From Forbes: “Hewlett-Packard has invented a wireless data chip that can store 100 pages of text or 15 seconds of video on a dot about half the size of a rice grain.” Memory Spots, as these things are called, are supposedly two years away from widespread commercial release, and should end up costing about a dollar a piece. Forbes again:
The chip, which requires no power, works like this: Up to four megabits of data are put into the chip by touching the dot with an encased coil about the width of a pencil eraser. The data is read, and possibly updated, by anyone with another coil, at a rate of 10 megabits per second. It is possible to encrypt and authorize access to the data.
What will this mean? Singing cereal boxes, self-documenting appliances, hospital bracelets with updating patient histories, brochures or magazine inserts that beam slide shows to your phone: these are just a few of the things they can imagine (predictably, many have to do with advertising). This is one of those things that makes me wonder how we’ll look back on present conversations about the future of networked media, caught up as we still are in a computer-based mode of interaction. As the functions of the computer gradually melt back into the physical environment, we may find ourselves, even five years from now, somewhere quite different from what we currently imagine: in a landscape literally dotted with texts, images and sound. A data minefield.
Which, of course, we’re in already. Memory spots would likely just super-concentrate, in little data-packed specks, every square millimeter of the already info-glutted environment. If that’s so, they may find themselves an irresistible target for my spent wads of chewing gum.