Silicon Cowboys: The Past and Future of Imagination

The curved felt hat, flowing bandanna, loaded holster, tough jeans, rodeo gear, boots and spur … the dusty horizon, the sweat on the leather gloves and the thundering sound of the hooves … sounds distantly familiar?

These are the blazes of glory from the romanticized world of the 19th century Wild West – a frontier whose influence has penetrated probably every corner of modern civilization in some way or the other – from attire, attitude and adventure to the battle of the minds, markets and manifest destiny.

The halo of the Cowboys carries on spurred by, amongst other inclinations, the distinct styles of western vestiary and equipment, the wranglers, the spirit of adventure(ism) of the Wild West, the timeless bang bang movies recreated from grey to ‘eastmancolor’ with John Wayne and others, … and of course the expansive mindset and economic necessities which resulted in adaption, and some preservation, of classical traditions to the modern world applications.

James Bond and Convergence apart, after having sparked many an imagination for long … the next frontier which seems to be truly hitting the brain is wearable computers. These are miniature silicon devices integrated with your clothing or intelligent wearable accessories like belts, watches, shoes that can provide an array of monitoring and wireless communication functions. There are already several organisations conducting research on the next frontier of wearable/plug-gable/implantable technologies.

Some of the applications are in the areas of healthcare, mobile computing, adaptive textiles, defense, nerdy fashion and who knows what. As more and more ‘people’ get connected into the binary matrix the real battle for your body will begin!

The curved felt hat /thinking cap with integrated brain probes and conductive speakers, fold-able bandanna to project streamed data, loaded holster with battery boost and backup, toughed jeans with solar cells and body sensors, rodeo gear with pressure pad sensors, intelligent boots and contact lenses for Augmented Reality (AR) layover…  the dusty horizon of Big Data, the sweat on the motion-sensor based leather gloves and the thundering sound of the GPS enabled-hooves and Mediated Reality … sounds unfamiliar?

Welcome to the era of Silicon Cowboys.

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