What Smart Glasses Are Really All About

Glasses2

Sorry, but Google botched the Smart Glasses it called, Google Glass. 


Why?


– Geeky-looking

– Privacy issues (e.g. videocameras in bathrooms)

– Apps lagged with practical applications


However, I am certain that computers wearables or implants will take off–although probably not through this first iteration of the Apple Watch either–still don’t know a soul who bought into this!


Until then, what about really smart glasses?


No, not the type that will provide apps and virtual reality superimposed over everything you see.


But rather, glass that medically allow you to see under any and all conditions. 


– It’s a “one time prescription”–that adjusts with you as your eyes change. Like the machine the optometrist uses to change the prescription this way and that asks you which is better, only these glasses automatically adjust to whatever your prescription is that moment, day, or year. 


– Autofocus and zoom–want to see what’s going on from the bleachers at the game or can’t see the sign in the distance, simply focus on the person or object and voila you can see in zoom. 


– All Terrain–and no more bifocals–wherever you look–near or far–that is where the prescription adjusts to.


– All Weather–sunny days or cloudy skies–the glasses adjust to the light and conditions automatically–no more polarized shades. 


If you ask me, these are functionally smart glasses–and you don’t need to go to the likes of Pearl Vision and get gouged on new glasses every year. 


Hey, and if your fashion conscious, you can still pop ’em out and fit them snuggly into another new frame with some designer’s name on it, all made in China for about a buck! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Medical Hacks

Medical Hacks

Usually when we talk about the dangers of cyber attacks, we are concerned with the dangers of someone stealing, spying, or systematically corrupting our information systems.

But Barnaby Jack who died last week at age 35 brought us awareness of another, more personal and perhaps dangerous hack…that of hacking medical devices.

Barnaby, a director at computer security firm IOActive, became known first in 2010 for being able to hack at cash machine and have it dispense money.

In 2012, he drew attention to a flaw in insulin pumps whereby someone could cause it to administer a fatal dose to its unknowing victim.

This week, Barnaby was going to demonstrate how heart implants could be hacked, killing a man from 30 feet away.

With advances in the miniaturization and battery life of personal medical devices and implants for monitoring and managing patients health, more and more people could be exposed to malicious or murderous cyber attacks on their body.

With the potential for RFID embedded chips for managing our personal identities to bionics for replacing or enhancing human body parts with electronic and mechanical implants, the opportunity for someone seriously messing with our physical person grows each day.

If dangerous vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited in these devices, an enemy could go from the traditional attack on our information systems to potentially sickening, disabling, or even killing millions at the stroke of some keys.

Imagine people keeling over in the streets as if from a surprise attack by a superior alien race or the release of a deadly chemical weapon, only it’s not extraterrestrial or kinetic, but instead a malevolent cyber attack by a hostile nation or cyber terrorist group taking aim at us in a whole new and horrible way.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Bhakua)

This Tape Will Self Destruct In Five Seconds

This Tape Will Self-Destruct In Five Seconds

Ever since the 1960’s airing of Mission Impossible, where each episode started with the instructions for a dangerous mission on a tape recording, which ended with “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds,” have we all recognized the need for self-destructing devices to safeguard information.

This message has been honed over the last three decades with compromising security incidents:

1979: Iranian demonstrators stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and according to UMBC “the incinerator broke” as personnel tried to destroy sensitive documents and they had to revert to shredding.

2001: A Chinese J-8 fighter aircraft collided with a EP-3 U.S. Intel aircraft which according to CNN was “likely equipped with highly sensitive equipment” and landed on the Chinese island of Hainan providing China the opportunity to board, disassemble, and study the equipment before it was returned three months later.

2011: Iran captured an RQ-170 Sentinel Drone and USA Todayreported on Iran’s claims that “all files and boards of the drone were copied and used to improve Iran’s unmanned aircraft.” Also in 2011 in the assault on Osama Bin Laden, a secret stealth helicopter that took a hard-landing had to be destroyed before special forces pulled out–however according to the New York Times, “a surviving tail section reveal modifications to muffle noise and reduce the chances of detection by radar” was left behind providing others the opportunity to learn about our sensitive technologies.

Additionally, as ever more advanced technology continues to enter the battlefield the threat of its capture and exploitation becomes increasingly concerning.
In this context, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the start up of a new program on 28 January 2013 called Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR).

VAPR is intent on developing technologies for “transient electronics…capable of dissolving into the environment around them.”

The goal is that “once triggered to dissolve, the electronics would be useless to any enemy that comes across them.”

