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What is 'IT'?

jamie posted more than 13 years ago | from the IT's-funny-laugh dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 554

StoryMan and a lot of other people found this interesting: "Okay, here's a weird one. This is the first I've heard of it. A long article on MSNBC describes this new 'thing' called 'IT'. Apparently it can be assembled from a bunch of parts. Jobs loves it. Bezos loves it. But what is it? Anyone have any ideas? Is this for real?" I think it's an A-driven experimental swibble.

From "Service Call," a short story by Philip K. Dick:

The young man flushed, swallowed noisily, tried to grin, and then hurried on huskily, "Sir, I'm the repairman you asked for; I'm here to fix your swibble."

The facetious retort that came to Courtland's mind was one that later on he wished he had used. "Maybe," he wished he had said, "I don't want my swibble fixed. Maybe I like my swibble the way it is." But he didn't say that. Instead, he blinked, pulled the door in slightly, and said, "My what?"

"Yes, sir," the young man persisted. "The record of your swibble installation came to us as a matter of course. Usually we make an automatic adjustment inquiry, but your call preceded that -- so I'm here with complete service equipment. Now, as to the nature of your particular complaint..." Furiously, the young man pawed through the sheaf of papers on his clipboard. "Well, there's no point in looking for that; you can tell me orally. As you probably know, sir, we're not officially part of the vending corporation ... we have what is called an insurance-type coverage that comes into existence automatically, when your purchase is made. Of course, you can cancel the arrangement with us." Feebly, he tried a joke. "I have heard there're a couple of competitors in the service business."

Stern morality replaced humor. Pulling his lank body upright, he finished, "But let me say that we've been in the swibble repair business ever since old R.J. Wright introduced the first A-driven experimental model."

For a time, Courtland said nothing. Phantasmagoria swirled through his head: random quasi-technological thoughts, reflex evaluations and notations of no importance. So swibbles broke down, did they? Big-time business operations ... send out a repairman as soon as the deal is closed. Monopoly tactics ... squeeze out the competition before they have a chance. Kickback to the parent company, probably. Interwoven books.

[...]

A swibble. What the hell was a swibble? And he was on the in, industrially speaking. He read U.S. News, the Wall Street Journal. If there was a swibble he would have heard about it -- unless a swibble was some pip-squeak gadget for the home. Maybe that was it.

You can find this story in The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 4: The Minority Report.

Thoughtfully, he added, "In fact I'd say the real war was a war over swibbles. I mean, it was the last war. It was the war between the people who wanted swibbles and those who didn't." Complacently, he finished, "Needless to say, we won."

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554 comments

Its a hovercraft (1)

litewoheat (179018) | more than 13 years ago | (#517641)

It is indeed a clean personal hovercraft type vehicle. I'd love to see how the implemented the "breaks" on it.

Who cares? (1)

skelly (38870) | more than 13 years ago | (#517702)

If they won't say what it is, then it is just a big joke. It sounds like the promise of cold fusion a few years back. I will just plan on buying an electric/hydraulic car if a few years and let the rest take care of itself.

A guess (1)

glazik (124046) | more than 13 years ago | (#517703)

It's a jetpack.

That takes care of the legal questions, the architectural retro-fitting, the gotta-have-it factor, and the might-require-new-regulations.

What'choo think, people?

Science vs. technology (1)

SeanCier (12804) | more than 13 years ago | (#517704)

You're making a simple but understandable mistake. This is not science, this is technology. Science is the search for truth by formulating theories and comparing them to evidence; the success of a theory is the degree to which it approximates truth, and as such requires peer review. Technology is the process of creating useful devices (both physical and information-based); the success of a piece of technology is the degree to which it is employed (or arguably the degree to which it improves some process), and as such does not require peer review.

-spc

Just a guess (1)

TMLink (177732) | more than 13 years ago | (#517705)

I personally think that it's just Tim Curry in a clown outfit terrorizing a bunch of kids until they grow up and kill it.

But that's just me.

Re:Suspicious...but interested--An idea! (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 13 years ago | (#517706)

From the MSNBC article:

One editor who saw the proposal went as far as to speculate -- jokingly (perhaps) -- that IT was a type of personal hovering craft.

