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Long Now -- Science Fiction to Science Fabrication; Or, Pulp to Prototype

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Dan Novy

on 3 September 2015

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Transcript of Long Now -- Science Fiction to Science Fabrication; Or, Pulp to Prototype

Science Fiction to Science Fabrication; Or, Pulp to Prototype
Dan Novy & Sophia Brueckner | MIT Media Lab
Casting and Forging
3000 BCE
DIY BioPunk 1818
Luigi Galvani
Winston "Death Ray" Churchill
*Not to Scale
Wireless World magazine in 1945
April 6th, 1965 Intelsat I Early Bird
TASER - Jack Cover- NASA (1969)
"Don't Taze me, bro!" he said shockingly.
Red Planet Flexible Display
Fluid Interfaces Group Flexpad
MIT Media Lab
A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
The Narratarium
One Laptop Per Child
Dr. Stuart Hameroff - University of Arizona
Transcranial Ultrasound
Dan Novy - Object Based Media Group
Sophia Brueckner - Fluid Interfaces Group
Robert Ettinger - the "father" of cryonics, begins lifelong quest after reading Neil R. Jones' 1931 story "The Jameson Satellite" when he was just 12 years old.
Penfield Mood Organ
A device which allows you to dial the mood you would like to have.
Blade Runner (1982)
At his console he hesitated between dialing for a thalamic suppressant (which would abolish his mood of rage) or a thalamic stimulant (which would make him irked enough to win the argument).
'If you dial,' Iran said, eyes open and watching, 'for greater venom, then I'll dial the same. I'll
dial the maximum...
Wilder G. Penfield
1934 founded and became the first Director of McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute.

Developed the "Montreal Procedure" with Herbert Jasper.

Stimulated the brain with electrical probes while the patients were conscious on the operating table and observed their responses.

Invasive, hacking the Wetware.
8Mhz Standard Medical Ultrasound
15 second blast to Prefrontal Cortex
Double Blind Controlled for Placebo
10 - 40 minutes of "elevated" mood
Mechanism? (Ion channel alternation?)
Single study.
Science Fiction to Science Fabrication
"With a focus on the creation of functional prototypes, this class combines the analysis of classic and modern science fiction texts and films with physical fabrication or code-based interpretations of the technologies they depict."
‘Pataphysics (French: ‘pataphysique): The science of imaginary solutions.
Co-Instructed with Sophia Brueckner --
Originally created by Sophia as a Design based course at RISD.
Joe Paradiso -- Faculty Advisor --
Modular Topic System -- 2 Weeks Each -- Mix and Match
New Modules
The Modern Mjölnir
"I can smell burnt toast!"
Author Visits
"Indistinguishable From"
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
--Arthur C. Clarke
So a lot of the magic ...You’ve conjured some energy, some idea, some information from somewhere and put it in a tangible form. You conjure something into existence in a literal sense. A rabbit out of a hat. Something out of nothing.
-- Alan Moore
Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a form of magic designed as a mediator between this strange, hostile world and us, a way of seizing the power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.
-- Pablo Picasso
-- Coming Spring 2015
Stage Illusion as Tufte-ian Information Display
"Indistinguishable From"
From Dee to Crowley to Maskelyne to Mulholland
Ritual Magick as User Experience Design
Enchanted Objects*: Human Computer Interaction and the Internet of Things
More to come!
@NovySan - "Beachcomber on the shores of the unnatural"
BFA, MA Theater - University of Illinois- Champaign-Urbana '93, '95
Shamanic Performance in Pre-Agrarian Societies
Began Studying VR in 1993 on a CRAY supercomputer at UIUC
16 Year veteran of the Hollywood Visual Effects Industry
Worked with Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many more.
Emmy Award ™ and Visual Effects Society Award for HBO's "The Pacific."
Transmedia Experience Designer
MS - MIT -2013
PhD - MIT - 2017 (expected)
Sensory Fiction
Case and Molly
Prosthetics in SciFi
Mandela - I am E-14
- Felix Heibeck, Alexis Hope, Julie Legault
The book and wearable support the following outputs:

