Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

30 December 2011

The Future is Now! -- Lumus' AR Glasses.

Israeli company Lumus has produced a pair of futuristic but otherwise totally wearable glasses that enable you to interact with the world via AR. They also display 1280 x 720 HD video -- also 3D-capable -- without anyone able to see what you're watching.
How they work:
Light pumps in the earpieces send and refract light down the lens. This moves the electronics away from the eyes, offering a lighter, more streamlined experience. The lenses are transparent and display an apparent 87-inch screen about ten feet away. Because each eye display works independently, you can also view 3D video.
"But wait!" you say. "Why not contact lenses? Aren't those sexier and infinitely more discreet?"

Don't worry, those are coming.

24 December 2011

Happy Hollydays, Internet Friends!

Please enjoy this X-ray of a Christmas tree and its gifts.

19 December 2011

Interaxon + the Evolution of Thought Computing

In April I wrote an article on how mind control technologies are worth keeping an eye on because they fall in line with how technology must become more intimate and less visually invasive. At Le Web, CEO Ariel Garten of Interaxon summed this up nicely and provided a roadmap to where "thought computing" is headed (included at the bottom of this article).

Thought computing is the process of eliciting responses with the power of your mind. It's still in its early stages, in the sense that the hardware can't yet detect words or specific commands, but basic interactions are now possible. We can also play with their possibilities via providers of low-cost headsets, like eMotiv.

These headsets work "by reading the electrical signals on our heads," Garten explained. "When you think, or engage in anything mental, your brainwaves change."

Among other things, Interaxon experiments with producing musical interactions and even levitation (example: as your alpha waves rise, so does a chair that's wired to respond to your brain signals). It also built a thought-controlled computing installation at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

16 December 2011

Virgin Galactic's George Whitesides on Space, Dreaming + Sustainability on Earth

Last week at Le Web, I got to hear Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides talk about the commercialisation of space travel. Here's an interview I did with him, followed by video of his talk.

Among other things, we discuss where the program is now, its potential for facilitating sustainable development on Earth, and product partnership opportunities. Dig in!

YouTube for Schools, Stanford Online: Liberated Education

In high school, the books fell apart in my hands. Most of our instructional videos were probably made in the '70s -- with the possible exception of the drivers ed program, which profits from frequent updates of the unintentionally hilarious "Red Asphalt" series.

Anywho, YouTube is launching YouTube for Schools, an education program that'll avail access to safe video content for schools. Content providers include Stanford, PBS and TED.

Given the dearth of funding in our public school system, programs like this can be hugely beneficial for teachers hard-up for content.

Another great liberated education experiment is Stanford's online course program, which enables you to follow some of their best courses online. It's free, requires that you do the homework, and enables you to ask professors questions on Google Hangouts. If you pass the class, you get a badge à la Foursquare. I've registered for three starting next year.

None of these efforts are going to change the state of our education system overnight, but they're positive, enterprising steps in the right direction. As for easier access to updated books -- that's in the bag, the 'net and tablets are making quick work of that problem.

08 December 2011

Karl Lagerfeld, Le Web + Fashion as the Ultimate User Experience

Photo: TechCrunch EU

Karl Lagerfeld opened Le Web yesterday morning, in part to announce the launch of a new online fashion brand, Karl, which he's producing in partnership with founder Natalie Massenet of Net-A-Porter. It goes live in January.

According to Massenet, the collection will be about "accessibility". I gathered this referred to it being online (free of geographical limitations) and more cost-feasible for shoppers. (I wouldn't expect Isaac Mizrahi for Target prices though.) This is a nice manifestation of something Lagerfeld said about social networks just prior: being over-connected doesn't make you well-connected. 

07 December 2011

The Declaration of Interdependence

"It's important to remember that technology is just us. It's not this separate thing."

Tiffany Shlain gives an emotionally rich talk here about how connections are worth little unless they're deep, and deep connections require attention -- something we lose if we don't harness the technology in our lives. She wraps with her four-minute "Declaration of Interdependence", which I quite liked.

In April I was lucky enough to liveblog Shlain's keynote for MIPCOM, preceding a screening of her film Connected: An 'autoblogography' about Love, Death & Technology. I love her way of weaving seemingly-unrelated topics together and infusing them with (sometimes overwhelming) feeling. She also invests technology with an importance, and an optimism, rarely experienced -- even while admitting that her family takes a tech break one day a week. 

05 December 2011

Augmented spaces: Nimble's Digital/Tactile Library

Nimble's produced this thought-worthy video on how augmented reality can be used to help people better navigate their way around libraries. It posits hypothetical solutions for finding books (even -- or ideally -- when the book you want is on a table somewhere), digitally interacting with what you're reading on paper, and sharing knowledge via social networks.

Sures Kumar, who built the concept and experience prototype, explains it thus:

Nimble shows what a mixed touch, digital, projection, and book-based library might look like. This is relevant because people still like the tactile feel of books and other printed media and they also like to browse.

It isn't immediately obvious to me how digital technology will be able to recognise and readily communicate with non-connected objects like books and newspapers, but I like the vision behind it: there will always be room for tactile objects, and we'll move between those and our digital "objects" with fluency. This also does a nice job of illustrating how important augmented spaces will be in the near future, as everyday and digital experiences build intimacy with one another.

High Culture Meets Tech Culture: Tweet Seats

Love this article on how theatre venues, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Raleigh's Carolina Ballet and Ohio's Dayton Opera, are beginning to incorporate seating for people dead-set on "livetweeting" highbrow cultural events. As PSFK mentions, this is a great way to introduce young, spendy techies to classical music, the opera and ballet. The only caveat: why stack them all in the back?

I'd pack these guys into boxed seats or give them front-row space, maybe at a relative distance from the audience, to ensure they get a stellar experience. That's how you properly earn your earned media.

Flash photography is a problem at these events, which is one reason why sites like Carnegie Hall or the Kennedy Center demand that patrons switch phones off (in addition to accidental ringing). Solution: make like the tech conferences and avail high-quality photos to people who have registered to the events as tweeters or bloggers. 

02 December 2011

Of all the things to dedicate your life to...

...why advertising?

A few days ago Jeff Kwiatek sent me this screenshot of a conversation that took place on Twitter between Mark Wnek and Edward Boches. It's interesting because it poses, aloud, a question people must ask in their heads all the time:

Why write about advertising? Even if we all agree that advertising can serve noble purposes, or at the very least has a great responsibility in its ability to influence, why write about it?

A few years ago, holed up in Ithaca and pushing out 16, sometimes 20 articles a day for two ad and marketing publications, I shot up out of bed and had a horrible realisation: I've given my life to a banality, something that really doesn't matter to anybody -- something most people claim to hate.