All the cachet of gadget without the idee fixee or manquee

Equator M.R.G. = Mixed Reality Gadgets; Energetic, Emergent, etc

The Cybermon (c.f. Cyberdog, in Camden Lock Market), creates inventions that are just south of the equator, but also just north of the equator, its really just a question of mental latitude. Why? Because: this is a denial of service attack on a patent-hungry industry

Are you exploited? Have you ever been exploited [I'd offer apologies to James Marshall Hendrix, except he's dead so there's no point].

after Pokemon, Digimon, now we have Cybermon....populated by weird, and quite possibly monstrous, ideas - for example, here are several we prepared earlier...

Ask not for whom the cable leaks

File forgiveness bits - now why don't distributed file systems have forgiveness bits - these are like permission bits, but operate in the opposite direction in time. This allows for consistent treatment of relaxation of policy/mechanism to scale for things like accidental leaks and makes taint tracking properly consistent with threshold security and differential privacy - file under Jesuitical Distributed Systems impossibility results, part III.

Coctail d'Eau - Orpheus in Cyberspace

In Cocteau's movie, Orphee, the poet, having listened to coded messages in the surreal radio broadcasts of Eluard, travels to Hell to rescue his friend, Eurydice, by travelling through mirrors. Mirrors, which look remarkably like water (only hanging in space, exactly the way a Iain Banks novel, doesn't). The Coctail d'eau is a haptic feedback device that doesn't exert force, but rather, viscosity.

Virtual Homing-Pigeon-Brain in a T-Shirt

I was talking to some folks about wearable computers today -they envisage a network woven into clothes RATHER than wireless - since this reduces the power requirement a lot ... and it occurred to me that such a network would probably be quite sensitive to the magnetic and electrical fields of the earth - now its well known (since a paper in Science back in 1979) that pigeons can detect the gradient of the earths magnetic field and use this to assist navigation - how much date one gets is unknown, but with a few meters of wiring around a person, one ought to be able to do a lot better than a pigeon. or is it just a virtual-pigeon-brained idea?

Fridge Cam-lets

You've heard of fridge magnets? well these are bluetooth capable webcams you stick on the fridge (inside or out) so that you can look at stuff from remote (if say your home phone is a bluetooth/dect/gsm n-band phone (when oh when will someone ship a gsm/dect home base station thats priced sensibly, eh?)). So inside the fridge, they need to be able to actuate the light too (unless of course you are a true believer and know that the light doesn't really stay out when you close the fridge door:).

So then, from the shop, not recalling if you are clean out of chicken nuglets or smoked salmon, you can from your cell phone, call your fridge (well, you dial home and ask your bluetooth manager gateway to) and ask it to show you whats on each shelf.

cam-let - now there's a neat name:) you stick em here, you stick em there, and see what's going on...

wipod - a radio, how quaint!

how often is it you can't find the cable to link your mp3/digitalcamera/programmablewatch to your laptop and the Internet? yes, almost daily - so what we want, and we will get it is low cost short haul wireless - now dunno bout you, but 2 of my laptops do bluetooth, as do all 6 cell phones in my house (6 people live here ranging from 7-50 years old). So we don't want them thar wires no more. not if you can help it.

of course someone is gonna shout "security!". well thats why bluetooth is the way it is - true, with wifi, you'd wanna have some sort of ipsec, or higher level vpn , or even just straight ssh tunnel to the device, but hey, that software all exists, all fits in modest chunks of memory, and we are talking about devices that store Gigabytes of music and images, and have respectable audio/video software in - a complex comms stack should be a needle-in-a-haystack - oops- wrong analogy; should be in the noise; oops - still wrong analogy - um, so the comms stack should not be a significant extra burden - they already got USB and other gubbins in there. lets just have an IP bluetooth stack and a secure wifi stack and be done with - you know it makes cents.

