The great thing about technology these days is that anyone can get in on the action. With can-do DIY spirit, makers like Staffan Dryselius or Noah Zerkin (where have you been, Noah!), have been breaking new ground with their inventions.
Martin Magnusson, like Staffan, is trying to build a better HMD. While he’s not as focused on the augmented reality portion as much as Staffan, he’s still trying to make a light-weight screen that provides continuous access to his information (like Manfred Macx from Accelerando by Charles Stross.)
To learn more about his project, I sat down with him for six questions:
Tom: On your “Becoming Cyborb” blog, you go through great detail about the
technical details on your wearable computer project. What is the end goal?
Or is this an ever evolving project?
Martin: It’s an ever evolving project towards the merger of man and machine. Hmm… that
sounds a bit pretentious. Look, I just want a decent text editor for note
taking. Paper doesn’t have copy/paste and undo (nor a legible font). The
iPhone’s screen and keyboard are puny. And my laptop has a weight problem. My
first goal is continuous access to Emacs and a keyboard.
Tom: Do you have ideas on how you might include augmented reality into
Martin: I would like to add a camera that tracks the fingers on your hands in front of
you. Perhaps paint colors or markers on the finger nails. A piece of software
would then translate finger movements into keystrokes. That way you’d always
have a keyboard without lugging a piece of plastic around.
Tom: What do you think of the other DIY projects out there, like Staffan’s?
Martin: I’ve talked to Staffan and find his work very interesting. I don’t know that
much about it yet, but he promised more information would appear on the Macxwear
Tom: Why do you think commercial glasses makers have failed so far to
produce a good product?
Martin: Have they? I would love to get my hands on Myvu’s (MicroOptical’s) discontinued
products, like the CV-3. To venture a guess, they found the market too
And perhaps companies don’t want to mass produce high-end head-mounted displays
until they’re completely stealth. However, just stroll down a street and look at
the outrageous sunglasses people gladly wear.
Tom: How do you plan to use your wearable computer on a daily basis?
Martin: I want to use it for displaying my todo list, writing notes, brainstorming,
etc. The basic idea is to augment my highly unreliable memory.
Tom: I see one of your favorite books is Accelerando by Charles Stross.
If you could, would you upload?
Martin: It’s on my todo list.
Martin is rigorously documenting his quest on his website Becoming Cyborg. I’ve been impressed with his progress in a short amount of time. Hopefully, he can keep up the pace. I highly recommend going back and starting from the beginning on his blog. He’s really done an excellent job in explaining step-by-step how he’s progressed and hopefully we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.