Coooooooooooooooooooooooooool. If that's what it is then that is pretty damn neat!

Re:Seriously... (2)

Croaker (10633) | more than 13 years ago | (#517707)

But, if you read the article carefully, you'll see it mentions the Stirling engine, *then* talks about a hush-hush project that Kleiner Perkins is investing in. It implies that this is not, in fact, IT.

Damn, I need to track down my college friend who went off to work for Dean doing the US FIRST thing. Maybe he knows...

IT replaces... Porn, spam, and chainmail?!? (1)

Packratt (257218) | more than 13 years ago | (#517708)

"According to the inventor of "Ginger," Dean Kamen, his device will be an alternative to products that "are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."

Hmm, Porn, spam, and chainmail are frustrating to me, dirty, expensive when they slow down my network, and dangerous if you're a user caught with these things on my network... So, maybe IT replaces that stuff?

Seriously though, I remember an article a few years ago with someone testing out designs for personal aircraft and hovercraft to replace cars. The designs were smaller than automobiles and used the same amount of fuel from what I remember. The automakers would poop themselves if this was the case and the oil industry would kill it with cash payouts to politians if it used less or different fuel sources than autos.

Pretty thought provoking even if it is just a hoax.

Re:Its a hovercraft (1)

zhensel (228891) | more than 13 years ago | (#517709)

I imagine by using a hex wrench to attach the "razor-esque-handle" to the body... I've put together roller skates, bicycles, and who knows what else using those bloody things. I imagine there is a hex-wrench factory somewhere that puts out billions of these suckers annually, because every single device that requires minor assembly uses them. What's wrong with a phillips head screw? Are you afraid someone is going to dismantle IT when you aren't looking? Then you probably shouldn't use a hex head because, like I said - they are everywhere!

Re:Its a hovercraft (1)

Gambit Thirty-Two (4665) | more than 13 years ago | (#517710)

All i can think is like a hoverboard from bttf2 :) This guy is saying that people will buy and use it if its legal. I remember after bttf2, zemeckis told ppl interviewing him that hoverboards were real, but the toy companies were forced to hold them back because of fears and complaints from parents of children who had gotten injured using them.

if it is a hoverboard, f*ck it. im buying one. i dont care how much it costs.

Rocket Man Propeller Head (1)

m00t (256995) | more than 13 years ago | (#517711)

IMHO, it would appear to be some sort of flying vehicle that runs on an unconventional power source (IE, not Oil products [hmm... Karma?]). The car companies would oppose it, the gas companies would oppose it, even cities would oppose it due to the hazards flying vehicles could pose in the hands of general consumers.

It sounds like it is highly portable: "In a private meeting with Bezos, Jobs and Doerr, Kamen assembled two Gingers -- or ITs -- in 10 minutes, using a screwdriver and hex wrenches from components that fit into a couple of large duffel bags and some cardboard boxes. ".

I don't think it's a hovercraft as that would not really conjure up the notions such as these: "Kemper says the invention will "sweep over the world and change lives, cities, and ways of thinking."", "Jobs is quoted as saying: "...If enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen." ".

A flying craft, however, would require design consideration for buildings (entrances on many levels, less overhangs to bang your head on, etc) where a hovercraft could be suited for ordinary streets (really, what modifications to a city would you need for a hovercraft? how could it benifit significantly from any changes?)

Of course I could be totally wrong about this... But based on the information provided in the article it sounds like a fair bet.

I think I've got it... (1)

mclove (266201) | more than 13 years ago | (#517712)

We know it's a transportation device, since robotic dogs already exist. Teleportation might be possible someday, but there's no way he's made this kind of step in quantum mechanics, so it's not that. Electric cars and fuel-cell cars are already well-known, though I suppose he might have some alternate transportation method, but I think that "this might change the way cities are designed" points to a Wired article I saw a few years ago about the hovercar. The one I read about had four small turbine engines and VTOL; it got something like 300 miles to a tank of gas (or a few other possible fuel types) and sounded pretty impressive, possibly revolutionary. Initial price was supposed to be $1mil, but it was expected to come down. Does this sound possible?