The Hairt

its very frustrating when you meet people who have only seen your picture on a web page...esp. if you are pictured there with longer/shorter hair - the solution is the new device the Hairt

this is a scottish sounding device that you put on your head and it has a sensor that detects people by cookies, given them when they last visited your website, and displays the haircut on your head that is most familiar to them - if you meet two people, it morphs the haircut to meet both viewpoints....

in a crowd, it probably does best if it makes it look like you have nits..

The Gurl

The gurl ("grab URL") is a pair of glasses - they posses a small camera AND an overlay display - when you see a URL on a real world object, they capture and OCR it for later upload via irda to your palm/phone.... if another person has seen an object with some interesting symbl on it, they can label the object with that symbol and an associated URL (for example they see a truck with a particularly registration, and want to remind you if you see it to do something (crash into it for example) - so then you see a virtual URL


after we bought you the hairt, and the gurl, now we have the karmalian

this is a piece of material like a j-cloth that can wrap around and stick to anything and then (via bluetooth) receives an image of itself and its surroundings from a "nearby camera" (or even a CIA surveillance satellite) - it then changes color/pattern to as close as possible to the surroundings, thus hiding/concealing what is is wrapped around - initial use is to hide my mug in plain view so people stop stealing it from the staff common room - later projects will incrementally deploy this material over sections of cities to make more and more of them look like the surrounding countryside - with suitable interaction from users, its possible that different people will be able to provide consensus view (some of you might want the countryside to look more like the surrounding city for example...)

a simple application would be with bob rosenburg's virtual keyboard, one could display an keyboard on any surface that one was "typing" on...

Virtual Eyes (as opposed to Normal Eyes)

(read while listening to primalscream

When you look into someone's eyes, normally, you see yourself reflected (at an reflection angle that is the same to the normal as the angle of incidence, what a coincidence:-)

So with Virtual Eyes (TM), you see someone else reflected - the person that this person was LAST looking at ....

This is useful in negotiations....

Re-tale Therapy

This is a new version of a very old game - you have to pin a story on a shoplifter - you have to do it by leaving an audit trail of false data in the surveillance databases around the world to prove that someone who wasn't really there, was.


This is a low cost solution to the problems faced by the higher Echelon's within GCHQ, of trying to keep up with all the latest dotcomeraderie - along the lines proposed by Professor Flan O'Brien (a.k.a. Miles na Gopaleen) in his highly respected work on the Institute, concerning the ventriloquists, the Karmavore is a whispering hidden assistant worn like a cufflink (Think appliance-meets-ms_paperclip, and you cannot go far wrong)- when a word comes up in conversation with an expert, that the assistant knows that the Government Adviser will not know the meaning off, it is quickly emailed off to an expert who then provides live voice - the speech and vocal patterns of the remote expert are on-the-fly translated into fly-on-the-wall commentary in the manner of the GCHQ adviser, so that the RealWorldPresent expert notices not-one-thing - it is suddenly as if the upper-echelon person really is an expert too.


is a web page which shows a map with the web server and the current client show and a compass which displays the direction North w.r.t where the client is currently facing....doing this without gsm or gps in the client is tricky (but possibly not impossible - think about it...)


A simulated -user-friendly, green radar screen on your lap/palm/desk-top, showing the locations of real and virtual people near you and their velocities...(think of it as "visual rwho", and you can't go far wrong). for busy webmaisters, it shows the location and data rates of the current and recent client set...


Do it yourself DNA - the UK government is kindly making the entire DNA record of 3M alleged evil-doers available - this is a web site that lets you cook up arbitrary forensic evidence with the appropriate human tissue marked with a chosen (or randomly allocated) persons DNA.....for a small fee, the evidence can be left at the requested location by our trusty arbeiter. better than appropriating someones biometrics, eh!