Light (the book cover has 150 programmable LEDs to create ambient light based on changing setting and mood)
Personal heating device to change skin temperature (through a Peltier junction secured at the collarbone)
Vibration to influence heart rate
Compression system (to convey tightness or loosening through pressurized airbags)
Inspired by 'The Girl Who Was Plugged In' by James Tiptree.
EMG signals are detected over the skin surface and are generated by the electrical activity of the muscle fibers during contraction.
Since each movement corresponds to a specific pattern of activation of several muscles, multi-channel EMG recordings, recorded by placing electrodes on the involved muscles, can be used to identify the movement.
This concept has been applied in the development of myoelectric prostheses.
Inspired by Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan
“Case and Molly” is a prototype for a game inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer. It’s about the coordination between the virtual and the physical, between “cyberspace” and “meat”.
-Greg Borenstein
Analyze the openness of the fist of the guide.
Send information to the dupe about the openness of the guide’s hand.
Using functional electrical stimulation (or FES) we can send a current through the dupe’s arm to activate specific muscle contractions in the dupe‘s hand.
Maps the grasp of one person’s hand, directly to another’s.
Also inspired by Neuromancer
- Ermal Dreshaj and Sang-won Leigh
What is human scale in relation to cyberspace? What would that mean?
- Paloma F. Gonzalez Rojas
- Greg Borenstein
Prototyping a real interactive machine learning system for legal discovery.
Writing and illustrating a sci-fi comic telling the story of how it might feel to work in a law firm of 2050 that’s been transformed by this new technology.
Designing the branding for an imaginary firm working in this field.
6 random visualizations of 6 different locations inside the building E-14, from a top view.
The Kinect sensing range is a triangle therefore the tracking visualizations are also triangles.
The “Building E-14” may use this information to analyze and control what is happening inside of it.
Not a surveillance state of architecture but an interactive system that augments the information available for the occupants of the building qualifying its spaces for the user to choose where to go according to their intentions.
Daniel Suarez -- Kill Decision
Elizabeth Bear -- Green and Dying
Joe Haldeman -- None So Blind

You Did the Reading, Right? a.k.a Let's Do Design Exercises!
Science Fiction to Science Fabrication
Authors via Email
William Gibson -- Neuromancer
Warren Ellis -- Transmetropolitan
Charlie Stross -- Lobsters
Bruce Sterling -- Design Fictions

Yet again more Neuromancer
"The building’s brain has emerged."
* David Rose's awesome book.
Infinite Futures - SXSW 2014
"Science Fiction is not a genre anymore, it's a condition, it's become the ambient noise of culture."- @warrenellis
Warren Ellis Daniel Suarez Bruce Sterling
Risk Over Safety
Practice Over Theory
Compasses Over Maps
A Culture of Prototyping
- Guillermo Bernal
MIT Media Lab
30 years of radical anti-disciplinary exploring.
Grew out of the work of MIT's Architecture Machine Group, and remains within MIT's School of Architecture and Planning.
Almost 100% industrially funded + NIH, NSF, and DARPA
Currently headed by Joi Ito


Kit Bashing
robots from junk
make a lightsaber
spaceship design
Rifles and pistols
Napkin Design
Guilty Pleasures/Secret Obsession
Make a Poster for a non-existent technology
Make an ad for a non-existent technology
Exquisite Corpse Object.
Design one positive interaction with a robot and one evil one
Design a wearable device
Pick a surface or portion of the body not commonly used or unused before.
Imagine a job that might exist in the future but doesn’t exist now
Design a device that makes an existing job obsolete
Pick a favorite piece of Concept Art and explain how it could work, what wouldn’t work, what is possible today, what was well thought out, etc. (‎, , etc)
Do a quick design sketch of “NOUN + CULTURE/PERIOD/GENRE,” (ie. Robot + Arabic Middle Ages, Starship + WWII) randomly selected from two hats.
Map the inputs of something to the outputs of something else
Read one SCP entry and sketch the technology/object/creature/phenomena used in the story:
39x39 2.3Mhz w/ full layered attenuation
"Skip" Wilkins was asked calculate the amount of radio frequency power which should be radiated to raise the temperature of 8 pints of water from 98°F to 105°F at a distance of 5km and a height of 1km.
Death Ray*
"Heat-Ray" featured in H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1898)
1930s were the heyday of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
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