Monday, April 23, 2012

A New Age of Exploration

© Copyright Douglas Maas and licensed for 

Who hasn’t seen one of the google camera cars rolling down some street? I’ve seen them several times. I haven’t been able to make out if there is a driver in the car or not, but the camera is the thing--360 degree views everywhere it goes. It heralds a new age of exploration by proxy. According to this article, Explore the Amazon With Google Street View, you can even explore the rivers and jungles of Brazil.

This technology is ripe for maximization, and by that I mean minimization. It won’t be long before this technology is shrunk to fit on your body. It can be be worn while extreme off-road biking, diving the Great Barrier Reef, spelunking, climbing Mount Everest, New Orleans at Mardis Gras, the Burning Man Festival, a walk through a local park, or a night out dancing at a local music venue. It will be a wonderful means for people that can’t experience these things to vicariously participate, enriching their lives. No modern explorer would be without one.

With the purchase of your groceries and this device, you get free trash bags for life.

It can be attached to remote-controlled, even autonomous, drones cruising beneath the sea, through sky or jungle. Attached to a balloon, it could climb 100,000 feet to the edge of space. It could be incorporated into a satellite making a tour of the Solar System or the Asteroid Belt. It will be attached to Moon crawlers, Mars rovers, or robot subs on Europa. It will be a new age of adventure; one that everyone can participate in. It will be a new connectedness with our planet, our solar system, and our culture. Someone needs to do this.

Someone is. You know for a fact Google is working on it. We already have Google Earth, Google Moon and Google Mars. Also, Roy Ragsdale is doing his part in developing the technology. He explains how he made his own, off-the-shelf, street-view camera in this article DIY Street-View Camera. He’s already got it down to something you can wear while walking around. It’s an amazing article. I see a future where links on Google Maps or Google Earth take you directly to 360 degree videos of that particular geographic location. These will be in addition to what Street View gives you now on Google Maps. And we'll see them start popping up on YouTube.

Thanks to LexnGer

Although it's hard to believe there can be entertainment as good as Racoon Nation or Radioactive Wolves to be generated by someone walking around with a camera strapped to their torso, perhaps we can at least have something better than daytime TV or "Angel from Hell" to look forward to in our voyeuristic future. It may even inspire someone to go do something in person. So get crackin' Google and/or Roy Ragsdale on the helmet or pocket version of this great device.

Glen Hendrix, author Transmat World

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