the next big thing...

October 2009

I have been a walker ever since I got my legs back as a teenager.  Before that biking is how I covered distance.  For a time I did not have use of my legs (the result of a biking accident) and was told I would not walk again.  Thankfully that was not the case, but after that the idea of running always seemed foolhardy.  All that impact, thud thud thud, not for me and my spine.  However, of late I am trying running “barefoot” style and I am loving it.  So, if I am going to be able to do as many hours of running a day as I hope to work up to, I will need to bring Herbert along with me and get some work done.  This will require making sure the rig moves with me in a way that does not damage it and does not increase my chance of damaging me.

But that is realy just the excuse. I have in the past noticed how posture, position and motion play a large role in my cognitive abilities and emotional state.  Wanting to be able to move and read(etext) was a driving force in the creation of my early wearable reading machiens.  The realization that I was a better writer when walking pushed the chording keyboard design.  For the past several decades I have spent more and more of my computer time while in motion on foot.  Now that running seems possible, I want very much to find out what running will mean to my thinking, problem solving, writing, living.  I need to take Herbert on that journey with me.

I am not sure how this will change the system.  All I am sure of at this point is I need to keep the components close to my body.  As it is October and getting colder, so far I find that putting a fleece vest on top of the rig keeps all the parts in place, but time will tell as I increase the amount of running I am doing. — Greg Priest-Dorman 2009/10/21 13:21

Now that I can see the light at the end of the spiffchorder tunnel I am starting to firm up the next project.

I have been looking into adding in context awareness using an accelerometer, a gps and information available over dbus1) and using that information in conjunction with my appointment calendar and todo lists to have Herbert determine if I am busy or unoccupied and if unoccupied begin reading appropriate material to me.  Material to read is selected from items I have placed in a “study” directory as well as   items provided by programs such as web page or rss aggregators.  Files will be tagged so that item selection can be prioritized based on location, time of day, amount of time available and information gleaned from my appointments and todo lists.

The idea has come together from several sources. A desire to play with accelerometers that I have had for quite a while but that came together in Sept. 07.  A conversation I had with Thad Starner at Georga Tech where they have been using smart phones to teach people a foreign language.  A MHVLUG lecture on DBUS and Ruby by Sean Dague. Some work I did years ago with motion sensing and most recently by  T.V. Raman's release of emacspeak-webspace.

My plan is to use ruby, dbus and emacspeak to tie it all together.

Write ruby script to take accelerometer data and make a basic determination as to my state of motion and physical activity. The script should read from the accelerometer and present state changes as dbus messages.

Modify above script to add in gps data if available so that location and speed can also be presented over dbus. (Or has this been done already?)

Look into how to determine if emacspeak it speaking so this information can also be used.

Write script or find existing to add tags to files.

The end result will be that the computer should have a good sense of if I am working on something and also have a sense of if I am in motion in a car, walking, sitting etc.  Using this information it can present material from the study directory. Get on a bus, it starts reading.  Get up to exit the bus, it stops. Standing still waiting for the transfer bus, it starts reading.  Someone asks you a question, you can tap the accelerometer 2 times, it stops reading until you tap it again to tell it to continue or change a state it can detect (sit on the bus).  Once the appointment data is tied in it should be able to select relevant material from the study directory based on the criteria of the next few days of events.  Toss files in the study directory related to an upcoming event and they should be read  to you by the time that event happens.

That's the plan.

Of course it is being worked on only in spare time, but, it is in the works.

 — Greg Priest-Dorman 2008/03/06 22:56

So I am looking at what I will replace the Sony with when it goes…

So far the Viliv s5 is the top contender, if I think I can go down in processing speed a bit

Greg Priest-Dorman 2009/12/07 12:20

thanks to the Feb. MHVLUG meeting