I'm sure you'll tell me which sci-fi books have the technology I'm about to describe. And you'll delight in telling me Google or someone else is already working on it. So don't think of this as an "idea." It's just something I want.

I want my phone's apps to auto-adjust to my environment. And over time, I want everything in my environment to be Internet-connected or at least remote-controlled.

When I walk into a room, I want the home screen of my phone to automatically bring up controls and operating manuals for the technology that is nearby. I want to be able to operate everything in my environment, including the television and DVR, the lights, security, heat, AC, fans, curtain shades, and even microwave oven. When I walk into a store, I want my apps to know what sort of payment system is used so I can pay with my smartphone.

If you enter a room and the television remote doesn't pop up automatically on your phone, you simply snap a photo of the TV and your phone goes to the cloud and finds a match. Thereafter, anyone whose phone registers the same GPS coordinates will have automatic access to the television's remote control simply by walking into the room.

Let's call this technology "push apps" because my guess is that someone already does call it that. You walk into a room and the right apps push to your phone.

In order for this system to work, I think these push apps need to always become your home screen. We humans are generally more interested in our immediate surroundings than in matters far away. I don't want to hunt around for the right app every time I walk into a new room.

This vision works best with what I'll call a ring-wand. It's a ring on your finger, connected to the phone in your pocket by Bluetooth. The ring would be smart enough to judge its own movement, and perhaps have a microphone or even a tiny speaker. That way you could wave your hand like a magician and operate technology in the room.

I would think a ring could detect the following:

-          Finger snap

-          Direction and GPS (what it is pointing at)

-          Fist versus open hand

-          Waving motions (direction, speed)

-          Voice commands (your phone is the brain)

I could imagine, for example, making a fist and pointing the top of the ring toward a TV screen to control a cursor. But if you make an open palm motion of the "halt" variety, the appliance powers off. And so on.

Keep in mind that the pairing of your ring and your phone is a great system for identification because a thief is unlikely to have both. You'd never need to enter another password. And you'd never forget your phone because your ring would vibrate as soon as you got out of range.

In the long run, when all electronics are connected to the Internet, this sort of world will be easier to accomplish, assuming all of the vendors don't fight for their own standards and ruin the whole thing. In the short run, humans could "tag" rooms so all future visitors know what technology is inside them. (You'd need to untag technology as it is removed.)

My prediction is that smart watches will never be a big thing. The future is rings paired with phones.

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +9
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0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 13, 2014
There's a fellow with an interesting working prototype of something very similar to ideas Scott and many of you have mentioned who has given a TED Talk. Forgive me, but the only way I know to share it is by asking any of you interested to search Netflix for TEDTalks: Rad Invention: "Pranav Mistry: The Thrilling Potential of SixthSense Technology"
Feb 12, 2014
Imagine the possibilities for adult entertainment.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
Just popped up in my email (from Indiegogo) today:

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
Just implant that bad boy. I'm ready.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
"The paradigm I envisage is one in which the ring I wear controls the rings worn by every member of my family.
Far-fetched, I know. But some day, perhaps, somebody will be able to concoct a story around this theme. "

The story already exists -
....One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all,
And in the darkness bind them,....
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
It doesn't need to be Internet connected, just Bluetooth connected. Bluetooth knows what's around it.

"Push"? If I sneak up near your house I can operate everything in it?
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
It'll be a hell of a chunky ring to be able to fit enough battery/electronics into it....
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 11, 2014
The paradigm I envisage is one in which the ring I wear controls the rings worn by every member of my family.

Far-fetched, I know. But some day, perhaps, somebody will be able to concoct a story around this theme.
Feb 10, 2014
Almost all the technology required to achieve the stuffs you mentioned exists even right now, except for one extremely critical component. And that is the source of power. You see stuffs like these need power to operate which although can be further optimized, but with each iteration of reduction in power consumption, we always increase some functionality, thereby making the battery life same. And unless we find some amazing ways of generating and storing power, such technologies which are very much possible will stay away from practical acceptance. Just as an example, who will ever keep the GPS on his smartphone always enabled, especially if one is on the move? Almost any smartphone today available gets drained out in maybe a couple of hours if the GPS is enabled and nobody wants to risk that unless one can readily keep charging the device.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 10, 2014
Excellent at $49.95
Terrible at $499.95
Feb 10, 2014
The thing that bugs me about new technology is how far behind we've left fixability. Time was when any competent civilian could perform very minor repairs, or identify the problem, or at least find a simple work-around with home electronics. Now, if reboot doesn't do it you're probably looking at full replacement, and that will likely involve a technician whose duties are limited to switching in the new device.

