Ming the Mechanic:
The Wearable Home

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The Wearable Home2006-01-31 13:08
by Flemming Funch

Dave Pollard has a proposal
I have written several times about the idea of a 'wearable home' -- a self-contained environment that would allow the 'wearer/resident' to live comfortably 'outdoors' anywhere on Earth. The standard human solution to the problem of inhospitable climate is an extravagant invention called the 'single family home', which contains as many as a dozen different single-purpose unconfigurable 'rooms', must be abandoned in favour of another model when the occupant's lifestyle changes, and consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels to keep the entire structure at a comfortable temperature, even when the occupant is away from it.

There are several more economical solutions in widespread use. The most enduring of these is the deer-and-harehide suit of the aboriginal peoples of the Arctic, which allows the hunter-gatherer tribes to travel long distances comfortably, and requires the construction of only a simple, inexpensive and temporary dwelling for the few activities that cannot be carried out comfortably out-of-doors. These natural suits are, for the Ihalmiut, the perfect house.

In areas more hospitable to us naked humans (the tropics), the few gatherer-hunter peoples that have not been exterminated by Agricultural Man build only temporary structures and abandon them as their communities migrate across their hunting and gathering range. They lead the most leisurely lives of any humans on the planet, spending most of their lives 'outside' and hoarding nothing.
Actually, the proposal comes here:
So I'd like to propose a collaboration: Let's create, together, the Wearable Home. The three steps in doing so are:
  1. 1. Develop a complete specification for the Wearable Home -- what it would have to be able to do.
  2. Research current and evolving technologies that meet these specifications.
  3. Design it.

Here's a very incomplete start to the specification:
  • It would have to be comfortable and allow full freedom of movement in any weather conditions
  • It would have to be, if not fashionable, at least not ridiculous-looking
  • It would have to incorporate the portable communication, information and entertainment technologies that we now take for granted, built-in, without having to carry around bulky or heavy 'peripherals'
  • It would have to allow us to see and function in the dark, using either built-in lighting or some other optical technology
  • It would have to be either easy to clean or keep clean, or self-cleaning
  • It would have to be comfortable enough to sleep in, ideally without the need for bedding
  • It would have to be customizable both stylistically (we don't all want to look the same) and functionally (e.g. temperature could be regulated to personal preferences)
  • It would not replace the need for a place to store and cook food, but would obviate the need for every other room in the modern 'single family home' except the kitchen and (probably) the bathroom
I like it. Of course that should exist. It should be an option at least. A typical single-family home weighs around 150 tons. Seems a little excessive that that's the default way of living. Not to mention that it isn't mobile, so I'll be out of my shell when I'm everywhere else.

Imagine that - a suit that would allow me to live comfortably outside anywhere on Earth, from the arctic to the tropics. Of course I'd expect some fancy technology to be involved. It would need to keep me warm, or cool me down. It would need to be wired for communication. It would need to store power for these things.

It would be nice if one could feel free to explore the world without having to have scheduled a $100 hotel room every night, and without always having to get "back" to somewhere.

I have a hard time imagining having no other home, but I'd like to have it as an option at least.

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31 Jan 2006 @ 17:17 by jmarc : you might as well
throw some interchangeable wheels, skis or propellers on the shoes and get rid of the automobile too. Maybe a propeller on the hat for flight...  

