August 06 2008 / by jcchan
Category: Entertainment Year: 2009 Rating: 5 Hot
Men have a infamous tendency to let their phallic tendencies dictate what they create. It is perhaps why some of the most famous builds like the Great Pyramids, Taj Majal and the Washington monument were made.
So, it didn’t surprise me when I recently read about an effort to create the world’s first male organ controlled computer.
So now that men have brought the inevitable to the realm of technology, I wonder how else humans of the future might interact with their computers?
With the recent (or not so recent) popularity of Nintendo Wii and its gyroscopic features, the rest of the human-computer interface market seems to have entered an innovative period. It looks rather likely that we’ll soon be playing games through VR googles, gesturing in the air to perform fluid dynamics calculations and maybe even writing Dear-John letters by thought alone.
Best of all, we won’t have wait decades for many of these advances as some amazing new products are already in prototype and will be market-ready in the very near-term. Here are some of the particularly interesting interface candidates:
1. In 2004, four people, two of them partly paralyzed wheelchair users successfully moved a computer cursor with a sensor cap that reads your brain with electrodes. In late February, technology pioneer Emotiv Systems announced the EPOC neuroheadset, a light weight, inexpensive ($300 USD), wireless headset that detects conscious thoughts, expressions, and emotions. Emotiv’s aim is the video games market and could open up a whole new generation of emotional immersive-ness in games.”
2. A modern take on a classic: The Livescribe pulse Smartpen is a pen that doubles as a stereo voice recorder, a music player, and most unique of all, a tiny infrared camera that picks up commands from a specially designed notebook. The ‘Dot’ notebook has record, pause, stop, playback, and navigation ‘buttons’ that you can tap on the bottom of the page to control the pen.
3. How about turning ANY surface, wall, table, or floor into a primary input device that can read handwriting, act as a musical instrument, a touchpad, or even a keyboard if you’re so inclined. The technology is called Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction (TAI-CHI) and the power is in sound waves.
4. A Coffee Table Touchpanel Controller called ROSIE with a huge touch screen that can view digital photos, play music, movies, and TV shows. It is being aimed at hotels and retail establishments, but could be in the home in a couple of years.
5. From Dresden, Germany comes the MicroEmissive Display (MED) a wearable 320×240 display packed into a tiny 6mm array. The technology could be embedded into glasses so you can have your own private movie theater on the bus and hold a video-to-video conference taking a stroll on the street.
6. Straight out of Minority Report is the MagicMouse a 3D mouse system you can wear like a ring. It is a true 3D mouse so you can move the cursor by point and moving your index finger and zoom in and out by moving your palm nearer or further from the screen.
7. The Optimus Maximus keyboard , a $1500 keyboard with keys replaced with miniature OLED screens that can correspond to the programs using it (Photoshop shortcuts, Arrows and Weapon icons in Quake III), display any language in the world (Cyrillic, Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese), and even displays lower case English until you press the shift key.
8. One step closer to VR with the iWear VR920, a $400 pair of googles with dual 640×480 screens that tracks your head’s movements (for flight sims) and can be used with other headsets to play your friends in Halo 3 without seeing each other’s screens in the same room.
9. Lastly, something that’s more affordable, -Logitech released the MX Air Mouse to mixed reviews. It works like a traditional laser mouse when on a surface, but pick it up and you can navigate a mouse cursor in mid-air. The verdict seems to be “you either like it or you don’t”. PC Magazine raves it. I can pass, I like my ‘old’ optical mouse.
10. We already covered the penis-computer connection. :P
So it looks like we aren’t that far off from being able to walk around a virtual Dracula’s castle and talk politics with friends or find other suggestive body parts to control computers with. I like what I’m seeing, but another thing I like is my old and faithful mouse and KB. Will I be ditching something as reliable and proven as these tools soon? Not a chance, but keep trying to convince me and my wallet, because I just may be seduced one day.
By the way, if you’re looking for more on the phallic interface here’s a link to Slashdong , the blog of Kyle Machulis, who reviewed the penis adapter for the computer. If you’re so inclined. (Warning: Not Safe for Work!!)
Image of Tom Cruise in Minority Report, Copyright 2002, courtesy of 20th Century Fox (in fair-use)