All of Mirrors

for several yearz now, i've been mucking around with a network simulator called ns for a lot of network research here, and also running it in partial emulation mode - basically, ns mimics the Internet protocol stack by offering a set of classes that fit into a discrete event simulator much as you might expect - it has a topology generator, and a selective trace facility which then lets you run visualisations of the history of dissimulation run.

ns is written in c++ and object tcl, and via a _very_ crude reflective interface, allows the tcl to modify the implementation and behaviour of the c++ level (and vice versa); (footnote: reasons are that tcl is good for scripting, so you can quickly modify descriptions of instances of topology or imposed events and other simulation configuration data in that language, while the c++ is therefore "efficiency" reasons (simulating 10^6 nodes in interpreted anything is seriously not likely to get far)

it allows you to interface to the real world in "emulation mode" - an entity in the simulator acts as an "avatar" for the real world ip or end system or traffic object, and via a simple packet filter/gateway, allows on to make experiments that are part real part simulated...

[aside: for reasons of sanity, we've been trying to re-write the whole thing in java ]

so anyhow, what interests me about this is that of course it is a specific instance of mixed reality....and it gives some interesting insights (or might do if i didn't have so much teaching and admin to do) into the sorts of problems faced by systems that attempt to simulate a world with some common ground with reality, and also interface to it....and the first one i can come up with that there are bound to be massive asymmetries - inherent is the fact that the real world is as real as it is whereas there are choices of resolution and of temporal accuracy in the simulated world.....there's not a choice about the rate at which time rolls forward in RL...

So anyhow, in parallel with this, manuel oliveira was working on dealing with simple differences in network, display and other system capability in a shared environment, and it seems that the approach he is adopting (from some of y'all work) can be extended into RL and from RL into cyberia

we'd need to think about a suitable set of mapping functions to cope with interpolation and extrapolation in the simulated environment - easy enough, but how do we modify the behaviour of the users in the _Real World_ _environment_ ??

easy: we do it with mirrors (*) if you have an (imperfect, fairground hall-of-m*) mirror at the gateway between virtual and real, on the real side, it shows the real user how they look to users in the simulated world - this can be done in a lot of ways - its certainly well known that yo can get people to behave differently by showing them what (you want them to think) they look like.

hmmm, programmable mirrors, eh? whatever next?

* of course, this idea was originally had by Jean Cocteau as a way of visualising the gateway between Earth and Hell in his visionary film Orphee (1949) which also features some very neat use of poetry as code...

SMELL - Sensing Means for Electricity's Location for Laptops, etc

This device is put into mobile phones, laptops, pacemakers, etc and tells you where the nearest source of juice i if you are running low, or need a de-fibrillator, whichever is most relevant:-) Other tropisms (heat, light, scenery, can be considered later.... sort of like warchalking for free 802.11 access (or gnutellaing for mp3s) only now its shockingly more useful.


Web Ages - this ages web page content - takes pictures and introduces entropy appropriately - takes text, and makes it more archaic.


radio controlled helicoptors are quite inexpensive nowadays - now here is an idea - we have people being tracked around the department via ultrasound, and their avatars displayed in holodeck the CAVE in the appropriate places - why not have helicoptors fly around the quad in patterns that map the same space as people in the department - better still, we could get a bunch of ballet dancers and track them, and have the helicopters mimic the dance - with sufficiently athletic (nijinsky/nureyev leaps to mind) dances, there might even be a strong 3rd dimension to this... ... a kyoshi concept 30 can be bought for about 95 quid second hand...

Mobile Teethcare

Dispensing Wisdom with Care:
Using blue tooth to combat grey teeth

the average customer for dental care products is not aware that it is possible to use to much fluoride - where water supplies are either naturally or artificially high in fluoride, it is wise to reduce the intake in toothpaste.

By monitoring this level and emitting the information on a standard bluetooth service address, toothpaste dispensers with appropriate receivers can now add the right quantity of toothpaste on demand - Note that the cost of the technology is largely in the installation.

Of course, care must be taken not to jam the 802.11 network that is being used by the household health monitor to control the temperature of the water in the tea, coffee, chocolate, shower, sink and bath, or unpleasant side effects may occur.

Bombe Surprise

so, as a cyclist, what i want is a waterbomb (ballon filled with water) that i carry in my knapsack where the water is dyed with a non washable color

the balloon is carefully calibrated to be a certain strength...

then if someone drives too close or too fast, and i drop or throw it at the vehicle, it marks them as a "bad guy"

but only if they are too close/fast

low cost sensor net stuff (e.g. from UCLA or USC or Berkeley) for accelerometers/proximity etc

a new application for smartdust?


