Friday, June 18, 2010

Got My NorthPaw and It Works!

My NorthPaw kit arrived yesterday from Sensebridge.

The northpaw is a compass that provides feedback in the form of 8 small motors (the kind that make your cell phone buzz) in an anklet. The northern-facing-motor buzzes slightly on your ankle, so you always know which way is north.

This is the kind of practical DIY transhumanism that makes me really excited.

Technical components are small and cheap. We can take all kinds of interesting sensors and put them in gadgets that provide some flavor of sensory feedback and neuroplasticity handles the rest.

At Maker Faire I had the great pleasure of meeting Eric Boyd of Sensebridge & Noisebridge who is responsible for the particular kit I got. He was as super cool guy. Friendly and full of great stories and great ideas. I've got nothing bad to say about this guy except for his hair, just kidding, I like his hair too.

Put the kit together last night and took it for the first test spin around the neighborhood. It was awkward and confusing. But I sorta started to get the hang of it... sort of, maybe?

It very much reminded me of the first few minutes of awkwardly playing a new video game with foreign controls, or a new class of controller. Which button is walk forward? [avatar fires gun] Oops... Is this walk? [avatar crouches]. How did I just fire my gun? [avatar self-immolates].

You need a little while in the game to map the controls so you can think "walk forward" and your hands perform via muscle memory. I wonder what my learning curve is going to be. I already have a little bit of "the eric dance" going on.

Here is a video with him talking about the thing:

Eric Boyd - The North Paw: A Haptic Compass Anklet from Loren Risker on Vimeo.

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