Our first Strata conference is just a month away. It’s exceeded our expectations in nearly every respect, from the breadth of topics, to the calibre of presenters, to the outpouring of support and interest in subjects like Big Data, visualization, ubiquitous computing, and new interfaces.
But there’s one part of Strata I’m especially excited about: the science fair. There are hundreds of groundbreaking projects lurking in research labs, universities, and garages, and we want to showcase some of them. So we’ve set up an event at Strata to let attendees explore some of the weirder artifacts of an always-on world.
As William Gibson observed, the future is here—it’s just not evenly distributed. A few short years ago, a portable, wirelessly connected, camera-and-microphone-equipped, touch-and-voice-operated device was science fiction; today, we discard them like digital chaff as soon as Steve Jobs announces a new phone. These cheap, powerful devices are a boon to hobbyists everywhere, from a hacked kinect to an Arduino.
All this big data isn’t useful on its own. It needs to be crunched, massaged, and organized by clouds of machines; then it needs to be distributed to the corners of humanity. Ultimately, it has to be accessible and intuitively understandable. And it’s this last part that I’m hoping the science fair will show us — the next Homebrew Computer Club, playing with bytes and devices the way the previous one created the PC revolution from solder, chips, and obsessiveness.
We’re still looking for things to show in the science fair (submissions are due by Jan. 14). If you have an interesting tool or technology to show — the more beta, the better — let us know. Let’s show the world what the future will look like, one project at a time.