Friday, July 16, 2004

Bluetooth, thumb drives, RFID, watches and cyborgs

Air2Net Bluetooth CF/PC Card
How do we end up traveling from the 20th century into the virtual age? Historians, if there are any, will look back at wrist watches with embedded bluetooth and flash memory, and they'll look at dogs tagged with RFID implants.

Then they'll look at feckless youngsters who implant RFID tags to weird out their parents. Whose younger siblings implant usb stores and bluetooth modules (Perhaps the power supply remains external? A good way to gross out parents would be to inject alcohol into a subdermal fuel cell bladder). And so it goes.

I do like the idea of a watch with USB storage 2-4GB (or, soon, a microdrive with 40GB), a thumprint reader, bluetooth and an embedded RFID tag (I'm too squeamish to put the RFID tag in my forearm). I think with a bit of cleverness the watch could look pretty conventional, and even less bulky than is the current fashion (the real problem is batteries -- we need a fuel cell battery than can be resupplied by an external device).

Anyone remember the Java ring of the 1990s?

One could do a LOT of things with this combo. Data would be stored on the USB store as an encrypted disk image. The RFID tag would respond to inquiries and trigger a biometric authentication request. Upon authentication a nearby computer would exchange keys with the Bluetooth adapter, then mount the disk image via the bluetooth interface. The disk image would contain one's roving profile, private keys, etc. (like the Java ring)

Nothing new here or technically challenging, just interesting to watch the pieces come together.

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