When an analog television gave you trouble, the older models at least had a satisfying number of controls to fiddle, plus the infinite variations of antenna and UHF loop configurations. You still got a lousy picture, but you had some mastery of the situation. Now all you can do is call the cable company as a humble supplicant.
Feb 10, 2014
If you put the ring on your pinkie, will the TV only play cheesey 1970s divorce movies?
+17 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 10, 2014
I have a couple of fears:

1) I don't want to walk into a room and, during the 10 seconds it takes the curtains to open, hear the radio playing the recorded message from the company sponsoring the curtain-app blurting "With new [brand-name] adaptive window tinting, curtains can be a thing of the past..."

2) Errors. E.g. "Oh, hi, I'll be there in 30 seconds." and hearing the automated response "Microwaving on high for 30 seconds. *Bzzztttt*" Or "Yes, that sticks sometimes you just have to pound it a little like this," followed by the TV flipping to a dirty movie.
Feb 10, 2014
There is a company that has the ability to do this. They make everything you describe. Phones, TV, computers, you name it.

It's called Samsung.

It is their broad dominance across such a large swath of industries that makes me think they're going to overtake Apple. Because they make everything. Which means they can standardize everything and converge it all to do ... what you want.

Unless Apple does something soon I think the center of gravity for the kind of innovation you want is moving west, to Asia. And it's been headed that way for a long time. But the company that has the actual ability to do what you want, right now, and make it seamless and awesome across all your household appliances: Samsung. They can do this now.

I honestly wish it was an American company but it isn't. Apple is the closest thing to that and they're not there - nowhere close. And they know this. And that's of the reason why the Apple-Samsung lawsuits are so vicious. Apple knows that in the long run it's second hat but in the meantime they have lawyers which may stave off the inevitable for a time. But in the long run they don't have the manufacturing infrastructure, the engineering talent, or the market penetration to compete. Samsung has all of this. And Apple even buys chips from Samsung.

The writing is on the wall.

And Scott, quite frankly, what you want will arrive in America soon. But it won't be an American company that brings it to you.

I know you also like robots ... and that is a part of this future too.
Feb 10, 2014
I think that's a great thought. Don't like the ring concept, but do agree with you about the !$%*!$%*!$% I suspect an inconspicuous bracelet/band will be it.
Feb 10, 2014
Regardless of what happens with rings, I think that !$%*!$%*!$%* will still be a thing - that, or VR glasses. Why? Technology needs another display, one that's more convenient to access than pulling out your phone. I've been using the Pebble watch for the past year, and it's completely transformed how I use tech. I no longer have to interrupt a meeting to see who is calling me - a casual glance at my wrist, I dismiss the call, and we move on. You can't do that with a ring, because you couldn't see who is calling.

In summary: You still need a !$%*!$%*!$ because you need a display, some form of feedback to the user. And, if you're already going to have a watch, why would you bother getting a ring when the watch can already do everything you've listed?
Feb 10, 2014
Zuli is the only kickstarter pledge I've ever made. They are developing location-based automation (bluetooth triangulation) for the home.

Feb 10, 2014
Don't like the idea of a ring, and it doesn't seem necessary: in fact, as far as home automation is concerned, it all seems unnecessary. A device in the room should be able to interpret gestures/voice commands and apply them to the appropriate equipment. Your phone can stay in your pocket.
Feb 10, 2014
http://smartyring.com/ Concept right now, and doesn't have all the functionality you described, but it's the closest thing I've seen to what you're talking about.
+17 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 10, 2014
Perhaps the Dancing Anticipation Technology can discern that w r i s t w a t c h is not a naughty word?

Now that would be some Magical Technology.
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