Damian Mehers' Blog Xamarin from Geneva, Switzerland.

20Oct/140

Eyeglasses are broken

My eyeglasses are broken, and I want them fixed.

I vividly remember the morning I woke up, and could no longer read.

Everything was blurry, and no matter how much I blinked away the night, I still could not read.  I could see things further off, and if I moved my phone well back past my normal reading distance, I could still just about focus.

Eventually my eyes could focus as normal, and I put the experience down to tiredness.  But soon the blurriness came back, and didn't leave.  I was being abruptly welcomed into late middle age.  I needed reading glasses.

I picked up a pair of cheap glasses from the local supermarket, and miracle of miracles, I could read again.  Everything was fine and crisp, even when I used the smallest font on the kindle app.

There was, however, still an issue.  When I was wearing my reading glasses, and I was looking at something that wasn't a book, that was further away, say a person's face, or a stop sign, everything was blurry.  I had to take my glasses off to see beyond the page in front of me.

So, in this age of miniaturized sensors, 3D printers, new material science, why can I not buy a pair of glasses that sense how far away objects are that the glasses are pointing at, and physically deform the lenses appropriately to bring items into focus for the wearer

For me the lenses would become clear glass when looking at something in the distance, and would deform to +0.5 reading glasses when looking at a page in front of me.

There have been similar attempts in the past, but as technology advances, sensors become smaller and motors become miniaturized I think its time to look once again at eye-glasses.  The way they work now is broken.  If Google invested a fraction of the money they have in Google Glass, then I'm convinced they could bring these kind of glasses to the world, benefitting hundreds of millions, And just perhaps, by incorporating Glass-like functionality along for the ride, they could bring Glass to the masses.

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12Oct/140

The inevitable evolution from wearables to embedables

The inevitable evolution from wearables to embedables is at once both exciting and horrifying.

Let's think about bluetooth headsets. They are already becoming smaller, and will soon be invisible.

I believe that bluetooth headsets will miniaturize to the point of being so tiny they will be embedded subdermally, perhaps behind your ear. We'll solve the battery issues through using the body's own heat, or through body motion.

What will this give us? Only telepathy. You'll be able to communicate mind-to-mind with anyone on the planet through this device that is part of you, initially by voicing words sub-vocally, but perhaps one day through splicing directly into nerves.

It is as exciting as it is inevitable.

What is also inevitable is a despotic regime somewhere will use such capabilities to pipe their propaganda directly to their citizens minds. Can you imagine, from birth, having this incessant stream of brainwashing beamed directly to your brain? Its horrifying.

So, along with the best case scenarios with dreaming of new technologies, let's also think of the nightmare worst-case scenarios, and make sure we do what we can to mitigate them. In this case, let's start with a physical off-switch.

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11Oct/140

A useful in-car app experience

OK, I admit it: I can't help it. Whenever I hit a problem in the real world, I automatically seek to solve it, often through the hammer in my virtual toolbox, which is creating apps.

So what does this have to do with driving my kids home from school? There are traffic lights on the route. Lots and lots of them. Like all of you, I am sure, I never look at my phone screen when I am driving and the car is in motion, but when the car is stopped in front of traffic lights, it is often hard to resist quickly checking my email, or twitter, or whatever.

Of course that is a trap. Before I know it I've been sucked into my digital world, and am oblivious to the real world, until I am rudely and abruptly pulled out of it by the honking horn of the person behind me.

So what I want is this: An app that lets me use my phone as normal, but in the background, using the camera on my phone, locks in on to the red light of the traffic light, detects when an orange light appears next to it, and alerts me both audibly and visually that the lights are changing.

I'd even use it when I'm not looking at my phone, but instead lost in dreamy reverie, lost in my own thoughts,and equally oblivious to the lights changing.

But this is only part of my master plan. Oh no, it is not all.

Sometimes I'm stopped while in the car, and it isn't a traffic light that has stopped me. Instead it is a traffic jam. Like all of you, I am sure, I dream of being able to launch a small drone from my car to fly overhead to the front of the jam, to understand what is happening, and how long I will be stuck for. The drone would be paired with my phone, letting me control it from my phone, and beam back images to my phone.

It occurs to me that the whole drone thing is unnecessarily, potentially dangerous, and more than likely illegal. Instead all I need is an app that everyone on the traffic jam uses to broadcast live the scene in front of them. Then people far back from the front of the jam can zoom through the cameras, rushing forward car by car through the jam to the front, to understand what is happening.

With appropriate anonymizing safeguards in place (number plate blurring) it could also be used by news organizations and the emergency services.

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