Human Area Networks and Communications with Context

Human Area Networks are just a name for using human skin (while the human is alive) as a transmission medium.

But to me, the most exciting aspect of communications over human skin is that it gives communication devices “context”.

So a post-it note stuck to nothing that says “trash me” will mean just the same action as a piece of paper that says “trash me”. But when a post-it reading “trash me” will mean different actions when stuck on a book versus a cabinet.

In the same way, devices in the vicinity of each other can communicate, but it has no context other than geographic closeness (which sometimes is enough). But with communications over skin, it gives the context of an intent by the human to interact with the device they’re touching.

This kind of thing could be applied to “needies”
Which are “attention-starved stuffed animals” Each one knows when they’re being touched, and broadcasts that information to other needies in the room. The ones that aren’t being touched will complain, and say things like, “hug me instead!”, or “Throw him! Throw him!” So instead of always broadcasting, they will have extra information about the state of the world by which medium they can communicate through.

As another inane example, personal devices being held by the same person running a screensaver can have fish swim from one screen to another screen of a personal device.

Again, the medium of human area networks gives the communications context by human intent, rather than just by geographic vicinity.

What would you do with a Terabyte?

It wasn’t too long ago that having 256MBs of memory or even 1GB of disk space was a big deal. At the time, I thought “Wow! 1GB! What am I going to do with all that space?” Well, as usual, software engineers can never get enough speed or memory. When mp3s and mp4s came about, along with higher bandwidth, suddenly 1GB didn’t seem like enough for all the movies and music. Applications themselves took on more complexity and layers of abstraction, and required faster hardware and bigger hard drive, not to mention the operating system.

As one Terabyte looms ahead, the question is, what would you do with 1TB? What would you be able to do that you aren’t able to do now?

I imagine that beyond movies and music, there will be other forms of high bandwidth data that aren’t available yet. Olfactory data and tacile data should be immense in bandwidth, though currently, we do not have input devices for those senses. If personality-based artificial intelligence becomes commonplace, then that might also be something that requires a large amount of storage. Sensory information for bio implants as well as simulation of augmented and virtual reality will take more and more storage.

I’m not sure how other computing architectures would fit into this, but quantum computers might generate a lot of data due to the sheer parallelism of the architecture.

Authorship and Insect wings

I went to two talks today. The first one talked about using statistical analysis, principle component analysis, and singular value decomposition, to be able to tell if it’s the same or different author compared to other text that you ran through the math by computers. It’s pretty neat, actually, though the talk was less technical than I’d like. The guy did analysis on the original Hebrew and Greek text versions of the Bible to determine whether it was probable that there were different authors under the same name. There’s other things that you can use this for, some invades into privacy, and others don’t. You can also use this to analyse source code in order to determine whether it was the same author that wrote something, and whether the person likely wrote code in other software.

The second talk was much better, quite neat, and still on going. The guy was a much better speaker, and he talked about micro air vehicles that mimick the use of controls and aerodynamics in wing design in insects. The problem is more complicated than you can think of first hand, but the most interesting conjuncture that he had was that it was a sensor-rich feedback control system, rather than a controller-rich feedback control system.

Bachelor cooking

This is a show about easy cooking for bachelors. Really, it’s a blog with a videos of how to cook certain things. I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty amazing, especially when you think about what was impossible just 10 years ago. For those of you in your twenties, or older, to have your own cooking show, you needed to pretty much go through one of the networks.

Now, with the advent of blogging and widespread connectivity, I’m repeating what lots of people have said already; we might be moving into a world where you can get started on very little. Granted, you get more crap, but crap is filtered by the commons, and there’s a lot more niche markets, as argued by the long tail.

And these could be people you know! I found these two through a friend of a friend.