According to Armed Forces International, along with the destruction of the electronics would be “taking classified data with it.” Thereby preventing the enemy from using captured information to develop countermeasures or reverse engineer their finds.

Transient electronics are intended to be rugged on the battlefield but able to be destroyed on command, perhaps by biomedical implants that release “a few droplets of [a self-destruct] liquid” or other means.

Whether self-destructing in five seconds or slightly more, the need to preserve our sensitive battlefield technologies and the intelligence they contain has never been more vital. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Mike Licht)

The Materiality of Super Strength Graphene

Scientific researchers in Britain, Norway and the U.S. are bringing us a major breakthrough in material science—by developing a “super strength” substance called graphene.

According to the Guardian (26 December 2012), graphene has “unmatched electrical and physical properties.” It’s made of an “atom-thick sheet of carbon molecules, arranged in a honeycomb lattice,” and promises to revolutionize telecommunications, electronics, energy industries, not to mention the untold applications for the military.

– Conductivity:  Transmits electricity a million times better than copper
– Strength: The strongest material known to humankind, 200 times that of steel (Sciencebuzz)
– Transparency & Flexibility:  So thin that light comes through it; more stretchable than any known conductor of electricity

Just a few of the amazing uses graphene will make possible (some of these from MarketOracle):

– Home windows that are also solar panels—clear off that roof and yard
– TV in your windows and mirrors—think you have information overload now?
– Thinner, lighter, and wrappable LED touch screens around your wrists—everyone can have Dick Tracy style
– Medical implants and organ replacements that can “last disease-free for a hundred years”—giving you that much more time to be a helicopter parent
– Vastly more powerful voice, video and data and palm-size computers—giving the average person the “power of 10,000 mainframes”
– Both larger and lighter satellites and space vehicles—imagine a skyscraper-size vehicle weighing less than your “patio barbecue grill”!
– Tougher and faster tanks and armored personnel carriers with the plus of an invisibility cloak—even “Harry Potter” would be jealous

The potential is truly amazing, so whomever thinks that the best technology is behind us, better think again. Better yet, soon they’ll be able to get a graphene brain implant to help them realize what they’ve been missing. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to University of Maryland)

Technology Forecast 2013

Technology_forecast_2013_-_and

I am an avid follower of everything technology and trends, but am tired of hearing about cloud, mobile, and social computing.

It’s time to get over it with the agenda of the past and get on with it with the future of technology.

In the attached graph is my Technology Forecast 2013, and here is where I see us going forward:

1) Service Provision–Cost-cutting and consolidation into the cloud is a wonderful idea and it has had it’s time, but the future will follow consumer products, where one flavor does not fit all, and we need to have globalization with a local flavor to provide for distinct customer requirements and service differentiators, as well as classified, proprietary and private systems and information.

2) Service Delivery–Mobile is here and the iPhone is supreme, but the future belongs to those that deliver services not only to remote devices, but in wearable, implantable, and even human augmentation.

3) Human Interaction–Social computing epitomized by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more is a cool way in interact with others virtually, but wall posts, email, and chats are getting cliche–next up conjoining with others with capabilities such as telepathic communication, mind melding collaboration, and even virtual sex for the outlandish.

4) Robotics and Artificial Intelligence–With something like 10,000 drones flying the friendly and not-so friendly skies and even drones that autonomously land on aircraft carriers, the next robot is coming to the ground near you–drones will become (an)droids and will eventually have the AI to become part of our everyday society.

5) Service Assurance–Enough playing defense with a sprinkling of offense against our worst enemies–it’s past time to move from trying to stop-gap infiltrators and do damage control once we’ve been robbed blind, and instead move to a hunter-killer mentality and capability–the price of being a bad boy on the Internet goes way up and happens in realtime.

6) Data Analytics–Big data isn’t a solution, it’s the problem. The solution is not snapshot pretty graphics, but realtime augmented reality–where data is ingrained in everything and transparent realtime–and this becomes part of our moment-by-moment decision processes.

7) Biotechnology–Biometrics sounds real cool–and you get a free palm reading at the same time, but the real game changer here is not reading people’s bio signatures, but in creating new ones–with not only medical cures, but also new bio-technological capabilities.

8) Nanotechnology–Still emerging, quantum mechanics is helping us delve into the mysteries of the universe, with applications for new and advanced materials, but the new buzzword will be nano-dust, where atomic and molecular building blocks can be used on-the-fly to build anything, be anywhere, and then recycled into the next use.

Overall, I see us moving from mass produced, point-to-point solutions to more integrated end-to-end solutions that fit individual needs–whether through continued combinations of hardware, software, and services, man-machine interfaces/integration, and building blocks that can be shaped and reused again and again.

