Atopia Chronicles: How Good Sci Fi gets you thinking, about well....Everything


This is a very old post that I wrote a year ago, (Yikes!) that I never ended up posting. It mainly dealt with what I saw interesting happening with human interactions with technology. I drew some parallels to a science fiction book that I had just finished, Atopia Chronicles, that envisioned seamless human interfaces with technology that altered sense and perception. Since I'm currently taking an interface class at Art Center, I thought to put this up, better late than never

Augmented reality

Yelp's Monocle feature still gives me a kick when I turn it on and can pan 360 degrees and see whats around me to eat. A more interesting AR experience is with the Wikitude app for IOS. I live in nestled in a the valley of a mountain range, where a wide network of hiking trails courses through the spines and sides of the mountains surrounding me. Wikitude has a channel for geotagged images. I turned it on, and panned around, I was surrounded by data ghosts.

It's fascinating, that simple innocuous feature let me see snippets of peoples previous experiences, hikes, what they tweeted, the picture they took. I learned a high school church group climbed up the side of the mountain 500 meters away, 6 months ago, and that  it was sunny. A couple stopped by the riverbed 150 meters away and snapped photos standing on the large boulders that deposited themselves there.  each a unique experience, each I would have never known, but the data is forever tied to that spot, a memory forever etched into the digital world, and existing transient in the real world. accessible through the looking glass of my smartphone. Now that I'm aware, I'll make sure any of my images arent geotagged. to me it feels like digital littering. 

Another interesting example of the digital interfacing with the real world is Microsoft's illumiroom concept. It can scan the depth and surfaces of your "tv" area, and create dynamic and immersive effects with it. Imagine a video game where the force of an explosion ripples through your room. 

ex: Microsoft's Illumiroom concept:


Another aspect of the Seamless tech future of Atopia Chronicles are the PSSI kids. They were integrated with neural interface systems from birth, because of their use of technology at an early age, they are capable of "splintering" their consciousness in varying degrees. For example, one could have a minor part of your mind searching the web for spaghetti recipes, while another part of you can have a projected hologram giving a lecture halfway across the world simultaneously, in effect, the ultimate multi-tasking experience. They can also use Virtual "phantom" limbs and senses that are tied into their neural network, so you can become an awesome surfer by having the water become like your own skin. 

real life:

With the incalculable torrent of data around us, we've created our own phantom limbs to filter massive amounts of data. There's the rise of meta-data sites, like or that cull the best from the noise. With so much data, we cant possibly scour. At the same time, marketing algorithms to personalize what we like on video sites, e-retail are learning what we like, are giving us more of what we like under the term "related content"  

hen we wait in line, it's automatic to log onto Facebook and "exist" there while our bodies are queud up waiting to order. Think about it, when is the last time you've looked at your surroundings while waiting in a line? If the wait is longer than one minute, how often do you instinctively check your status. 

Just on the horizon, we have an experiment with augmenting to retraining our senses, eerily similar to what was presented in the novel. Fast Company highlights an experiment to make your tongue an input extension for data, a strip placed on the tongue could provide an electric signal that the tongue can feel and eventually learn differences in signals. the writer posits being able to "feel out free wifi"

Plugged into weighted piezo whiskers, a user can sense orientation, wind, and the lightest touch. Through tongueduino, we hope to bring electro-tactile sensory substitution beyond vision replacement, towards open-ended sensory augmentation.