Re:Whatever it is... (1)

Gambit Thirty-Two (4665) | more than 13 years ago | (#517713)

yeah but how many of these would be able to be built for under $2000 from the contents of a couple of duffle bags?

Re:Joking!@ (1)

Ma_Ma_Monkey (44716) | more than 13 years ago | (#517714)

I agree with you 100%. I hate it when people still don't use the proper "there", "their", and "they're".

Re:What IT Is And Isn't (2)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 13 years ago | (#517716)

My bet says it's some sort of super-clean, super-cool transportation. And since it was "turned on", it has something electrical.

I think you're right. At least on the transportation part. Hopefully it does turn out to be super clean and super cool.

But what kind of transportation is it? Assembled from parts carried in two large duffel bags? Sounds like personal transportation rather than a large multiperson vehicle. Is it some sort of kickass, Internet-guided scooter?

And what does IT stand for? I---- Transport?



--

Obvious what "It" is: (1)

Arthropoid (194003) | more than 13 years ago | (#517717)

IT is obviously some sort of new-millennium blow-up doll. They might have thought that was Bezos laughing, but who knows what it really was (other than his wife)? Whether it is legal or not? Sounds like a drug or sex to me, seeing how we're a nation of prudes. 2k seems awfully expensive compared to your average $15 air-inflated model however.

READ THIS IF YOU WANT THE *REAL* TRUTH (1)

ekrout (139379) | more than 13 years ago | (#517718)

"IT is an Individual Transport device utilizing a rotating electro magnetic field for propulsion. The rotational device is magnetic bearing mounted, thus producing minimal drag. External mag strips may be required; however, it may be done without changing design."
______________________________
Eric Krout

Re:What IT Is And Isn't (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 13 years ago | (#517719)

I'm beginning to agree that IT is some mode of personal transportation(like those scooter things, but better). Given the inventors' previous experience with such machinery(the wheelchair) and all the comments in the article this seems like the most logical conlusion. Relieve traffic congestion downtown with a scooter like device? It would have to be alot better than that though. Up here in Canada, it would get mighty cold riding one of them things to work.

-----
"People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them"

Re:Patents? (1)

zhensel (228891) | more than 13 years ago | (#517720)

The off-road wheel chair discussed in the article is very real, and very cool. Imagine being a parapalegic and being able to reach the top shelf in a grocery eisle - with perfect balance on two wheels. Then you can bomb on home, climb the stairs to your room, lift the chair again to get on your bed, then hop off. I'm not too familiar with his work other than this, but if IT is as useful of a device, but for the entire population, IT will make loads of cash and probably be pretty cool. From the article (especially the end) it looks to be some type of transportation device. If they are talking about redesigning cities for IT though, I'd imagine IT would have to have some sort of resistance to weather trouble, so it wouldn't be as simple as the hover boards in Back to the Future II :) - interesting how many bttf references in this thread btw.

Fancy Power Source? (1)

siliconvortex (235693) | more than 13 years ago | (#517725)

Cold fusion in a duffle bag? Some totally off the wall totally green power source that runs off of CO or CO2 or dirt? Becoming the only distributer of power in the world would easily make 60 billion in the first few years.

Cities would plan around distributing the power, entire industries would fail overnight. The success of this think would be the only thing that held the markets in check from totally bombing and destroying the economy. Most of the statements made fit some sort of renewable, green, power source with near limitless (H20?) fuel.

The most suspect part of the article is the fact that he gets to keep 85% of the company! People this big don't invest in small (+5mil) chunks. I was involved in a (failed) startup, and learned quickly that if you don't ask for 10mil +, they are not even going to return your phone calls. So what is the company/product valued at? Since all of those names will want part of they payout, they'll all be putting money in. Five, ten, fifteen million a percent?

