U.S. coal-fired power plants are estimated to account for only about 1 percent." The main sources of mercury in the environment are erosion into rivers of naturally-occurring mercury and volcanoes.
We do know that exposure to extremely high levels of mercury can be harmful. There were mass poisonings in Japan's Minamata Bay in the 1950s and in Iraq in the 1970s. However, the former was due to direct methylmercury discharge to the bay, and the latter was due to people eating seed corn that was supposed to be planted that had been fumigated with methylmercury.
Now there are people who try to link an illness to mercury in the environment; but they ignore the more important potential root cause. What licit and illicit drugs were the parents ingesting prior to and - in the mother's case - post conception?
My favorite mercury-related quote comes from Steven Milloy, the editor of a website devoted to battling "junk science" and author of several books on the subject. Speaking about Ms. Browner (and Ms. Clinton and Ms. Boxer, who were at the same rally) he asked plainly: "Show me the person in the U.S. who has gotten sick from eating fish because of mercury. Where are the bodies? Where are the illnesses?"
I do not know of any.
Anyway, my older son and I went to get haircuts, and while we were gone the Charter Worker Bee installed the HD/DVR. Now I can't blame my wife or other son, but all that was installed was a DVR. That's great, so I can save episodes of "24" (and dump them to my computer to make a DVD, but that's another story) but no High Definition signal.
In calling Charter, the first person I spoke to offered the hillbilly-like explanation that "all our DVR's got HD"; I kindly did not try to correct their grammar, but did ask them (to gauge their approximate E.I.Q. [Electronics Intelligence Quotient, very important if working for an electronics-related company]) if they realize that either a "Component-" or "HDMI-output" is needed to get the High Definition signal to the TV?
They confirmed they did know that, then inexplicably proceeded to tell me that connecting the yellow, red and white 'plugs' (i.e. analog TV, Left & Right audio RCA-connectors) to the TV would give me HD. Gritting my teeth so hard I could feel flecks of enamel delaminating, I explained that no, "that is an analog signal" as the barely-legible 4th generation copy of a FAXed manual left for me confirmed - the abbreviation SDTV meaning "Standard Definition TV". The operant word being "Standard" which means "not-HD".
She offered to transfer me to their Service line; I was at least fairly hopeful, as you figure, well Service must have a higher EIQ. Right? I was at least optimistic as I could audibly detect a lack of alcohol on their breath.
I was feeling really in the groove when Service said that Charter had made a mistake (hooray!) and that even though it was in the call notes (yaaay!!) from my phone order last month, the High Def order hadn't been put on the work order (hallelujah!!) and that (warning: aneurysm-inducing quote follows) once they turned on the HD at their end, the DVR would be outputting an HD signal to the TV (what-the-F***?!).
I explained that this model DVR wouldn't output High Definition if Charter sent 50,000 volts through it (with apologies to Monty Python and their Parrot Sketch); and plain-and-simple that I need a different model of DVR. My hopes quickly sank, as the Service person said they would check on that.
As I knew 100% I was right, I repeatedly tried to convince the Charter lady that she needed to provide another model DVR. As that wasn't helping, I asked what other models do they carry, and I could check for her. She suggested the Motorola BMC9012; a quick Google for the model did confirm Component output.
(Parenthetically I should add that one of my dreams is to found a Web search engine, using an obscure obscene reference, such as www.felching.com or www.frotteur.com; so some day when Wolf Blitzer says "We did a quick Felching to look that up" several million people will spray milk out of their noses at once.)
I could sense my blood pressure dropping to near 3:00 PM-at-work levels. I hopefully asked if this was something she could call the Installer Bromide and see if they could swing back by. I was told perhaps either one of the biggest lies or one of the stupidest things I heard in 2007. She said they take only the equipment to complete that one day's work orders.
Now think about how banal that statement is. Some electronics are dead out of the box, or some people getting one DVR might decide to have another installed that day. Or even (like me) Charter might occasionally once a decade make a mistake in the work order. I gave the Charter lady these scenarios, and asked her to check to be sure. She did, and said if I wanted to reschedule it would be the earliest next Saturday or we could exchange the DVR today a few towns over at a Charter office.
