Pros and Cons
Okay, so it may not be the big deal that San Diego Comic Con is, but The Mary Sue's biggest hometown con, New York Comic Con, has a special place in our hearts. It's also approaching with a speed that has caused only a few moments of panic so far (stay tuned in the next few weeks for info on our meetup and
our panel), and with an approaching con comes the shipping of badges. NYCC has a new trick up its sleeve to combat both overcrowding and counterfeit or scalped badges (notorious problems for the event): RFID tags. They're also planning on using the badges to monitor traffic flow. In other words, if having your location within the Javits Center tracked creeps you out, you might want to read the instructions that come with your badge very carefully.
Sometimes science can be creepy, like when researchers from Adelaide University start doing research into using radio frequency identification (RFID) to monitor the elderly in their homes. The team behind the project says RFID technology can lead to elderly people being able to live with more freedom and independence, but this sounds like it can easily turn into a scary 1984 meets Cocoon situation.
There's been a number of horror stories associated with radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) standards over the years. From the idea that random strangers could pick up any signals that, say, your credit card emitted from its embedded RFID chip, to the conspiracy theories about somehow tracking individuals with RFID-enabled clothing, the stories vary wildly, but one thing's certain: Folks are wary of this technology's implications. Unfortunately, it appears that New Jersey and San Francisco weren't too concerned, as their transit systems can be fooled by smartphones fiddling with the RFIDs present in their metro cards, providing unlimited rides.
A lot of people use their smart phones in the bathroom. In fact, the numbers suggest there is a 40% chance that you, dear reader, have personal experience with that. Researchers at New York Times Research & Development Lab are okay with that and actually seek to embrace it, bringing connectivity to the bathroom without increasing the risk that you'll drop your smart phone in the toilet.
Their "magic mirror" combines a mirror TV and Microsoft Kinect in order to turn one of the walls of your bathroom into a screen you can use to brush your teeth and check your Facebook. The Kinect picks up where you are, allowing the TV to display things in creative ways. For example, it can project a tie so that it looks like your wearing it from your point of view, wherever you happen to be standing.
Here's the concept: RFID
tags are becoming more and more advanced, and edible RFID tags are already in use in medical fields. Hannes Harms
imagines what could happen when this technology makes it on to the dining room table. Harms invisions a unified ecosystem, bringing together computers, mobile devices, and integrated readers into the Nutrismart
These tools would give consumers a far greater knowledge of what their eating. People with dangerous food allergies could avoid potentially deadly dishes with greater ease. Consumers could also see where and how the ingredients for their food were gathered, letting them make smart, sustainable choices about their food. Programs like Seafood Watch
, for example, have tried to encourage consumers to eat fish form sustainable sources. Nutrismart could make it far easier to get that information.
But then there's the dark side, the creepy Orwellian side. Nutrismart can also give you diet advice by keeping a running count of your calories, and the food you intake. You want that cupcake? Think again, sucker. Nutrismart knows you had a 500 calorie burger with lunch, and, by the way, you've expended your daily allowance of bacon. Of course, you don't have to follow Nutrismart's advice, but I personally find the idea of my food and phone badgering me about my meals a mite distressing.
Judge for yourself, and watch a vide of Nutrismart in action after the jump.