So either in the next couple of days all of these people will be issuing denials that they are associated and that they never made such comments, OR, this is the biggest thing since they forgot to patent sliced bread

I know what IT is... (1)

horos1 (203480) | more than 13 years ago | (#517727)

Happy Fun Ball! now all we have to do is get a couple of wise-ass kids to taunt their happy-fun-balls and it will be the end of civilization as we know it... horos

Salon Article (3)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#517834)

Another article about it on Salon is here.

http://www.salon.com/books/wire/2001/01/09/ginge r/ index.html

IT.. (1)

Adam9 (93947) | more than 13 years ago | (#517837)

It must be the solution to keep a site running after being slashdotted. Of course everyone wants it.

Interesting... (3)

Seenhere (90736) | more than 13 years ago | (#517850)

Salon [salon.com] has a piece on this too.

But if you do a Google search on "ginger dean kamen", you get nothing. Not even any wack rumors. Deja doesn't turn up anything either.

So, it's got me curious, which is a pretty good PR trick if nothing else.

--Seen

Big Brother (2)

jasamaman (221350) | more than 13 years ago | (#517871)

Maybe it's one of those evil telescreens from George Orwell's chilling tale of '1984'. Given it's around 17 years overdue, it could happen. Furthermore, the MSNBC article says that "If enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen" . Also it states that it isn't a question of whether people are going to buy it, but a question of whether it will be legal. It makes you wonder...

my personal opinion (2)

gtx (204552) | more than 13 years ago | (#517873)

(this is prolly going to look like flamebait, but i swear i wasn't trolling)

if jobs and bezos love IT, then IT must be a method of selling at a loss and then making up for it with quantity!

you too can have your very own DotCom (tm) to sell everything that you think everybody needs but is too lazy to buy it at a real store. here's a testimonial from Bob, started using IT to his advantage:

"A couple months ago, I started using IT to sell groceries on the internet. I figured 'Why would anybody trust the people at their local mom n' pop store when they could send their credit cards to me?' So I was talking to IT Venture Capital Services, and their rep was great! They gave me $10,000,000 just for walking in the door! And then when I told him I had a business idea that involved the internet, He gave me another 10,000,000! IT is the best thing that ever happened to the economy!

oh wait... tech stocks are down...

Well, (1)

Bob Costas (234537) | more than 13 years ago | (#517877)

if I remember correctly, IT was some sort of clown/arachnid hybrid.
---
"You just stranded one of the world's greatest leaders in San Dimas!"

Another Article (3)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 13 years ago | (#517887)

Here is an article on inside.com as well. PR stunt? Good one if it is.

http://www.inside.com/jcs/Story?article_id=20218 &p od_id=8

Wow... (4)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#517890)

From the article:

According to the proposal, another investor, Credit Suisse First Boston, expects Kamen's invention to make more money in its first year than any start-up in history, predicting Kamen will be worth more in five years than Bill Gates.

Bill Gates has more than US$60 billion to his name. That means this company would go from $0 to >$60 billion in five years? My first reaction is that this is complete horseshit, but if Credit Suisse First Boston [csfb.com], an arm of a major Swiss bank, is behind it, it must certainly carry some weight.

But think about the sheer logistics behind rocketing to more than $60 billion in corporate worth in only five years... it absolutely boggles the mind!

Jobs told Kamen the invention would be as significant as the PC, the proposal says.

If Steve Jobs says this, he just might be on to something. But how many things have been trumpeted as "PC replacements" in the past, oh, ten years?

--

What Are The Chances? (3)

Livn4Golf (83604) | more than 13 years ago | (#517899)

What are the chances that the people responsible for IT hire Linus, have a blank website with no tpyos, and finally name the product after a Robert Louis Stevenson character?

Re:Its a hovercraft (1)

jasamaman (221350) | more than 13 years ago | (#517902)

Exuse me, but the article stated that 2 'IT's were assembled in 10 minutes. I'd love to see a hover craft made in 5 minutes, but, I don't think its possible.

I know what IT is! (4)

aidoneus (74503) | more than 13 years ago | (#517905)

It took some thinking, but I've figured out what IT is... IT is the newest piece of immensely overhype and excessively shrouded bit if techno hype to be produced since Transmeta's cryptic web page first went up!

And people are having such a hard time figuring out what IT is...

