17 May 2005

Cool Gizmos: Sleeptracker/BOINC

I was once asked to contribute a sentence which would be included in a high-technology time capsule (I forget if it was to be buried or transmitted into space). The theme was "The Future" and it was to contain our thoughts on the future. My contribution was, "Are we there yet?"

It seems like we'll never get there: Nanoprobes, space elevators, teleportation, honest politicians...

Anyway. Like every guy, I suppose I love gizmos. There are so many cool ones out there, but most feel like just gizmos for gizmotry's sake. But here's one that I think might be different. I really want to try it.

It's called "The SleepTracker", a watch that "watches" you while you sleep. The company that makes it says, "Say goodbye to blurry mornings-- wake up alert and energetic everyday with SLEEPTRACKER®." Really???

The revolutionary new SLEEPTRACKER® monitors your body and continuously looks for your best possible waking times. SLEEPTRACKER® wakes you up at just the right moment-during a window of time that YOU set. Imagine not feeling tired in the morning and getting a few extra minutes out of your day. Now it's possible with SLEEPTRACKER®.

What? Really? That's COOL! You mean... this gizmo could watch me while I'm sleeping somehow and maybe even optimize me in some way??? Sign me up!

By the way, I have always had a thing for gizmos which run unattended or serve you by "watching over" you or paying attention in some way to something-- cool screensavers, cool utilities (like FTP), etc., or, even, little things you can do to save the world.

Take BOINC, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, something they describe as a "software platform for developing public-participation distributedcomputing projects." Yeah... totally old news-- we've all heard of SETI@home (Looking for radio evidence of extraterrestrial life), but actually, there are other BOINC projects which are cool, too:

Climateprediction.net: study climate change
http://einstein.phys.uwm.edu/: search for gravitational signals coming from pulsars
http://athome.web.cern.ch/athome/: improve the design of the CERN LHC particle accelerator
http://predictor.scripps.edu/: investigate protein-related diseases

I'm currently a member of Team Canada and dedicate my spare CPU cycles to the Einstein Project, but I want to figure out how to participate in multiple projects. Unwind or solve proteins, predict hurricanes better, heck-- I'm disappointed BOINC didn't somehow try and find a way to help Bush find WMD's in Iraq. That might have helped...

Question: What OTHER sorts of things could BOINC do? What other gizmos (real, virtual, or imagined) do you use or would you like to see?


Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

Just to beat anyone to it, "Find My Car Keys, Hur Hur".

Seriously, though, that Sleeptracker thing is pretty awesome. I want one! But, then again, I want pretty much anything with lots of numbers and whatnot on it.

And, sorta combining the collective-computing and screensaver link (btw, that clock looks awesome), you might have seen Electric Sheep? I used to have that on my PC -- it was pretty keen, actually, although I often tended to get pretty much the same design each time. Still, though, it was a cool one, so I can't complain too much.

(Currently, I'm just using the Medulla Screensaver, which I'm having trouble finding from Bjork's site, but it's pretty cool, if simple slow zooms on pictures of plants and suchlike.)

7:13 AM, May 18, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

Well, since there's no link for the SleepTracker (AHEM) I just have to wonder... is it using a motion detector to "monitor" you? I'm familiar with the idea of sleep cycles... I've read that we have certain cycles that are about 90 mins. long, and if we can wake up between those cycles, we feel great, but if we wake up mid-cycle, we feel groggy because we were in extremely deep sleep.

How good is this device at monitoring you if you share the bed with another person and a cat? It'd be my luck the cat wakes up feeling great while we4 both drag our butts to work all cranky because the alarm went off in the middle of a feline sleep-cycle... :D

9:13 PM, May 18, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

I meant at the END of a feline sleep cycle... er, what time is it, BTW? :P

9:15 PM, May 18, 2005  
Blogger CatsFive said...

LOL! Crap... I have two cats!

From their website I gather that this does work on motion. Hmmm. I'm not sure I'm into that. Although, it does need contact with one's wrist... hmm. Confused.

12:18 AM, May 19, 2005  
Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

Hm, maybe the motion detector's for in case you physically get up, but the wrist-contact is to check your heart rate/etc, so it doesn't get triggered by tossing and turning in your sleep? Or lying in bed awake?

7:00 AM, May 19, 2005  
Blogger CatsFive said...

I read the FAQ and I couldn't figure anything out on that. It seems designed for single people, as it mentions nothing about sleeping with someone else, which you'd think would be obvious.

Then again, having been in a relationship a couple years ago, you tend to sleep like a log, since you go to bed every night suicidal, anyway, and sleep like a baby...

8:32 AM, May 19, 2005  

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