Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mobile Senses

I usually get a number of strange looks from Lab students when I start to talk about the mobile phone enabling or extending our human senses. I get most of my inspiration for these ideas from Marshall McLuhan, whose books serve as regular guides for the work that I do. But now this week, two separate announcements are proving that such innovations are clearly moving forward. The first announcement (and the one that will likely have far quicker and more immediate uptake) was the introduction of a Braille phone that allows for person to person communications through vibrations rather than text. While the current application is geared towards text messaging, an obvious next step is to integrate this with Location Based information to create a wide range of services to support those with limited or no sight.

The second, although far more bizarre, is the announcement by NTT DoCoMo of its "breakthrough" smell-phone , equipped with a fragrance emitting plug-in. Aside from the obvious questions about the consumer adoption of such technologies, Marshall McLuhan must be smiling about this one. These two announcements clearly take the mobile phone to the heights of being both a "hot" and "cool" media.

1 comment:

  1. In addition to numberious mobile senses devices, there is another interesting DNA computing.

    The article discusses the future of computing world that may one day turns to living computer. At this stage, researchers only know that "one strand of human DNA is the same as that in 1,000 books of small print, each around 500 pages thick.". In the near future we might see computer power being transfered to cells which raise some implications.

    Firstly, I believe the DNA storage capacity may help reducing the size of computer. Importantly, DNA does not consumer so much energy, at the same time it does not generate so much heat. Thus, I assume our future living computer will need less fan!

    Another implication, I believe, we might be able to develop computer that can learn and think by itself. And, maybe the Moore law that computer processing power will double after year maybe be proven wrong as DNA processing power maybe far superior to current technology.

    So, what does it mean for consumers and consumer behavior? Surely, it will affect the way we interact with computer devices. If we can make DNA computer, our cell phone maybe embeded into our skin and we may not need to carry such device anymore.

    Alternatively, the DNA computing devices maybe used for medical research. Digital camera, for instance, maybe made from human cell that can go through any part of human body. Then, we should be able to get more information about how our DNA reach to each other.

    In sum, DNA computing maybe still far away, if there is enough investment on this field, who knows, this technology will be a next big thing for consumers.