Daily Archives: 2011/06/24

Pure Land Coat Rack

As I mentioned last time, I used the key that Harumi gave me to investigate Satomi’s apartment last week.

She was still recovering over at Yuma’s, so I had a limited window for some snooping.

As I also mentioned last time, I’m increasingly convinced that we’ve all been fooled by the Nameless, caught up in a huge fishing net we’re only now seeing the edges of. Some things can’t be discussed on this blog, but I can tell you about what I found at her home.

Satomi’s place is pretty close to the swank Roppongi Hills complex, but also near the Eiffelesque Tokyo Tower.

I took the Oedo subway line from Shinjuku, after spending some time on the Yamanote, and I felt conspicuous in the crowds, since I was carrying a small rolling suitcase and a separate tripod. Not that you don’t see the occasional citizen or tourist with a similar setup, but I was nervous due to what I was carrying.

Simply put, I was toting around one of the few remaining “Pure Land Coat Racks”, which is a nickname for the WOFA – the World Object File Apparatus.

Way back in the day, when the Collective first started, the only real job anyone had was to go everywhere possible, and collect detailed data about the world. This would be later used for augmented and virtual reality, via the Bodyweb. Of course, old school Pure Land Antennas would use their special glasses and other equipment to create their WOF maps and environments, but it wasn’t feasible to get the job done only via a few hundred Collective members.

So, to aid in the process – WOFA. On the surface it’s not very exciting – take a standard camera tripod, and add some extra motors and actuators, and set things up in the area you want to simulate.

In the case of Satomi’s apartment, it took a few minutes to get the base ready – I placed it in the center of her living room, at least a meter away from any other object. She has hard wood floors, which are always more stable than carpet, and her overall design aesthetic is “sparse”, so I didn’t have to trip over anything.

Then, I took out the sensor package, which is the size of a basketball when fully assembled. It screws on to the normal tripod mount, and is made up of dozens of lenses, microphones and sensors, so it can pick up what’s going on at all parts of the EM spectrum. For example, it records everything in the room in still pictures and video (normal and stereoscopic). It also uses advanced sonar and a temporary Wi-Fi microwave mesh (multiple bands above and below 2.4Ghz) to get an accurate measure of depth, and what’s there beyond the visual surfaces. Even IR is measured, so the temperature of the original environment can be simulated.

And yes, there is all sorts of tech in the sensor package I can’t even mention, but sufficed to say that if you put it in an environment for about 15 minutes, you’ll get a highly detailed recreation that you can use later.

Usually, you’d just throw the data into the Bodyweb, and get back the finalized WOF data in a few hours. But, since I’m highly suspect of the current integrity of Bodyweb security, especially after what happened to Kaia, I’ve been crunching the data myself. It’s been 10 days, and it’s only 86% done – and I’m using an array of i7 980x towers. Yes, those CPUs are a bunch of crap compared to what I could be using from the Collective, but it’s best to keep this job completely off any network.

Once the dataset is ready, I’ll make two versions to explore – one with standard hooks to Agartha Labs teletech, and one with my modified Bodyweb client, dumbed down for the etchless. I want to test a theory, but it’s too early to talk about it now.

While the WOFA whirred away, I had some time to poke around here and there, and I was struck by her latest art project. Off in the spare bedroom, there was a partially completed figure made of out plastic. It was life sized, kind of a cross between an artist’s dummy, a huge figma, and a skeletal robot, but there was only one arm, a leg, and part of the torso, hanging from a metal, rolling clothes rack – the kind you’d find back stage in a fashion show.

The plastic was partially translucent, and actually looked like it was compacted, melted and stretched PET from drink bottles – you could even see bits from the labels and lids, enough to recognize part of a former Natchan or Aquarius container. The limbs were fully articulated, with elaborate joints and digits, and rudimentary “muscles” that looked like they would actually do something. Coming out of each were a bundle of wire – not your usual plastic jackets with a rainbow of colors, but bare copper and a few other metals. It seemed to be running throughout the limbs, and the torso.

The torso was non-gendered and roughly humanoid, and seemed to have a complicated mechanism with which the arms and legs could be retracted into the body. It was hard to tell how it was supposed to work, since nothing was powered. There also was a bay in the chest and abdomen, that was filled with what looked like repurposed cell phone circuit boards, and perhaps a bread machine – I couldn’t really tell what was going on, but I’m eager to virtually explore it later.

Just to be on the safe side, I took what looked like a defective plastic hand from the garbage can. It was a swirl of clear and green plastic, with melted fingers and a few wires jutting past the wrist joint.

At this point, it looks like Satomi was creating a large sculpture based on some of the articulated toy figures she had been collecting at the Agartha Labs office, although with enough actuation that it would eventually have limited movement. That’s the kittens and gumdrops version.

If it was just Satomi involved, then I could buy that story. But we’re talking about the Nameless, and there’s no telling how this all fits into its master plan. I mean, what’s the point of some artistic soda bottle robotic army, when you can just use Miranda to wish everyone away into the sun?

Oh well – by this weekend I’ll have her virtual apartment to play around with, and I’ll let you know (what I’m allowed to tell about) what I find out.

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