D Spime? TranSpime? Transjects?

I need to read that report I mentioned earlier (reLink) to see if someone has already discussed the concept I raised on the SL Future Salon site. Basically, the idea is that one “object” (real or virtual) can spawn an object in the “other world”. If it’s virtual, then it’s easy enough to fabricate since that’s what we mostly already do when we manufacture stuff. If it’s real, that’s not difficult either, since we can reverse engineer it using a 3D x-ray or laser scanner and pop it into the virtual domain (it doesn’t need to be represented in 3D, but the data needs to be there since that’s part of the real object’s definition). Obviously code itself is easily moved between the two.

The objects remain in communication throughout their lifespan. When one object “dies” its information is carried forward by the other (a physical object can wear out; a virtual object’s code could require an update – think of all the things that break in Second Life when the client gets updated). That information can then be used to create an upgraded replacement by using the original data and adding anything that was learned by either object since inception. In a way, it’s very much like DNA, only in this specific way, you get the widest kind of diversity possible – with only two objects – to ensure mutual survival.

I’m not sure what this would be called. This isn’t a blogject. I don’t think this is a spime anymore. Symbiotic spimes? Heck, for all I know this has been discussed and already given a name by Sterling. To be honest, I’ve not really paid that much attention (I should read his book I guess; and there are at least two talks of his online to which I could listen). Anyone know?

{Update: Okay. I’m listening to Sterling’s SXSW talk now. I recall most of that list of 6 things that define a “spime”. And the part where he says spimes are “virtual objects first and actual objects second” reminds me why his idea didn’t really resonate with me: I already know that … because it’s what I do for a living. I design products, generate 3D CAD for them, and (sometimes) they’re fabricated in factories. For me their existence is sometimes only virtual, since I can design and CAD something and never see an actual physical object (my last design is like that).

The only part that was of interest to me when I first heard it (iirc) was his idea regarding the integrated electronics; the ability to tag an object with an RFID and have it as part of a larger system – mostly as a means to develop a “cradle-to-grave” system. But that didn’t do anything I’d not previously considered. The RadTag project already clued me into that sort of concept (my thanks to Regina Bobroske, a marketing friend, because it was while sending her an email explaining an earlier, non-networked version of the RadTag concept that I suddenly realized how it could be part of a bigger, socially-networked system). So that idea wasn’t new to me either.

So much for that. Now, if you’d like to read about some cool, related ideas from other designers, then take a look through some of the entries in the Design Slam Competition (Link) I set up over on the Core77 forum. Some related ideas also bubbled up independently among those folks. I wish I could point out which entries, but it’s been too long.

That said, I don’t think the “spime” idea extends to what I’m thinking now. However, I’ll have to next read that blogject report.}

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