I did some quick thinking, weighing the minor inconvenience of driving to get the proper DVR, against the intense personal satisfaction of next weekend having the Service Slug do the install while kneeling on a large plastic sheet I had laid out previous to their arrival, as I donned a Tyvek coverall while standing near the new Ronco/Showtime knife set in our kitchen ("Look at that folks, how much would you pay for a knife that goes through bone, meat, gristle and sinew, yet is still sharp enough to cut this tomato paper thin?"), with a spray bottle of bleach-solution nearby, all the while ruminating about the deep, freshly-dug hole in the woods way, way in back of our house, across a stream where no one ever ventures… (Insert Giorgio Moroder's music from Hitchcock's Psycho shower scene here)
I decided I want to see the new House episode this Tuesday in glorious High Definition. I'll write up sometime the rest of the conversation; wherein I innocently asked if she could check to see if the Charter store ACTUALLY HAD the model DVR in stock, wherein I was told "they don't have a phone there".
The Top 10 Ways to tell People You Have an iPhone
10) Get a number like (area code) x-474663, so you can say something like "call me at 860 4-iPhone".
9) Have a bumper sticker made that says "iPhone - iGot".
8) When answering a call, be sure to say something like "hello, this is me speaking on my new iPhone."
7) Do not wear a watch; when someone asks the time, pull out your iPhone, and say "the iPhone says it is 10:45."
6) Also wear the matching iHat, iSocks, iBelt and iScarf.
5) Change the ringtone to the sound of Gilbert Gottfried screeching loudly "HELLO, HELLO, there's a call on your new iPhone!"
4) Do not speak about any topic without working the phrase "iPhone" into at least every third sentence.
3) Change your voicemail to say, "I am not available, but be sure to leave a voicemail on my new iPhone, which has the unique feature that shows me a list of voicemails and I can listen to them in any order".
2) Purchase the optional forehead- or chin-mounted iPhone holster.
1) At least 4 times per hour at random intervals wave the iPhone over your head while running in circles yelling "look at me, look at me - I have a frickin' iPhone!!!"
1) Absolutely no "F-bombs" at home.
2) Diet (yeah right).
3) Totally ignore ignorant people. who just torque me off to no end.
4) Work on that novel more frequently.
5) Try to have no more than 5 entries in blogs.
Notice of Termination,
Upon our dismay, despite our best efforts to provide the most comprehensive and versatile moblogging platform in the world, maintenance costs have far exceeded budgeted expenses to such an extremity, the financial burden of continuing service is too high for us to bear in 2008.
In result, effective December 1, 2007, Textamerica will cease to provide moblog services to both individual and commercial users. Textamerica users have until November 30, 2007 to access existing moblogs and remove and/or archive moblog images. Textamerica domains will no longer be accessible After December 1, 2007.
Thanks for the e-mail notice guys! I tried to use the WayBack Machine to get the older photos but no-go. I do have them all but it will take some time to get them all replaced.
Anyway my pictures will be on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/opusmark/
Mark's Predictions for 2008
1) Gasoline prices will top $4.50 by mid-year, then will fall precipitiously and by year’s end will drop to around $2.50 or less.
2) The proliferation of benevolent GPS technology will lead to a lack of arguments while driving; resulting in the US divorce rate dropping to a post-WWII low.
3) A China export – whether it is tainted foodstuff, a deadly toy, or counterfeit drug – will result in a serious loss of life. It may be a stressed population like the elderly or children, but there will be victims numbering in the hundreds or thousands.
4) When the writer’s strike is finally settled, it will turn out viewers did not care there was a strike. They were content to watch re-runs, their DVD collection, and video downloads.
5) J. K. Rowling will be unable to resist the lure and officially announce an 8th book in the Harry Potter mythos.
6) Apple's iPhone will outsell BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, and become the most popular mobile Web browsing device of 2008 (oh wait, this happened already!)
7) DNA analysis of hair and scat samples from the creature known colloquially as Bigfoot or Sasquatch will confirm that the creature is a real, separate species possibly a Gigantopithecus or Neanderthal.
8) The XM/Sirius satellite radio merger will finally be allowed to take place. However, a family’s use of satellite radio will result in fighting over Comedy vs. Stern vs. Broadway vs. Oprah vs. NPR vs. NASCAR. This will increase divorce rates, resulting in a zero sum gain offsetting GPS user's reduced divorce rates.
9) The beleaguered Tesla Motors in California will not ship their electric sports car in 2008; due to well publicized problems with transmissions and senior management, they will not ship until 2009.
10) Several of 2008's notable returns – such as the Indiana Jones movie and Gladiators on TV – will tank due to lack of viewer interest.