Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Unveiling the "Sixth Sense"

We are trying to build a web space where ideas are synthesized and placed in unique verbal frames. But some ideas truly speak for themselves.

Pattie Maes & Pranav Mistry: Unveiling the "Sixth Sense"

This type of interface design reminds me of a previous post where we discuss another TED talk in which Blaise Aguera y Arcas explains the attachment process and how social networks will enrich the physical information surrounding any object in a person's visual field.

The iPhone has a free application called Snaptell where the user can take a picture of any book, CD, or any other branded product with the the phone, analyze it, and, if recognized, the phone tells you where you can purchase it online.

From a biological slant I imagine that soon the learning curves for botany, zoology, and even medical students will be almost vertical. Imagine having a eye on your chest that could project as much or as little information you desired about the thing you were looking at. This would be a perfect real world application for E.O. Wilson's brainchild - The Encyclopedia of Life or EOL. Imagine approching the bark of on oak tree and having the taxonomic history projected in front of you, or catching a glimpse of a rare bird like the ivory billed woodpecker and automatically reporting your observations including location to a database. In this future we are all reporters, scientists, and most importantly learners.


Anonymous said...


I couldn't even finish the clip. I was pretty much annoyed with the first examples given....if you can't figure out the economic choice on toilet paper, then you should take a deep breath, go to the library and check out a simple mathematics book. I am not anti-technology, but I do believe there is a line. We are so over stimulated and connected. It would almost ruin a peaceful walk for me to wear the TED camera. No more zoning out, enjoying the fresh air, fermenting ideas, mulling problems....life needs some peace. I also foresee ill use of the technology and frankly it frightens me.


tompainesghost said...

Glad to see you commenting! It is fun to think of people out in the wide world reading this thing. I agree with you that technology is getting to be overbearing, but I do really see a usefulness in the meta information all around us. The real problem will be filtering. "what is relevant to me"

I think you are misunderstanding the point of the paper towel example. It wasn't to figure out the best price it was to know where the trees were harvested and in what country the pulp was processed. "meta information"

Michael Pollan proposes implementing this especially in the meat industry so a consumer can see videos and pictures right in the store of how the animal they are purchasing was handled before slaughter etc.

For me, I think the two really cool applications of this would be to artwork and nature. Like seeing an unfamiliar bush and then finding out all the history of that plant, genus species, what medicinal properties it has, and what the leading ecologist has to say about it. or if you were looking at a sculpture in Belgium you could know who carved it and when and what it is depicting and read historical interpretations to put it into context.

I also see your point about a lot of bad applications coming about. but that is the double edge sword of technology. making life easier does not always make it better. look at obesity.