Tech As a Bridge, Not a Wall
The more technology becomes a mediator, as it has in cellphones, the more people will tend to go through their mediator rather than through the traditional face-to-face channels. Some activities, though, have traditional channels too complicated to orchestrate often, or have never been developed at all. And these are where connecting technologies can be a boon.
Take the board meeting, as an example. Before conference calls and videoconferencing, getting together to discuss new ideas and collaborate on solutions was costly and time consuming. But now, so many options for group connection exist that it has become commonplace even for people to work from home, other countries, or even have split offices which attempt to function as one. How can this success of connection be applied to other opportunities?
Lets start with one which is just beginning. Say you want to learn the Oboe. That's an instrument which, while pretty by itself, can really benefit from accompaniment by a full orchestra. But how many of us have a philharmonic laying around, or tucked into the basement? In The Chair, an amazing little piece of genius is trying to fill that void. You sit in front of a digital music stand which displays your musical piece. Through stereo surround sound, you hear the orchestra around you, accurately represented spatially relative to your chair. And, for the kicker, the software in this puppy includes a virtual conductor who gives you feedback on your performance, based on the accuracy of your pitch, tempo, and volume.
This small plastic stand allows you to do something truly impossible for nearly everyone before -- an incredible feat. But even more interesting are the possibilities that could be had by adding network connectivity. Imagine actually playing with a collaborative orchestra from all over the world, in realtime just like a musical multiplayer online action game.
But the connection doesn't have to be anything so dramatic. Sometimes the simplest thing, like the idea of a hug, can be powerful. That's what HugMS is counting on. This cute little guy is an SMS activated object allows the sending of more abstract concepts, like hugs, through the cellphone. Light intensity, or a phone message let you know when you're getting hugged, and if you squeeze back, you can acknowledge the message. This small message is somewhere in between silence, and a text message. Just a little note to tell the person you're thinking of them. Or, for an even more eclectic sense of connection check out these networked rocking chairs from Noriyuki Fujimura
Our technology can become a screen around us which separates us from the world. But it also has tremendous potential to be cords, telescopes, windows, and stairways connecting us to far away, numerous, or unimaginable places. Places full of opportunity.
Copyright 2004-2006 Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team