:)

Patents? (1)

BrianEnigma (29907) | more than 13 years ago | (#517916)

A patent search on IBM's patent server [delphion.com] for ( (Kamen Dean) (INVENTOR,ASSIGNEE)) does not show anything too interesting in recent patents. The "Catamenial Collector" is humorously confusing...it appears to be...almost...a sex toy. Everything else he has patented recently seems to be boring and mostly medical...

Whatever it is... (1)

Maurice (114520) | more than 13 years ago | (#517918)

the only things that would impress me are:
Faster Than Light Travel

Teleportation.

Time Travel

Anything else would not deserve so much hype. Remember the hype around Transmeta, and now we know Crusoe is (almost) just vaporware.

Transportation device.... (1)

Desmoden (221564) | more than 13 years ago | (#517920)

we've been racking our brains at work with different theories. A personal consumer device that replaces something expensive, frustrating, and dangerous that requires city infrastructure changes can only be a transportation device. What kind is another question, teleportation would be awesome, a hover Razor scooter more believable, but for it to be less dangerous it must be somewhat automated. Either way, IT is the ultimate riddle =)

I know what "IT" is (1)

HongPong (226840) | more than 13 years ago | (#517939)

Pretty damned amorphous, that's for sure!
Eatin' teenagers and all that! Ba-DUM cha!

Re:Big Brother (2)

iamriley (51622) | more than 13 years ago | (#517948)

IT sounds like some sort of waste disposal that generates power to me. Think Back To The Future when Doc throws some trash into "Mr Fusion" to create power for the time machine.

Jetpack (1)

Elmogoaty (107686) | more than 13 years ago | (#517951)

http://www.inside.com/jcs/Story?article_id=20218&p od_id=8 A portable, personal jetpack can fit into every one of the clues on the website mentioned above.

Personal Levitating Scooter (1)

mwalsh21 (208262) | more than 13 years ago | (#517953)

Building on his experience with wheelchairs the inventor decided his next invention would be a mass market transportation device. A levitating scooter might be able to hit his price point of $2,000. The scooter would be powered by magnetic levitation rails in the ground. This explains why Jobs is quoted as saying: 'If enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen.'

Hi everyone (1)

localmooer (266170) | more than 13 years ago | (#517956)

All I know is that this better benefit consumers; otherwise we really shouldn't care, as it would not affect our lives. PS We are not talking about Information Technologists. We are talking about some top secret projeect. To avoid confusion let's refer "IT" as Ginger please.

Dont trust IT (1)

Gen-GNU (36980) | more than 13 years ago | (#517958)

I don't know if this article is a joke, but if not...don't trust IT.

The article says that IT is an invention which will change the world. Like cold-fusion?

There is a certain order scientists follow when releasing a new discovery. The idea must be given peer review before anyone should believe a word about it.

A couple of scientists came out about 15-20 years ago I believe, saying they had acieved cold-fusion. They were given their 15 minutes, interviewed by reporters, etc. The problem was that their 'method' for achieving it was bogus. When time came to present it, and have others duplicate it, no-one could.

Until they say what IT is, and IT can be duplicated by someone other than the 'inventor', it's not news, it's hype.

From webster's (2)

fluxrad (125130) | more than 13 years ago | (#517960)

IT: (n. eye- tee). 1. A state of having recently graduated from college with a liberal-arts degree and realizing that all your electrical engineering friends are making bank. 2. A catchall term for 40-something HR reps from conglomerates making any number of x (x.) products, none of which have to do with computers. Term explicitly, or implicitly, indicates an incomprehension for technology related substances. 3. (n.)Dodging term for one who works at a failing .com "Harry, where do you work?", "Oh, I'm in IT."

IT(n.):syn. Synergy, Value-Add, (phr.)Thinking outside the box. (side: box (n.) is not implicitly labeled). or, any other number of terms upper-management throws around without any clue of definition.

IT(n.):ant. Work-ethic, Skilled Labor, e.g. "I work for a company that's been around longer than 3 years."


