Category Archives: Innovation

A Studio, A Temple

I have a beautiful place carved out of the emptiness that was before. Two desks, one metal, the other dark cherry, formed into an “L”, my desktop on one and my Raspberry Pis, electronics, and embedded systems on the other. A space for my coffee, two surge protectors, an X-Box controller for the times when a mouse doesn’t do the job. A top-notch soldering pen, poised on the glass desk between my two monitors, unplugged and with plenty of space for safety of course.

This place used to be a living room, which we did little living in. I’ve adopted it, and adapted it, into a workspace. The thing about a studio is that it is, by definition, a temple to one’s mind. Nothing goes here that I wouldn’t have bouncing around in my head, whilst I’m trying to actually get something done. This place is my mind space.

I have a whiteboard on the wall now; four feet by three feet, with a complete collection of four-color markers (two black, one each in red, green, and blue) and an eraser, with a cleaning spray. I do use it. I’ve been mapping my thoughts to it for some time. It’s good when a paper pad (which every engineer should, still, always have) just isn’t enough. It doesn’t have the advantage of graph paper, but some occasions require something more than a note. Right now, I’m weighing the advantages and disadvantages between using LWJGL or JavaFX for a programming project. I would not have found it to be as easy without the marker board.

The floor bothers me. It’s an awful blue carpet, one which may never have been that attractive and hasn’t gotten any better with age. I’m hoping to replace it with some stone tile, something in a nice tan color. Not just linoleum, nothing too cheap. That would be reckless and self-sabotaging; I can wait to afford it. A nice wheat color would blend well with the furniture. The walls are a subtle greenish white, hard to tell in the lamplight late in the evening. I might paint them, it wouldn’t take long. Something bright, nothing that would contrast with the flags and the artwork hanging on them, or the statues and idols poised throughout the shelves.

When I enter this space, I become someone new; someone I need to be. I have OpenGL/CL/AL projects going on the desktop, bioelectrics going on the steel desk, and little room for doubt or distraction. My office used to be a plastic desk in the kitchen, where I would pound out every ounce of inspiration my mind had until I ran out of strength. I’m stronger in here. This place is, indeed, a sacred one to me.

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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Innovation, State of the Moment


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Empathic Cars?

Empathic Cars?

So recently, I ran across this guy.

Sensible enough. It has a few apparent assumptions in it; such as that we all have equivalently coded expressions corresponding to our emotions (a big leap), we all drive worse when we’re angry or flustered (a moderate leap), and that the number one reason why we might be lowering our eyelids is that we are tired (moderate).

The concept of determining emotion and mental state by reading body language cues is not a new one; in fact, it is integral to communication. Humans have an astounding 43 muscles in the face, capable of generating myriad expressions that play a pivotal role in establishing rapport with other people. Some of the muscles are moved consciously, some of them are not. NLP has an entire subfield regarding microexpressions, tying singular twitches of these muscles to internal mind states; it is not psuedoscience to think that a computer can be trained to do the same thing. What I worry is what controls that the experimenters went through to establish these foundations.

It’s ultimately moot, though. I think we can all see where this is going.



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