Tag Archives: Star Trek

Eye Technology: What Would Gene Roddenberry See

Google Glass Visor Like so many others, I got excited when I read that Google was tinkering with glasses; that this eye technology might be a little more scientific than gadgetry got my attention. And then Google Glass was released.

The product did what it was touted to do, but it did little for technology in an aging world.

Google Glass is a toy for the outdoorsy types, who like to jump out of perfectly good airplanes and who like the thrill of scaling sheer mountainsides. But not so much for 75% of the Americans who wear some form of corrective lens and who have some degree of AMD- age-related Macular degeneration of the eye. America is getting older, perhaps it’s time to put away its toys.

I’m reminded of Opti-Grab, the fictional eyewear gadget that Steve Martin’s character invented in the movie, The Jerk. In the end, all its users ended up cross-eyed, for having repeatedly used the little eyeglass handle between their eyes. Label it gadget fail.

But could the influence of science fiction writers like Jules Verne and Gene Roddenberry, who gave us such great inspirational communication technology, likewise have stifled eye technology by mostly leaving it out of their written works?

What if Star Trek’s Lieutenant Commander LaForge had been cured of his blindness? What if scientists had eradicated that defect, would Google Glass have evolved as lighter version of the commander’s visor? Google Glass Visor
And maybe that’s the whole point, not to see the world as it is, but to see it as we would like it to be.

Because if we were given a pair of glasses that flipped images upside down, and we wore them for a few days, our brains would flip the images right side up. That’s been scientifically proven.

And I think that’s what happened last month, when Google released it’s Beta version of Google Glass. Now, it’s up to us to figure out some good use to put them to and for that, I’d like to first be paid.

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Filed under AARP, Apps, Baby boomers, Consumers, Eyegalsses, gadget, Google Glass, profitability, social media, technology, Television, Vision, Visor

The Art Of Tinkering

digi bill sheet

In my quest to review new technology, I discovered a lot of gadgets.  It made me realize that there are some very creative people in this world, the “Tinkerers”.   It also made me realize that we’ve been destroying this art, bit by bit, by systematically transforming the toys we give to our children and the programs that we put on television. 

Television, that “Boob Tube” of programs spurred the imagination.  Each week kids watched a Star Trek episode with a communicator, until one day that communicator became a cellphone.  They watched Uhura’s earpiece, until it became a Bluetooth headset.  These were the same kids that  used empty toilet paper tubes, spools of thread and cardboard egg-crates to build rocket-ships; the stuff of imagination.

Leave a kid with a sheet of paper and it becomes an airplane.  She carefully folds it, as she remembers seeing it done.  She’s trying it, tinkering with paper that’s soundless, so it doesn’t draw attention.  She creases it along an imaginary fold; she holds it between her forefinger and thumb.  She holds her breath, thinking that if she’s done it right, then it will surely take flight.

In great anticipation, she pulls her arm back and throws it forward with all her might.  The paper airplane leaves her round hand, it has lift and with a flurry of energy it spirals up towards the ceiling.  She gasps, she can hardly believe that she’s done it and then the oddest thing happens, the paper airplane just drops to the floor.  And for a moment she’s deflated, she picks it up and looks at it and thinks …

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the world’s greatest tinkerers; he saw improvement in nearly everything he looked at, his world was a blank sheet of paper.  Now- a-days, the tinkerers build upon da Vinci’s work and many others.  Most are nameless and less visible than movie stars and that’s sad.  Still, we benefit with the end product, modern day feats of inventions like Smartphones, Androids and tablets.    

I imagine that the feeling of successful tinkering is somehow linked to endorphins, that pleasing feeling of having accomplished something so wonderful, that once you do, little bits of confetti are tossed up into the air.  A moment full of smiles, amok with possibility!  It’s the feeling of being a kid at the beach and building a sand castle that the ocean takes away.  You’re not angry; you just think you’ll build a better one next time.

The art of tinkering begins with play, where the human senses are allowed to romp through open fields, both real and imagined.  Where school lessons ask questions that inspire more questions, and once exposed to math and science, are guided along to their natural conclusion that is to discover and improve life.  It’s not limited with video games that help you shoot Nazi’s in a first person war, in someone else’s imagined Call of Duty. 

All of these thoughts came to me, as I stumbled across more and more technology that at its best, was simple gadgetry.  This, the art of tinkering.

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