Saturday, January 07, 2006

Location Scouting

So some years back I drop-boxed this JavaDome proposal to OMSI, suggesting a real Fly's Eye or the like, with programmable guts, perhaps on that green patch just outside the main lobby.

Fun idea, but of course a small science museum NGO (with some funding from Spirit Mountain) won't have a budget for such a pricey item. Only Hollywood and the military get those spectator numbers, with private industry standing by to provide the props (livingry or killingry, whatever pays the bills).

Hmmm... how could we script this as reality television? FreeGeek is a great location. No need to spend Hollywood millions to create a trashy, lived-in, gorgeously free-spirited ambience, with geeks galore (the real deal, not acting).

Fly's Eyes will have application in emergency and disaster relief scenarios, as air deployable command and control units, or so we might imagine. We'll use a lot of open source software, so global geeks have opportunities to customize and give back.

Then there's OHSU, including pieces under construction (world class MRI). Doctors Without Borders: helicopters deploy clinics, to places like Pakistan. I see the ingredients of some uplifting TV here.

I'm no screenwriter though (not yet anyway -- and why wait?). We'd need lots and lots of employees to really pull off the pilot (some new exhibits @ OMSI would be concrete proof of mission accomplished).

The key idea here is we don't fake the props. We do it for real, in the spirit of not lying to kids. Not that I'm against good science fiction (Tara and I projected The Matrix in our home theater last night (Tara: "a very unlikely hypothesis") -- I have many positive things to say about it, even though, as a Quaker, I think gunplay lacks sex appeal (I got bored with Mr. & Mrs. Smith, walked away to write this post instead)).

But the design science genre is about going from prototypes, field tested by those with the right stuff, to commercial products (after most of the kinks have been worked out), ala my Project Renaissance model. Burt Rutan knows the score (it's a lot about fun). SpaceShipOne is great reality television.

I'd cast myself as some spooky behind-the-scenes organizer who makes the rare on-camera appearance. That wouldn't be a lie either.