October 14, 2004

is dog walking better with ubicomp?

I'm trying to figure out places in my life where ubicomp would be good to have, and I keep drawing a blank. This may be a failure of imagination on my part, of course. But still, I'm trying. Tonight for example, I was walking my dog Snoopy in the neighborhood, and trying to dream up ways that pervasive tech could make it a better experience.

Well here's the reject list:

1. A leash that displays a real-time news crawl along its length.
2. Wi-Fido self-organizing wireless mesh network deployed on local dogs.
3. An historical guide to my street, annotated by my neighbors, with contextual sponsor ads for dog food, dog sweaters, and local dog walkers.
4. Sensor- and actuator-enabled trees that pee back.
5. A wearable eyepiece that shows textual and visual information about the moon and stars and houses and bushes, overlaid on my normal field of vision.
6. Sensate sidewalks that tell my doctor how much I weighed tonight after dinner, and how far I walked.

Here are some that could maybe have a tiny little shred of merit, or at least would be kinda cool:

a. Trees and buildings that glow in phosphorescent shades and patterns and then fade as we walk past them. Maybe a little sound as well, if it makes the experience more beautiful.
b. A wearable eyepiece that allows me to see in new modalities, for example a time-lapse view of which animals passed by here and left the apparently maddening scent trails my dog is obsessing over. Or maybe a view that simulates the visual equipment of the dog, so I can see what he sees.
c. Something like Anne's forgetting machine, so I'm not reminded of all the urgent and important stuff on my various to do lists and can thus have hope for a good day tomorrow.

Now here's a test: which ones do you think we're more likely to get?

Posted by Gene at October 14, 2004 11:40 PM | TrackBack

This is good! Although a & b in the second list remind me more of taking hallucinogens than ubicomp ;)

Posted by: Anne at October 15, 2004 03:55 AM

Well these days I mostly think of ubicomp as a consensual hallucination among lots of otherwise very bright researchers, so maybe that's appropriate... Hey, maybe that's another good one -- ad hoc networked psychotropic-coated smart dust, to induce sychronous visions of the ubi-future in conference attendees! Let's do an experience design prototype of this the next time Doors of Perception is in Amsterdam... |-D

Posted by: gene at October 15, 2004 07:37 PM
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