FluX
After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network

What IT Is And Isn't (2)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#517988)

From the article:
  • IT is not a medical invention.
  • In a private meeting with Bezos, Jobs and Doerr, Kamen assembled two Gingers -- or ITs -- in 10 minutes, using a screwdriver and hex wrenches from components that fit into a couple of large duffel bags and some cardboard boxes.
  • The invention has a fun element to it, because once a Ginger was turned on, Bezos started laughing his "loud, honking laugh".
  • There are possibly two Ginger models, named Metro and Pro -- and the Metro may possibly cost less than $2,000.
  • Bezos is quoted as saying that IT "...is a product so revolutionary, you'll have no problem selling it. The question is, are people going to be allowed to use it?"
  • Jobs is quoted as saying: "...If enough people see the machine you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It'll just happen."
  • Kemper says the invention will "sweep over the world and change lives, cities, and ways of thinking."
  • The "core technology and its implementations" will, according to Kamen, "have a big, broad impact not only on social institutions but some billion-dollar old-line companies." And the invention will "profoundly affect our environment and the way people live worldwide. It will be an alternative to products that are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."
  • IT will be a mass-market consumer product "likely to run afoul of existing regulations and or inspire new ones," according to Kemper. The invention will also likely require "meeting with city planners, regulators, legislators, large commercial companies and university presidents about how cities, companies and campuses can be retro-fitted for Ginger."
Okay, now consider this:

The invention itself is as interesting as the inventor. Kamen -- "a true eccentric, cantankerous and opinionated, a great character," according to the proposal -- dropped out of college in his 20s, then invented the first drug infusion pump; he later created the first portable insulin pump and dialysis machine.

I am totally blown away as to what it is, but it seems like this guy just might know what he's doing...

--

Re:Wow... (2)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 13 years ago | (#517990)

Well, he doesn't really have to make $60 bil that quick. I'm not sure of any numbers, but I do know that Kamen is already worth a good deal.

He owns a lot of patents (And as far as I know, they're all the good kind. On real inventions that he actually innovated.) and is the idea and money man behind the FIRST competition that was mentioned here a few days ago.

Re:Wow... (1)

jbridge21 (90597) | more than 13 years ago | (#517992)

Something being as significant as the PC is totally different from it replacing the PC.

Personally, I don't think anything will ever truly replace the PC.
-----

Seriously... (4)

Ross C. Brackett (5878) | more than 13 years ago | (#517994)

Dang. I submitted this question Ask Slashdot style under science, hoping it would get serious attention, seeing as how Dean Kamen has brought a lot of good to this world through scientific advances.

My personal hope is that the Stirling engine discussed on page 2 of this Wired article [wirednews.com] is approaching commercial viability. Cheap portable power generation using virtually any kind of fuel? Sounds awesome and of great potential beneifet to humanity. Anyone close to the project have any inside info? Anyone familiar with this technology want to further explain its coolness?

I know what IT is.. (2)

Rev. DOG. (122477) | more than 13 years ago | (#517995)

Look, I've read Sladek, I know what IT is, it's an evil robot sent to paint pictures and kill people.. Sure, they're going to think at first that it's nothing, and is in fact something good for humanity.. but then they'll find out and try to elect it vice-president... I KNOW THESE THINGS.
---

Beware IT, Badtimes ahead! (3)

planet_hoth (3049) | more than 13 years ago | (#518005)

This post is for you skeptical folks who dare to think all these "IT" articles are actually just hoaxes designed to clog up the internet.

If you receive an "IT", get rid of it immediately WITHOUT using it. It is the most dangerous thingy yet.

It will rewrite your hard drive. Not only that, but it will scramble any disks that are even close to your computer (20' range at 72 degrees Fahrenheit).

It recalibrates your refrigerator's coolness setting so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It will demagnetize the strips on all your credit cards, reprogram your ATM access code, screw up the tracking on your VCR, and use subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD's you try to play.

It will program your phone autodial to call only your mother-in-law's number.

It will hide your car keys when you are late for work and interfere with your car radio so that you hear 1940's hits and static while stuck in traffic.

It will give you nightmares about circus midgets.

It will replace your shampoo with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine, all while changing all active verbs to passive tense and incorporating undetectable misspellings which grossly change the interpretation of key sentences.

It will infest your armpits with fleas of a thousands camels.