A Blog ratchet - you know - a ratchet is a device that lets you go one way, and not back. This is a browser plugin that lets blogs only move forward - it slips and compresses cycles in the web down the ratchet til they are scrumpphed down the end like so much used dental phloss. Google? I nearly ultravistad til i kried.


This is a solution to those of you who went to Glastonbury - we print out lots of listings of middleware, and wrap it around our feet - it stops us slipping and soaks up all the mud - we can then put the paper and mud in the recycling fires at nite to keep warm while listing to swingbeat in the Field of Lost Vagueness. This is a social service as it removes unwanted middleware and mud and only creates marginal amount of CO2 compared with speaking at the Middleware conference, or talking to colleagues about debugging it.

One line spoof of Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "This is going to be difficult", thought the general, many years later, as he died. Or to put it another way, as Peter Pan dressed for his first job in the City "To Tie Die would be a great adventure".

Potable Computers

The liptop computer is disguised as a moustache - good even for ladies in the Mediterranean climes. Like a babel fish, it takes utterances, and translates them - unlike babel fish, it is an output device, not an input device, which probably renders it less useful in group conversations, but still could be amusing.


Brogging is to blogging what instant messaging is to e-mail. brogging is so called as its so in-your-face - connotations such as "bragging" are entirely intended (and intirely entended too).

a Brog site is a combination of RSS and blog. Its for people that feel what they have to say is so important that, not only must other people have the opportunity to hear it, they must hear it right away, and possibly not even have the choice to turn it off.

a Brog site uses Brats (these are vermin, a combination of Bots and RSS) to distribute unwanted content to discontented recipients. Brats make use of spryware, which is thin-client spyware (e.g. installed on blueberries, blackberries and ipods, and digital cameras) to pop up the window to display the incessant nonsense typed by many broggers, just like <- this :-)

Potable Document Ferment

If we could introduce bubbles into guiness, and burst them, under simple control via a USB port and an electrostatic speaker field, we could then "write" on the surface of a pint. This would be useful in pubs for reading txt messages from friends and then (permanently) deleting them without having to drive the screen on your pda/phone/blueberry.


one day I will have a jPod, a jBook, and a jPhone and a j-on - the j stands for joinery - a seamless interconnect fabric that lets me hang these devices on my clothes or put them in my pocket and they all recharge each other - instead of having n keyboards, n screens, n toggly roundy tweakery interface buttons, i have 1, and a bunch of slaves some are j-specialised to audio, some to long haul radio communication, some to authorisation and locality. the j-on is the unifying, ownership (c.f. Stajano's resurrecting duckling/imprinting).

J is the new I.

Perceptial Motion

So Tivo lets you timeshift TV - now how about time-shifting cycling - have a bike with a generator/electric motor and big re-chargeable battery (e.g. di-lithium crystals) - when you have energy in the day, cycle on the spot to charge the battery; at the end of the day, when you are tired, reverse the polarity, cross the streams, and coast home.

If you are really lazy, strap a piece of buttered toast butter side down to a cat, and drop the cat out the window with a belft conncted from it to the charger on the bike - the cat will try and land feet first, the toast will try and land butter first, and the spinning resulting will easily give enough charge to get you up any reasonable hill. Don't touch the cat afterwards tho.

Playback Time

when those next door neighbours in the motel room are having too much fun at 3 am and the headboard sounds like its connected to the ouija board, you need to haunt them - this device plays back over audio/visual in their room, everything they are doing, the naughty devils, only with a 0.63 second delay - calculated to make even the most sophistacated lurver lose all interest.

Really Affordable Telemmetry

Scientists have managed to overlay a modest radar system and sensor net on the neural net of small mammals - their whiskers make excellent antennae and can mimic the smartest of phase array systems constructed to date with a mere quiver of the muzzle - these are typically omnipresnt, and make a far more satisfactory method to collect data about hazardous and unpleasant environements - after all there are some things you really can't ask a computer to do; but a rat....