From my perspective, there a seeming lull in innovation, but the next big leap is around the corner.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Superabled, Not Disabled

 

This is a video of South African sprinter and Olympic hopeful, Oscar Pistorius–a double amputee fitted with curved, carbon-fiber prosthetic “Cheetah Blades” that can “challenge the fastest sprinters in the world.” 

There was a fascinating article about this in the Wall Street Journal today (2-3 June 2012)–on how high-tech implants are being put in people’s bodies and brains, changing them from disabled to “superabled.” 

The article explains how “the goals for many amputees is no longer to reach a ‘natural’ level of abilities, but to exceed it, using whatever cutting-edge technology is available.” 

And just like body implants are helping spur superhuman abilities, so too neural implants can stimulate brain activity to focus attention, faster learning, hone skills, and augment performance. 

Last September, Tim Hemmes, paralyzed from a motocycle accident, was able to use a brain implant to move a mechanical arm, just with his thoughts! 

“Technology can give us brains and brawn” and those with disabilities and the elderly who have lost mental and physical capacities will be early adopters–“they have a lot to gain and are willing to face the risk inherent in new medical technology.” 

There are many ethical questions when it comes to human implants–especially when it comes to the possibility of people voluntarily substituting technology for healthy body parts–just to have the Steve Austin-like, Six Million Dollar Man, bionic capabilities. 

Another question is once we start replacing our body parts–our very selves–with technology augmentation, at what point do we stop being us?  And at what point, do we potentially stop being human and become something else–half human, half machine–or even more machine than human? 

Like the mythical creature, the centaur, which was half man and half horse–it seems like humans have always wondered about what makes them who they are and ultimately what they might become if they try to co-exist or meld with something altogether different. 

By combining technology into our humanity, we are becoming something different–maybe a super human, if we use it ethically and for the good. Or perhaps we may become something more malevolent, if we go on to abuse our superabled powers to dominate or otherwise harm those less souped-up than us. 

Only time will tell where technological implantation and human augmentation ultimately takes us–it holds both enormous promise that we need to leverage and frightening risks that must be carefully planned and managed. 

 

 

In The Year 2032 And Beyond

Trends help us to see where things are coming from and potentially where they are going.

There is a Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast for 2010-2015 that projects global IP traffic (voice, video, and data) and the numbers are ginormous!

Here are some highlights from their highlights for where we will be in only 3 years–by 2015:

Annual global IP traffic will reach one zettabyte (which is about 100 million x all printed material in the U.S. Library of Congress (which is 10 terabytes)).

Devices connected to the network will be 2 for 1 for every person on this planet (and many people who live in 3rd world conditions do not have any devices, so what does that say for how many devices the rest of us have?).

Non-PC traffic (from TVs, tablets, smartphones, more) will reach 15% and is more than doubling every year (makes you think about when you fridge and toaster are going to be connected to the Internet).

Mobile Data traffic is practically doubling (or 92%) annually meaning a growth of 2,600% over 5 years (and according to the New York Times (5 Jan 2012) “The Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of The World’s Bandwidth” and the top 10% of users consume 90%!).

Video traffic (TV, Video on Demand, Peer to Peer, etc.) will be almost 2/3 (or 62%) of all consumer internet traffic (and services like YouTube, Skype, FaceTime, Hulu are WebEx all play a role as we want to see as much or more than hear what is going on).

The takeaway for me from all this is that truly information transmission is exploding over the Internet, and we will continue to need more advanced technologies to “pipe” it all to where its going and do it faster than ever.

However to build on these forecasts, over the longer term (further out in time, so more risky, of course)–say 20 years or so–some of my colleagues and I studying at National Defense University project the following:

Rather than transmitting voice, video, and data over the Internet, we will be focused on transmitting thoughts (mental activity rather than spoken) and transmitting matter (like the Transporter on Star Trek).

– Transmission of thoughts will occur in real-time, through persistent connections, probably implants in teeth, glasses, subcutaneous, etc.

Safety and health will be monitored through these same “connections” and medicine or other physiological treatments for routine things will be administered remotely through the same.

Education will be through instantaneous zaps of information to your brain (like in The Matrix) from a universal database, rather than through traditional in-class or online courses.

– Like now, the contextual policy and legal issues will be around privacy and security–and you will need to pay dutifully for each in a world where not only what you say and do, but rather what you think, can get you in lots of trouble.

Okay, for these things to happen by 2032 is probably a little aggressive, but don’t rule any of them out over time.  😉