There’s a lot to think about in this week’s readings! 

One thing that struck me about Vanever Bush is that I still don’t think desire to create recorded trails of research is particularly viable or useful. I think it’s quite possible that Bush just did not anticipate how much casual research we do now that the possibility is open to us! A file full of all the random things I’ve looked up over the past week would be unwieldy to the point of uselessness, let alone a file of the things I’ve looked up going years back. 

I think the Orlando project is doing something similar but much more useful than what Bush proposed — searchable ‘trails’ of information that are collaborative rather than independent, and which don’t record every search done on them.

This seems to be the direction technology is going in, generally speaking. Many of us don’t store very much information on our personal computers. Instead, we trust that external databases will be sufficient.

I also ran across an interesting piece of assistive technology which does more or less what Bush describes here:

The impulses which flow in the arm nerves of a typist convey to her fingers the translated information which reaches her eye or ear, in order that the fingers may be caused to strike the proper keys. Might not these currents be intercepted, either in the original form in which information is conveyed to the brain, or in the marvelously metamorphosed form in which they then proceed to the hand?

They’re called electronic pointing devices, and they allow the user to move their mouse using their brain waves! While I was looking for more information on this, I found a bunch of cool devices that suggest they’ll read your brain waves in order to help you achieve a calmer mental state. There are also the Necomi Cat Ears, which are probably a much more trivial use of the technology than Bush imagined!

Back to assisitive technology, the next paragraph is also describing something that is at least very similar to an existent technology, the cochlear implant. 

By bone conduction we already introduce sounds: into the nerve channels of the deaf in order that they may hear. Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the present cumbersomeness of first transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly transforms back to the electrical form?

It’s interesting to see how innovative many forms of assistive technology are.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. Yes, it is interesting to see what has transpired in relation to past precictions. There’s a group of people at OCADU doing some very cool assistive technology design often adapting mainstream devices such as the Wii: http://idrc.ocadu.ca/

    Btw, Matt, did you categorize this as a discussion? It’s not showing up there.

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    • I haven’t seen that! That’s really interesting, and really great. It’s cool to see non-standard uses of existent technology. I was reading a couple days ago about an app that could turn an iPad into assistive communication devices.

      I forgot to categorize this as a discussion — I hope it’s back to where it’s supposed to be, now.

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