Wednesday, March 24, 2010

when tech looses its luster

Boring! I've heard both kids and adults cry out. Adrenalin and thrill seekers want more, anything less is boring! Video media is the rage, especially immersive 3d. You can feel like your are there, that is, all your senses say you are there. But today we have a poor man's version of a holodeck. You put on the glasses, stare intently and hear from every corner of the room. In your high priced home theater you can buy chairs with servo lifts that pitch and tilt and sub-woofers that hum, rattle and growl sending the immersion experience to the brink of real. The Omni-max thing with surround video and sound. There you are standing on a mountain peak, the snow is blinding, the wind howling, only the air smells like popcorn and it's way too warm in the room.

Lets change the scene from a home theater setup to something more refined. You have a large dining room. Put up rear projection screens on four sides, minus the entrance. The projectors are short throw to save space. A small round 4 seat table or a square of Astro-turf and the picnic spread is all you need. Oh yes, a computer capable of coordinating 4 video feeds. Your schedule is busy, you get home late, the sun has already set. You walk in the room, recline, sip a drink, some finger food. Your eyes open and see trees and a lake and you hear birds. The air is scented with greenery and its cool breeze is whispering or your favorite piece of jazz playing in the background.

My fantasy? The room is quite, a lit tilt disc controller in the middle where I stand. I put on cyber gloves and shoes (Wii eat your heart out!), hit the cuff button to start the sequence. The music plays, the images tear across the screens as if flying, down river, through the Grand Canyon and across the galaxy. The music or the sound dips and soars with my movements. I can even paint on my screens precisely drawing or splattering arrays of color and I can have it in the foreground or the background with other video layers in front of it. I can record it all.

Now that I did all this virtual stuff, I got to go out and get bored with the real thing. It's not so bad, a tad bit unpredictable, I might get to like it. It's therapy for my media addiction called MISO or Media Induced Sensory Overload. Treatment includes living with all media shut off for long periods and talking with real people. Whole families are often effected thus family outings are key.

Believe me, you don't want the gov to step in, I saw a home red tagged and locked. The family was taken to a shelter with lower technology till media immersion timers were installed in the home. It was bad, a mud slinger unit was found as they were sports fanatics. They watched football, car races, soccer, off-road biking and ATV racing, etc. The kids came to school looking like Charlie Brown's Pig Pen and the dad a corporate exec, always looked like Indiana Jones. The glazed eyes only blinked when a dirty, blood stained hand was waved.

There is a new book out to retrain mothers to let their kids play without helmets and kneepads. The sandbox replaced with a mud box and satin green lawns replaced with sticks and stones. One frantic mom was arrested, she had a arsenal of kid protection devices. A rack of fire distinguisher sized sprays for disinfect, bug bites and sun screen. She got caught when she brandished a band-aid gun. It sprayed disinfect, pain suppressant and dispensed a wound dressing so fast, the kid had to recant his ouch statement, midstream. Coaches complained everywhere, "insubordinate kids" they said, "we say feel the burn and they say "why!" What ever happen to "shake it off, work through the pain?"

What is next? Sweat suits with built-in air bags for contact sports, bikes with welded on training wheels or gyro stabilizers, 911 becomes iOn-Star? Play by play medical monitoring where they don't have to ask you what your medical emergency is, they know before you do. "Mr. rno your heart rate is elevated, are you....... or  are you blogging?" No, no, I'm Jediatric and my metaclorian count is too high!

No comments: