Monday, February 25, 2013

A robot with "dermal displays?"


I have taken Bernard's advice.

I am referring of course to my writing partner nigh-lifelong pal, Bernard Sell.  About one month back, he asked me the question, "have you ever written anything about robots?"  It was such a simple question and I was astounded by my answer.  No, I have never written about a science fiction concept of which I have always enjoyed.  Aside from my youthful yet abortive attempt at a take-off on "Kilroy Was Here."  

So I do have a book in the works that will deal with a robot.  In sifting through the Interwebs in search of research material, I came across this tidbit from Gina Miller, whom I am given to understand goes by "Nanogirl."  She did a bit of animation for a concept project called "dermal displays." Dermal displays entail the implantation of three billion pixelbots just beneath the surface of someone's skin.  Through light emitted by the nanobots, an actual display read-out would be visible upon the user's epidermis.  You can watch a mock up vid of it here featuring none other than Ray Kurzweil.

One potential application of these dermal displays would be interaction with a contingent of medical nanobots already in the user's body.  The display would give vitals, such as heart rate, respiration, and blood sugars, and the user would give the medical bots instructions based accordingly.  I shall leave other applications to your imagination.

Will my bot have dermal displays beneath its latex skin?  I think so.  Question is, what will the displays be for?  That all depends how wild I choose to get in context of the story's tone, which is right now rather satirical.  I could take a cue from William Burroughs, who said that "the word is now a virus" and that "modern man has lost the option of silence." Should my robot be Burroughsian in that it is mute, communicating instead through dermal displays?  To be effective for the reader, however, such communication must entail words.  I would think, anyway.

Maybe it's a challenge for the author.  Can I convey what I want to say through description of symbolism in the dermal displays?  Perhaps a combination of speech and display?

I don't know.  The story is still developing.

What would your taste as a reader suggest?

Wait, I've got it: Etch-a-Sketch tattoos.


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