It will rewrite your back-up files, leave the toilet seat up and leave the hair dryer plugged in dangerously close to a full bath tub.

It wantonly removes the forbidden tags from your mattresses and pillows, and refills your skim milk with whole.

It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold.

It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve. It will cause the universe to implode at the speed of light with a giant sucking sound, and bother those with sensitive eardrums.

These are just a few signs. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!! Or "IT" will track you down via public transportation. And won't you be sorry then.

Re:What IT Is And Isn't (2)

alexburke (119254) | more than 13 years ago | (#518014)

AHA!

[...]the invention will "profoundly affect our environment and the way people live worldwide. It will be an alternative to products that are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."

My bet says it's some sort of super-clean, super-cool transportation. And since it was "turned on", it has something electrical.

--

What is it? (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 13 years ago | (#518017)

  • A flying machine that works for peanuts as it rides on a small space warping à la olive pit between two fingers?
  • A space-warper that connects two distant spatial planes together, effectively zeroing the distance between those planes?
    Now, what if one plane is at a higher altitude than the other. What happens with the change of potential energy as an object goes from one plane to the other?
  • A total sensory-extender that allows one to "be" somewhere else at the same time?
  • An engine running on water? Hot air? Bullshit?
  • A car that can be folded flat and slipped in one's wallet (or under the garage door)?

--

Re:Wow... (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#518023)

Well, the way high-end inflation is going, $60b now is going to be the equivalent about $2b in five years.

There are two inflation rates: The rate that governs the price of a loaf of bread, litre of milk, and price of a modest house; and the rate that governs an obscene mansion, a small country, or the last bottle of wine hand-labelled by Baron Phillipe I. (if such a thing exists)

So $0 -> $2b in five years? Yeah, it's possible.
HOWEVER...

Cool. (3)

jwriney (16598) | more than 13 years ago | (#518025)

Hmm. Based on this article, Electronics Boutique should start accepting pre-orders any minute now...

--jwriney

I know what IT is... (1)

ldserpent (303311) | more than 13 years ago | (#518044)

Its the hoverboard from Back to the Future II... remember that??? I think IT is a mode of transportation, as his last invention was the iBot, and he doesn't want big companies getting hold from it.. remember back in the movie the hoverboard Marty took was a barbie-like one that had a big ol' Mattel sticker over it??? ------- There comes a time in life when you must take a piss in the sink. -Peter Ovaskly, Second Poem

Re:Salon Article (2)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 13 years ago | (#518047)

According to the inventor of "Ginger," Dean Kamen, his device will be an alternative to products that "are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."
The only two things that fit this description are dogs and automobiles.

--

A penis enlarger that really works!!! (1)

mr_gerbik (122036) | more than 13 years ago | (#518050)

FINALLY! This will be the biggest, most successful product to drain the pocketbooks of nerds since the Internet!

-gerbik

Miniture Ibot (1)

Ptahian (113302) | more than 13 years ago | (#518052)

2 in fact: one for each foot.

Add a hand-held controller and we're off to the races.

Funny how easy it was to guess.

Here's a Pic and info of the IBOT [indetech.com]. Add some contempary chips, and it's easy to imagine.

I signed a NDA, but I can still say its cool (1)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 13 years ago | (#518057)

When you guys finally get to see IT, you will pee your pants, I swear. IT is better than Slashdot, better than nudie anime, better than Britney Spears waiting at home in bed for you and your laptop (and I speak from experience on that last one, really). If you think Napster changed the world, wait till you see IT

I think it's a motor vehicle of some sort: (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 13 years ago | (#518060)

Consider the Salon article:

According to the inventor of "Ginger," Dean Kamen, his device will be an alternative to products that "are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."

Also from the MSNBC Article:

The "core technology and its implementations" will, according to Kamen, "have a big, broad impact not only on social institutions but some billion-dollar old-line companies." And the invention will "profoundly affect our environment and the way people live worldwide. It will be an alternative to products that are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities."

Anything that revolutionary would have to be transportation of some kind. The "billion dollar" companies are car and oil companys (and possibly power companies".

