Negroponte Not Far Enough Out On The Lunatic Fringe
from the is-that-so? dept
Nicholas Negroponte, who many say was always a little too far out on the edge with his technology predictions during the boom years, says that he needs to get even crazier. He’s specifically talking about his much hyped, but unimpressive so far, expansion of MIT’s Media Lab to Ireland. He says that most complaints from the industry these days are that the stuff they’re working on isn’t far enough out on the fringe. Next generation research can be done by the companies themselves. They look to the Media Lab to see what’s coming a few generations down the road.
Comments on “Negroponte Not Far Enough Out On The Lunatic Fringe”
Can’t find it online, but the current issue of Popular Science has pictures of a subdermal video display system, which looks like a moving tattoo. Will future Palm Pilots consist of scratching at moving tattoos with a razor-shaped stylus, to appeal to the self-injuring instincts of teens?
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Negroponte is an idiot and the Media Lab produces mostly crap, particularly when you consider the resources that it has that would be much better sent to other researchers that are better but not as high profile. They have all these spinoff companies and most of them go phut because they develop stuff a) that is slightly useful but that they hype to death and b) that nobody actually wants. Just because it is fun or cool to geeks, doesn’t mean that people will pay money for it or use it!
Re: Recent MIT Lab Expo
I actually was at a MIT Media Lab expo overseas not too long ago. Here are a few of the things that they had and my opinion (and yours may vary) on its coolness and productization likelihood (i.e. money making product). The booth brochure also had some web links, so this is all probably on their web site:
Music Bottles – So they have this little display of bottles lying around. They have a booth drone (you can’t touch them) take out the cork. It makes noise/music. He moves the bottles around one another. They make a different noise depending on what color bottles are put near one another. Amusing for about three minutes. Maybe a child’s toy if it could be made cheaply enough and if the bottles were unbreakable.
Wearable Computers – Not exactly a new idea, and I already take off my belt and shoes when I go through an airport metal detector. I didn’t hang around this display very long since I just don’t get it, but I am admittedly not the target demographic. Yawn.
Electronic Paper – This wasn’t in their brochure, but the one thing that did impress me in the booth. Xerox and others have been talking about this for a long time, but to actually see a demo of it was pretty neat. If they can get this out of the lab, I see some real applications.
Printed Displays, Nanotech – A few “static” demos in this area. Others are also working in these areas, and I don’t know enough about what others are doing to say whether the Med Lab is superior or different.
There were a few others which just weren’t demo friendly and seem just like features that a product manager might add to an existing product line: TalkTV, Genomic Cartography, Audio Spotlight, etc.
Overall, I walked away from the booth with the impression that there were a few neat things they were doing, but that most of them were science projects to keep the researchers amused and only a few things would ever be commercialized.
But I think this the job of the Media Lab?