Through new eyes…

Posted by | September 12, 2008 | ITP, Physical Computing | No Comments

So there i am, on an observation assignment with my trusty sidekick Jayoung. We marched out into the cruel city, the enemy mercilessly beating down on our big blue shield. Actually, it wasn’t really an enemy. It was rain. And it wasn’t really much of a shield either. It was a slightly battered, smallish blue umbrella with a cute bear handle.

Anyhoo… we arrived at the omnipresent coffee monger, Starbucks and donning our crafty disguise of university students, we observed the locals in action. The coffee crazed mob in starbucks were engaged in all manner of technological play. Credit cards – tons of them were in play. Almost everyone who was in there made with the handing and the swiping and the replacement of the cards in the wallets. It was madness. Then you had the cell phone guys. Five… no, six! of them were there, texting and doing light web browsing from 1-5 minutes. Fascinating.

There were about 7 people on laptops. Clearly, these select few represented the higher order of deizens and were striving to keep the Starbucks from collapsing under its own morbid weight by rapidly firing off emails and browsing the web. This must have been strenuous work as they barely even looked up except to drink coffee the whole time we were there.

To be fair, Starbucks itself was trying hard to keep its deizens calm by playing music carefully crafted to sedate and becalm.

Our review of the javaheads complete, we turned our eyes upon the actions of the populace endemic to New York City. A veritable SEA of umbrellas met our eyes as we gazed on with Shock and Awe. Held one handed, these shields fought off wave after wave of enemy. A lonely tear crept to my eye as I watched the domestics fight the good fight.

Vehicles of all kinds required much dexterity and control. Use of the hands, legs, eyes and sometimes ears to drive cars, bikes and even a stroller. (True strollers are usually pushed, but this young mother was coming down the street like a rhino in heat. Driven is really the only way to really describe it.)

About a dozen or so earphones and a similiar amount of cellphones captured our eyes. There were also about 5 people using the atm across the street – doing 5 minute transactions. This neccessitated the use of hands and eyes as well.

My partner in crime, Jayoung had an astonishing idea sometime during this. (I knew there was a reason I kept her around… besides the free cake :D Mmm.. free cake. ) So, yes, her idea. There are people doing the amusing circus balancing act of coffee in one hand, umbrella in the other, phone on the shoulder and please don’t bump into anyone while you walk. So what if you take away the cellphone on the air and add a switch or something to an open umbrella that activates a screen built in on the handle. This screen can be a video/mp3/cell phone player or whatever it is you want. I thought that was a pretty cool idea.

I had a thought as well… um… GPS on a bicycle? I dunno. My creative juices were stiffled by Starbucks’ airconditioning’s attempt to turn me into a frozen mocha something-or-other.

One final note. I saw some people pushing the cube around on Astor place. I never knew you could do that before. I think that the cube most likely is like the wind up key on a watch. Except the cube winds up … all of NYC. If the cube isnt wound often enough, NYC will become more like… Bumblerock, Tenessee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.