Re:From webster's (1)

mrmag00 (200868) | more than 13 years ago | (#518089)

It seems this post solves the question. Yet another media hype screwed over by reality.

hydogen powered turbine engine (my guess) (1)

referee (191944) | more than 13 years ago | (#518090)

I'm surprised this article has the humorus foot icon. I was hoping for an 'ask slashdot' to focus people on the task of figuring out what IT could be. From the clues offered in the articles I would have to assume that IT offers a better way to get from point A to B. My guess is that the man has engineered a replacement for the internal combustion engine. Maybe he has figured out a way to fit a hydrogen powered turbine under the hood of a car. Whatever IT is, I want one now!

Suspicious...but interested--An idea! (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#518092)

OK, I look up Dean Kamen--someone I've never heard of--on Google, and find pages and pages of links to things about him. Try that with anyone else, (i.e. someone really famous) and you'll get a bunch of dead links, misleading links, barely peripherally related links, and the like. Nothing nearly as impressive or _targetted_ as a certain Mr. Kamen.

That sets my spidey-sense a-tingling.

But lest I be accused of being too much of a curmudgeon (which brings one to ask--is it possible to be too much of a good thing?), let's assume that IT is real, and IT's what it promises to be.

How about a personal servant? I'm not talking about a solar powered lawn mower, but a _real_ personal servant, the sort that Matt Ruff wrote about. (go look him up--one of the best damned authors alive today!) Could that be IT?

Oh, no--I have it.

Cold Fusion. For real this time.

Unfortunately, it STILL won't be a revolution.

other idea (not transportation) (1)

crackhoe (15434) | more than 13 years ago | (#518111)

Everyone has thrown their $0.02 in saying IT is a transportation device citing reasoning of changing a cities infastructure, pissing off major companies, making something safer/easier/cleaner. Transportation is not the only thing that this could be.

I'm thinking a new system of delivering power. Power lines are terribly dangerous and annoying. The power companies would be really pissed if we found a usable alternative.

New residential and commerical communications system - see above. Or, maybe it is a better way of

So, it doesn't necessarily *have* to be a mode of transportation, unless you are going to consider transportation of utilities or data in the same game.

what ever. i guess we will see in '02.

sarcasm { I can't wait. }

The title of the book (1)

MortimerK (22530) | more than 13 years ago | (#518113)

The title of the book is "To Serve Man" or something. Weird, I wonder what IT could be.

(First obvious reply gets a cookie)

Re:Profiling: Interviews with DEAN Kamen (1)

juliao (219156) | more than 13 years ago | (#518114)

Sorry, slight tyypo on the gentleman's name... :(
-----

MOD THIS UP (1)

PigAlien (29865) | more than 13 years ago | (#518116)

Read page two of the above link, it really seems to fit in...
http://www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/declara tion/declaration.html

Dean Kamen (2)

Merk00 (123226) | more than 13 years ago | (#518117)

Well, as far as PR stunts go, I doubt this is one. It's not Dean's style in the least. And before you ask, yes, I have met him although I do not know him personally. In fact I saw him last Saturday. Above all things Dean isn't really all that interested in making money anymore. He's more interested in changing the world (witness what he's done for FIRST). R Deka Research, Dean's company, is a completely R&D firm. They do contracts for some companies but I believe most of that's just to pay the bills. The real work is the stuff that Dean directs them to do. The [usfirst.org]iBot [wired.com] was one thing that Dean directed Deka to work on that was not something a company asked Deka to research. The more important projects Deka does (ie. those started by Dean) are usually too risky for any corporation to want to develop. In all honesty I almost expect Dean to reveal what this new invention is at either FIRST's [usfirst.org] Kickoff (January) or National Championship (April) next year. As to what it is, my guess is that's it's a Stirling Engine that actually works. They're pretty cool and can burn almost any fuel. Is this as big as they say it is? Knowing Dean, I would bet on it. Matt Leese

It's not April 1, is it? (1)

Nathan Mates (129704) | more than 13 years ago | (#518119)

If we were closer to April Fools Day, this would smell drastically like a hoax. Despite the date, it still sorta does. We'll see how this plays out over the long run.

Nathan Mates
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