When it’s on your doorstep…

I have been based at the Human Institute in South West London now for a number of years. I maintain a modest homestead just up the road and generally commute back and forth by foot, or sometimes even feet.

What may surprise some, being that I work in the country’s capital, is it that outside of the modest borough of Wandsworth where I reside and make science, I have never ventured into the centre. I have never seen the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Nelson’s Column, the apple store or even met the Queen – all the things many people might take for granted of us London residents.

Now of course when I do take myself away for the twice annual Charles Human holiday expedition I often make the most of exploring new areas, often meeting with fellow scientists and trading amusing stories about Bunsen burners. So why should it be that I have all the alleged wonders of one of the largest and most exciting cities in the world, a mere stone’s throw away and I have never attempted to rectify this obvious deficiency in my cultural learning.

Well I could argue that you reading this have never visited the Human Institute, you probably don’t even know where it is, so I do have that one up on you.

I suppose the theory might go that when it’s on your doorstep, there is the feeling that you could go anytime, and so then by default never do. I’m not so certain that applies in this case however. As it stands I am currently running an experiment where I have inserted a small electronic chip in my wrist. The idea being that when I approach doors at the institute they will automatically open for me without the rather tiresome business of using door handles. The technology is fairly rudimentary at the moment, and so my movements to and from the institute are hampered some by the fact the small chip inserted in my wrist is powered by a 5K generator that I have to wheel around behind me. Don’t ask where the power cables enter my body.

Still if this prototype is a success (there are a few teething problems at the moment, and I have walked straight into a number of doors in anticipation that they will simply open up for me) I can though see this type of tech applied for more general use by the public. My hope is by this time next year for us all to have these chips inserted in our wrists and franchise the technology out to major retailers (supermarkets for instance) and opening and closing doors will become a thing of the past.



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