A Spirit With a Vision

Traffic on MVIS Blog has skyrocketed just in the last three weeks. It is pretty intense to have all these visitors! I'm not really sure what the catalyst is but I am happy you're here. So, pull up a chair and stay a while!

It has been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and take some time to pull together my thoughts on the world as we know it. Moving, starting a new job and getting oriented in a place you've never been, all while trying to raise an eighteen-month old boy can really take it out of you! But all the while, Microvision has of course been among the items at the top of my mind. If April was a terrible month for the stock, May certainly seems to be delightful so far.

Obviously it's comforting (on some level) to know that Bill Gates has an interest in our display technology and can see past the current incarnation of Nomad to a full color eyeglass cell phone display for 'glanceable information' in his words. Also of note was his reference in his recent speech at Windows Mobile & Embedded Conference to increasing use of Windows in cars "because we see explosive improvements in what can be done with the user interface there". This follows his mention of Microvision's MicroHUD: "we can use the heads-up display in the car itself so that when you're driving and need a map, you are not looking down but it's imbedded right in the windshield, like it is on the Apache."

But Gates' interest and vision for future products using Microvision's technology is certainly directed at enabling new applications and revenue streams for Microsoft. Which is the whole point of new interfaces like heads-up displays. To enable new sets of functionality to be delivered; to allow information to follow the path of human activity; to open up new avenues for media and service delivery; to extend the capabilities of human beings beyond their current limitations.

Writing this website has been a real revelation for me in that I have been contacted by people all over the world who see the same things taking shape that I do, the same overarching themes in technology and progress. The accelerating rate of progress, best defined by Ray Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, is a tangible fact of modern life. Each successive plateau of change enables ever greater changes and transformation to come -- they stack up on each other to allow us to reach ever higher...towards what? That's the real question and the one that people can have a hard time digesting the answer to. But I'll volunteer what I think, anyway.

Biotechnology, robotics and information technology are merging from distinct fields of study to become one integrated science. We are staring down the ability for radical life extension with every breakthrough drug like Genentech's Avastin. Every second that passes, enormous grids of supercomputers are analyzing the human genome, proteins, and simulating billions of interactions with different agents and cellular processes. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The scientists are learning things about the human body at a rate that is tens of thousands of times faster to what they were capable of learning even 10 years ago. That's a lot of progress for 10 years.

Beyond radical life extension is the more interesting radical mind extension. We think of the internet now as a tool, among many of the tools we use to achieve our goals in any given day. Part of that mindset is the fact that the computer is external to us -- we interact with it on the computer's terms; sit at a desk specially designed for computing, indoors, while you type, drag and click, and do internet searches. As computers miniaturize, we find that we can bring (and increasingly, need to bring) the full capabilities of our desktop or laptop computer with us so that we can stay in touch, stay connected, stay productive, stay in the loop and stay relevant.

When what we now think of as cell phones become more and more capable of performing the full functionality of desktop computers, we will find that we can operate these computers on our terms. The heads-up display capability provided by Microvision will allow us to more tightly integrate the computer's abilities with our own. It will deliver us data and information that's relevant to us when we need it, bearing in mind the context of what we're doing at the moment and why. Information overlayed on your field of view is not something that can only be helpful for car mechanics, soldiers, pilots or tank drivers. It is useful for everybody. It will take software development to make context-sensitive, location-based services possible. But if you take a look at Danny Golan's messages posted a couple posts below this one, you will see that commercial AR is already in the works. The infrastructure is there. GPS, GIS, and broadband wireless is already a fact of life. The software to make it valuable for consumers will come from Microsoft, among many other developers. The display hardware can come from only one company, due to its unique feature set including daylight-visibility, high-resolution and low power consumption, in a head-up and hands-free configuration. Yeah, it's MVIS in case you weren't paying attention!

All of this adds up to the extension of our thought process and memory with ultra-high speed searching and retrieval, context-sensitive information overlay, as well as countless entertainment possibilities. We've caught the attention of the world. But it has only just begun. Thanks for reading MVIS Blog!