Is it possible for people to have information at their fingertips without being tied to the usual web brower or even a book or journal?

In her talk “Just-in-Time Info” Pattie Maes, Associate Professor, MIT, Program in Media Arts and Sciences gave a fascinating plenary talk at the SSP meeting yesterday. She has challenged her students to develop prototypes of how humans can be fed information about the world around them as they go through through the everday lives. Many of the techniques involved wearable sensors tied to cell phones on the look out for infrared beacons or RFID chips. The sensors can then be tied via the cell phone to the millions of databases on the Internet to then feed back audio or visual cues to the user. Pattie’s students have already prototyped concepts for locating books in a library, gathering product information in a supermarket, photography automatically tied to geolocation, even possibilities about finding people with common interests as you walk around the street.

Words cannot really best describe the mind boggling impact such combinations of technology might have on the world. Check out the MIT class web site here (especially the Vision section). You won’t be disappointed.


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