TTI/Vanguard Newsletter: October 21, 2022

TTI/Vanguard members, now is the time to register for the [next] conference in Scottsdale; you can find the provisional agenda at that link, too. The meeting dates of Dec 6–8 might seem far away, but the registration deadline for the hotel is fast approaching. Be sure to register and reserve your room, as rates will rise after Nov 7 or when the room block fills, whichever occurs first.

Many of the articles announcing Meta’s Quest 2 headset bemoaned its $1500 pricetag, but this item in the Washington Post instead questioned whether the corporate world is ready to go all-in on VR, with knowledge workers conducting their entire work lives in headsets, even if those headsets offer in-world access to Microsoft’s productivity tools. Scottsdale speaker Barmak Heshmat will showcase Brelyon’s desktop VR/AR-ready immersive display as a middle ground. (Nolan Bushnell, San Francisco, Dec 2016)  Click here to read the article.

At some point, menopause will be an aspect of life for half the world’s human population (but—fun fact—almost none of the world’s animal population). Despite the raw discomfort on an individual basis, its cumulative incidence affects global productivity and healthcare costs to the tune of $150B annually. Companies should normalize menopause just as they normalize pregnancy and should also acknowledge it as a medical issue and address/accommodate it accordingly. In Scottsdale, speaker Jennifer Garrison will bring us all up to speed on this stage of life that is surely affecting your workplace even if it isn’t currently affecting your home life or you directly. Click here to read the article.

Want a little extra spring in your step? Researchers at Stanford’s Biomechatronics Lab have developed an untethered robotic boot to do just that. This exoskeleton helps its wearer to walk and run faster and with greater ease by relying on machine learning to tailor the specifics of its assistance to the individual. (Thad Starner, Salt Lake City, Dec 2009; Stuart Harshbarger, Santa Monica, Dec 2007; Hugh Herr, Geneva, Sep 2005; Stephen Jacobsen, Atlanta, Dec 2004) Click here to read the article.

You know what they say about putting all your eggs in one basket. Well, Korea just learned what happens when that basket suffers a fire. Now, it wasn’t exactly a basket that burst into flames; it was a building. And it wasn’t exactly eggs in that building, but the servers running Kakao’s myriad services. If you aren’t familiar with Kakao, then you clearly aren’t Korean; it is the platform that hosts a set of services that 47.5M of Korea’s 51M residents use for Internet banking, messaging, phone calls, transportation, navigation, entertainment, and more. What happens when a service provider can’t provide services for over ten hours? Its stock tanks and a national reckoning commences regarding the pluses and minuses of the monopolistic operations of the nation’s tech giants. Click here to read the article.

Can it be that bufferbloat is inherently amusing? This latest instructional video on the topic and how to ameliorate it strives to top Dave Taht’s (Boston, Mar 2022) use of jugglers and unicyclists to explain the phenomenon. If you wish to relive that experience, or missed it the first go-round, the video of Taht’s talk—and others from recent conferences—can be found at TTI/Vanguard’s YouTube channel.

Rockets. That’s how to get objects into space, right? SpinLaunch has a different approach: just fling them up there—with the force of 10K Gs. (Jim Cantrell, Berkeley, Mar 2019; Dmitriy Tselaikhovich, San Francisco, Dec 2015) Click here to read the article.

“When you’re getting ready to launch into space, you’re sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen”—Sally Ride