There aren’t many things I covet in this world, but knowledge is one of them. I’m truly a sucker for passion, but when it comes to knowledge I’m often left in awe of folks that have devoted every waking hour to a single subject. It’s often not possible to meet such people, as their too busy, too crazy or too famous. Recently on a trip to the United States however I met Professor Steve Mann - the “Father of Wearable Computing”.
Of all the impressive attributes it’s very difficult to summarize them into a few bullet points, or verbose paragraphs. I really think you should click on this link if you’re going to begin to understand Steve Mann’s influence, and this one if you’re going to understand his complexity.
The first link is simple…look at the photo of Mann’s glasses (FROM 1999) and cast forward to the image of today’s Glass by Google in 2012. To say that Steve has walked-the-walk, for a very long and substantial time, is a true understatement. The second link…the encyclopedia chapter he wrote on Augmented Reality + Wearable Computing.
LIVING IT NOT PREACHING IT
One’s passion is almost infectious without any depth whatsoever. It’s only when depth of knowledge, and in Steve’s case, depth of experience is combined with passion that you get a truly remarkable entity. Sure, I’ll agree that a portion of this resembles lunacy and eccentricity, but that’s what genius is all about. Here is another link showing more samples of writings on the topic of Augmented Reality.I also love the inclusion of Pranav Mistry (someone I wrote about in 2011). Steve had already “been there, done that” too!
MIXED REALITY NEW REALITY
I really dig the fact that Steve goes out on a limb, often. It’s kind of like he’s addicted to the anxiety of being slightly “ahead of the curve”. In this article he discusses “mixed reality” and how we can combine various ways of seeing the world to make a mixed reality. Such forces might include: Virtual Reality, Mediated Reality, Mixed Reality, Modulated Reality, Modified Reality, Wearable Computing, Personal Imaging, Personal Technologies, Humanistic Intelligence, Intelligent Image Processing to name a few.
I know I’m sounding a little enthusiastic, but you’ll get to know it’s a trait I can’t really disguise well. The reality to this story is that with all genius comes fear. Not within Mann himself, but by those around him sometimes fearing the unknown, fearing change or fearing what he knows, versus what we don’t know. I’d like to highlight Steve Mann’s struggle too and in particular these two incidents: Paris McDonald’s and this “hit and run” incident. In the McDonald’s incident, and as per the photo, Steve actually records his perpetrators as they are perpetrating a violent act on Mann, regarding his recording device – before they realized they were being recorded! The irony!
If you read both you’ll know that Steve has a compelling case for how he lives his life and can be held in the highest regard with other invented (once thought crazies) like Nikola Tesla, Samuel Morse and others.
Read: The top 10 crazy bastards who actually changed the world (for the better). Mann is not listed, but I can sure see him there one day! (Albeit, I’d remove “crazy” and replace with “genius”!)