Touching The Meshverse

A number of entries in the MJ Augmented Reality category such as Getting Inside The Simulation, Lego Mesh and the Arduino-based Real World Control Panel, deal with connecting physical interfaces to virtual worlds. The guts of Arduino fits in the palm of your hand

arduino.png

and here’s what it looks like in action:

arduinoscreencapture.png

Connecting First and Second Life

These internet connected things, sometimes referred to as SPIMES(objects trackable across SPace and tIME) represent a key element of the end game for the meshverse interoperability technology I’ve been developing. Interestingly, the first demos showed the ability to move a cube in Second Life from another virtual world. As an engineer, I’ve always looked at math and modeling as virtual world tools. How that m&m gets done has always evolved and sometimes very quickly. In 1975, my freshman year in engineering, slide rules were dominant although more and more people were starting to use calculators. By 1976 HP upgraded their popular HP-25 to retain it’s memory when switched off. This was a radical development that transformed the calculator into a compelling must-have device for engineers – you could at the touch of a button run different simulations.

When I arrived at Hughes Space & Communications in 1979, the top of the line HP-41 was becoming a popular m&m tool as most people still had to go to a shared computer lab to access a terminal. The Guidance & Control Systems department I worked in had no CAD terminals. This began to change slowly at first but then AutoCAD and Sun were both founded in 1982 and the pace really picked up. In less than a decade new designs were all being done with CAD and 3D was making inroads. Shift happens has been in effect all of my adult life, providing faster, more detailed and more affordable simulation tools. Consequently, it has seemed very natural to me that the way to design an augmented reality is to do so in software before the hardware is affordable:

So the universe of spimes is an informational universe. The logical first step in creating spimes is creating them as pure information.

Where better to do it than Second Life, the online world, a system we can use to understand the operation of digital objects.

Building Bacteria In Second Life

Bruce Sterling who coined the term Spime notes

“Spimes are manufactured objects whose informational support is so overwhelmingly extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system. Spimes begin and end as data. They’re virtual objects first and actual objects second.”

The Viridian Design Movement

Sterling goes on to say

The primary advantage of an Internet of Things is that I no longer inventory my possessions inside my own head. They’re inventoried through an automagical inventory voodoo, work done far beneath my notice by a host of machines. So I no longer to bother to remember where I put things. Or where I found them. Or how much they cost. And so forth. I just ask. Then I am told with instant real-time accuracy.

“I have an Internet-of-Things with a search engine of things. So I no longer hunt anxiously for my missing shoes in the morning. I just Google them. As long as machines can crunch the complexities, their interfaces make my relationship to objects feel much simpler and more immediate. I am at ease in materiality in a way that people never were before.”

That is my visionary thesis. I wrote a little non-fiction book about this prospect last year, where I rattle on about the concept, kinda turning the idea upside down, knocking on it to see what falls out…. It’s a small book, but a big topic. Too big for any one thinker.

I like this last sentence and the fact that Bruce is open to exploring because humanity really needs to do this before big problems arise. When Bruce says:

So I no longer to bother to remember where I put things. Or where I found them. Or how much they cost. And so forth. I just ask. Then I am told with instant real-time accuracy.

I’m reminded of the scene in the Matrix movie, where a machine program named Agent Smith tells one of the humans that “as soon as we began thinking for you, it really became our civilization” – we and those who will call us ancestors, deserve for this topic to be given careful consideration. We need more people in this conversation and better ways to help folk learn about how the meshverse may impact strictly biological humans.


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4 Comments »

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  4. […] This is an interesting project developing tactile interfaces for VR such as Second Life. Touching The Meshverse < The Meshverse Journal […]

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