29 Mar

The Perfect PC

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I honestly cannot believe that the world still has a market for desktop PCs.  We have had computers in our homes for 25 years and they are still basically delivered in the same form factor.  It isn’t all bad, though.  We have laptops and even reasonable computing power in our handhelds.  My Treo is pretty darn good compared to an Apple IIe, after all. 

So, what’s next?  The MIT Media Lab continues to crank out impractical wearable devices, but seems to be focusing more on mining data from wearable monitoring systems at the moment.

Here is a model for the perfect PC.

Controller Unit

The Module Integration Unit (MIU) hosts the CPU and storage space in a device that fits comfortably in a shirt pocket, although most people prefer to wear their MIUs on their belts.  The MIU projects a micro wireless network connecting peripherals via the signals riding the skin of my body.

Although most peripheral devices are functional without pairing to an MIU, the MIU provides connectivity and interaction between all peripherals.  Software is managed and state is stored here.

Video Display

Small video projection buds are mounted inside the earpieces of my off-the-shelf glasses frames.  The buds are mounted outside my line of sight, therefore they do not interfere with my standard vision.  The adjustable projection buds receive their power through the frame, not unlike track lighting.  The frames are powered from batteries discretely recessed into the ear pieces.

The buds project video onto the inside of the lenses.  My lenses are coated with a special film, not unlike the special UV coating that you pay extra for at LensCrafters.  This translucent coating allows the projection buds to cast a scaled video image onto my lenses and still see through them, a la a heads up display.

This technique allows translucent projection which means that I can leave the display on throughout the day.  Unobtrusive WorkSpace Gadgets (tm) sit permanently within my peripheral vision and display real time monitoring of such things as my biometric monitors (pulse, oxygen, blood pressure, blood sugar), my current location and direction, and quick access to Microsoft OneNote. 🙂


The in-ear audio buds provide excellent sound reproduction and sound amplification. Not only is my music on demand, but my video games are in perfect stereo, and I can amplify any natural sound that I have trouble hearing while filtering out ambient noise.

In place of an old fashioned microphone, micro-vibration pickup coils are included in the ear buds.  The pickup coils read my voice through vibrations traveling through my head, ensuring that I don’t need an external pickup device. 

This self contained audio system is perfect considering that it is standalone and works well without the video projection addition.  The audio system receives signals from the MIU and is a much easier telephone to operate than the old ones that had buttons and external devices.


No idea I come up with will be more practical than the far out ideas that have not yet panned out for alternative input techniques.  No other aspect of HCI (Human Computer Interaction) has been studied more than alternative input devices. 

Other than carrying around a keyboard, I got nothing here.  I will leave this to the wizards that have a shot of solving this problem.


This stuff feels like it is right around the corner, just like it did 15 years ago.  Do you know who is closest to a vision that competes with this?  I’d like to watch the evolution more closely.

I am very excited at the prospect of ubiquitous computing.  Is it really so much to ask?

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