A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Pi-Con and serving as a panelist. Here’s a quick overview of the experience. On Friday, I was on a panel on the future of robotics with Judah Sher and Drew Van Zandt. One of the more interesting topics of the panel was stompy an 6 legged kickstarter funded robot being built by Artisan’s Asylum.
My next panel was on Google’s Project Glass augmented reality glasses. My co-panelist were Will Frank, Martin Owens, Jennifer Pelland, and Drew Van Zand. No one knows exactly what Project Glass will be since it’s still under development but we talked a lot about what augmented reality glasses could be and how it would change society. Privacy was certainly a concern but there were also a number of interesting ideas for about how augmented reality glasses could be used. One audience member suggested that the glasses could be connected to a heart rate monitor to automatically take pictures when you got excited. Another suggested was that the glasses would be constantly recording but normally only store the past 12 seconds. If a significant event happened, you could instruct the glasses to retain the previous 12 seconds and to continue recording. He described a similar system used by a trucking company. The drivers initially protested but they were cleared in accidents 90% of the time thanks to the video evidence. Jennifer Pelland suggested the creation of virtual beer goggles — augmented reality glasses that would make the people around you look younger and more attractive in the same way that consuming large amounts of alcohol does. However, virtual beer goggles won’t impair your driving or give you a hangover the next day.
James L. Cambias gave a to talk on real airships that was so awesome, that I devoted an entire blog post to summarizing it. Susan de Guardiola taught a very enjoyable introduction to cross-step waltz. I also moderated panels on electronic warfare and steampunk costuming.
I missed the forced camaraderie of last years Pi-Con in which hurricane Irene effectively trapped us in the hotel and caused us to do a series of impomptu panels that we dubbed Hurricon. That said, this year’s Pi-Con was better attended. I attended fewer parties this year and was less social so that might account for my different perspective.
Pi-Con was a great experience as always. Sadly it will not be held next year because the convention staff need time to recover but I very much look forward to attending in 2014.