Ego and Jungian Archetype Cards

There's been a lot of fuss in 2006 about id cards.

It worries me that we are prepared to let the Monsters of the ID lose even if they can prove who they were. It seems to me (ergo, ego) that we also need Ego cards. And having dealt with the Id and the Ego we should also not shy from being Jung and Anna Freud.

Role Based Access control would be implemented through the use of multiple Ego cards. A generic, un-affiliated (unadopted) card would of course be an archetype - before some technique such as Stajano's resurrecting ducklings are employed. An interesting idea that suggests itself is the use of Genetic Programming, to provide unique cards which exchange digital genetic material with each other to provide an increasingly hard to forge identity. Stolen cards would of course not work as they would shortly after they were out of context, lose their ever changing, but verifiable personae - after all, we are who we meet.

Mobile Phone Immobilizer

fed up with stolen mobile phones? RFID in the _charger+ (same ias car key rfid immobiliser) - then phone is usefless without its original charger - use frank stajano's imprint+resurrecting duckling protocol if you lose the charger. game over.

intellectual origami

Practical Quantum Computing

Using the Xen hypervisor, one could virtualise a bit - with sufficient "guest bit" instances running, one could emulate any statistical distribution of bit values, hence one could emulate a quantum computer. This would be much cheaper than using josephson junctions or lasers, although not as cool.

re-wireable pianos

If we could attach 88 mice, glued to a piece of board side by side, to a single computer, then we could design a very simple program to work as an infinitely re-configurable keyboard (c.f. the Logical Bassoon (apologies to Giles Brindley). This would be a huge advance in ease of use.

pianisso maximo

late braking news

New gadget called a decelerometer:- it measures how much you are slowing down.

its cheaper than an accelerometer as it can draw power from the system which wants power drawn anyhow since it is slowing down, which makes it green and ecofriendly and so on, whereas an accelerometer takes energy out when you most want it...

Antiquarian Bookmark Seller

You've heard of antiquarian books, and you probably use bookmarks - well you probably have bookmarked sites that no longer exist or are no longer useful or interesting. Sell them thru us!

No longer do dangling URLs need annoy, nor links to pages not updated for yonks - we can find someone who has a use for them!

Click-Through Feeless, Logo-free, no-advert zone

Click here and you will not be charged or see a pop up advert, nor will we log your click and sell the data to any organisation for market research. This scheme has been bought to you by an anonymous donor-kebab-lover.

Cookie-cutter region-enforcement

Many companies are faced with the awful prospect of reduced profits due to globalisation, where the price they set in the poorest places on the planet isntantly becomes the price everywhere - products from DVDs, MP3s, and completely innocent things like AIDS drugs and automatic weapons and ammunition are available at knock down prices in places where the rich should be fleeced for every penny (e.g. Saudi Arabia, USA and other friendly states).

We propose the use of embedded, lat-long sensitive nano-tech cookie cutters within the product wrapping so that anyone trying to open their new xmas prezzy to fire on the insurrectionists, or treat the unwitting HIV victim, to the accompaniment of the sounds and vision of the latest hits, will have to make sure they are in the right place at the right time, else its "bye-bye skin and bones".

suitable nano-technology would have to include GPS and Galileo receivers which might make it quite bulky, so one thing to do would be to desing some sort of decentralised mimo sensor net GPS receiver that would collaborate over a number of wrappers and products - after all, where there's one M16/AK47/AZT-dose, there's probably 100.

You know it makes sense: price discrimination isn't unfair at all. No it isn't, really.

Virtual Shake

I want a smart phone in the form factor of a hand (or glove) - then when I call someone and they pick up, if they are a friend, it feels like a handshake. It could be firm, limp or a squeeze - up to them and me...


What if your phone could photosynthesize - it could charge the batteries bay taking in solar energy through the camera.

Alternatively, use the microphone's vibration when speaking to harvest power - that way, the longer you speak, the longer you can speak.

 Last Updated: Oct 23, 2006