31 Jan 2006 @ 17:19 by ISTVAN @ : Is home a necessity or only a custom?
This, indeed is not only an interesting idea, but in the future may become practical and may become a necessity to survive comfortably.
The technology In a large part already exists or being experimented with. Materials, such as airogel,fuelcells, clothing made of nanotubes, not only make it possible to create such clothing, but it already exists as space suites. Wearable computers and wireless phones already exist.
So what is preventing such a lifestyle possible?
Two main obstacles here come to mind. One is a social problem, another is psychological.
The social problem: The infrastructure of most current societies does not support homelessness as a way of life on a user friendly way. To make it work society would have to be restructured where public access to eatery, as peoples cafeterias, self cooking kitchens would have to be made available. (someone once calculated the waste of energy to maintain our individual home based kitchens is so inefficient and wasteful that much of the energy problems could be solved by having community kitchens. Would you be ready to give up your cooking treasures and recepies ?
There would have to be public facilities built for personal hygiene and toiletry, public bathrooms would have to be on possibly every corner( recycled poop would have to be made popular).
Public swimming and bathing facilities in many places in Europe already exist, these would have to be built possibly close to public parks, combined with gym and recreational centers. These facilities would have to be open 24hrs 7days.
Shopping malls could be easily converted/designed for public gathering centers.
Run your imagination to envision such places.
Hotels and motels would have to be made available for romantic or special occasions of gathering for couples and families to be alone with each other as desired.( to some extent this is already the case, but only for a few who can afford it.
The psychological problem. This might be the biggest obstacle.
Here we would have to consider the questions and meanings of freedom privacy, ownership, responsibility and a number of states of mind that prevents people to be able to truly communicate and share that which rightfully belongs to all, instead of only certain individuals.
One would certainly have to consider and accept the Earth as one's true physical home shared with all living or nonliving phenomena that exists. For that to happen one would have to transcend all ideas of belonging to nation states, groups of any designations that indicate any exclusivity,over others.
On this subject could be gained more knowledge by studying perhaps the life's of the homeless of the west, the wondering monks of the east, and certainly the still surviving life's and philosophy of indigenous peoples.
The present forms of competitive social structures not only not user friendly toward the evolution of consciousness, but barriers. The socially accepted practices of hoarding and winner takes all attitudes must be healed as they condone and lead to real mental illness. If you are only confused you are lucky. You have not yet reached the state of insanity of the power hungry politicians, the religious fanatics,
the sociopaths, and the super rich.


31 Jan 2006 @ 17:30 by Joel Sax @ : Wearable Home
I like that you use the image of an Arab. The traditional suit has always impressed me as an excellent adaptation to the desert environment: the white cloth reflects sunlight, it protects against buffetings by sandstorms (you can pull the cloth over your face when the siroccos roil up), and the looseness allows for the circulation of cool air.

Best of all, it is low tech!  

31 Jan 2006 @ 19:35 by jobrown : Ming, I love your .....
....basic concept a lot! : ).... MILLIONS of us -Spiritual Beings, while having this HUMAN experience-adventure- have understood instinctively this already and HAVE STARTED our Journey Back Home to ONESS > UNITY WITH ALL LIFE > WHOLENESS > "Holy/ness" !.... We DO NOT do it by contiung to implement strictly/only NEWTONIAN Physics and /or Freud'ian Psychology and such!.... No, we follow our Inner PROMTINGS -also called- PRIORITIES!.... We recognize when our Soul whispers and demands a new less intrusive life idea and we accept it and start implementing it, the first step usually is to start looking for how to be selfsufficent, ways to practice what is called Sustainable Living, co-housing options etc, etc !.... A person/Mind/ Soul, who sees what the Establishemnt represents as the very the highest of our evolution and ingenuity!... No. faaar from it!... Indeed 180 degrees in opposite direction and as far away as possible!.... that's where we find ever more ideas/answers how to implement your basic concept!...

Istvan is absolutely right in what he says! Joel Sax is also on the right track... This track goes all the way to the most far away Galaxies!... beginning with what you describe, Ming and from there on.... We won't reach those either with following Newton and /or Freud!!!.... do we???... Who feels compelled to respond that and explain that as a viable means, eh? ; )... ( I certainly, myself, wouldn't fall into that trap! )

This subject, Ming, is too big to get really any real "answers" here....It demands a Weekend Workshop!.... If you arrange that, I'll be there and talk and brainstorm with the rest of us who are interested enough to come and join it! : )  

31 Jan 2006 @ 20:32 by judih : There should be a competition
Imagine setting the most creative minds to work on devising a wearable home. I love the points suggested: comfort, mobility, built-ins, cleaning, individual design or customized styles. No kitchen built-in? Well, it would be hard to stir-fry while sleeping. But perhaps someone could come up with emergency ration storage.

Brilliant concept.  

31 Jan 2006 @ 22:46 by ming : Wearable Homes
The concept and the quotes at the top is from Dave Pollard. Just to make that clear. But I think it is a very stimulating idea.

Think, for example, that a main reason we feel over-populated is that we insist on big spaces and lots of stuff that make up our private spaces, even if we don't reside in them a lot of the time. And even when we're in our houses, they're still mostly empty. So, if we add things up differently, if you really need a lot of space sometimes, that shouldn't be a problem, if it isn't all wasted with empty rooms.

A reason for going for it could be that we might feel at home in many more places, and perceive it as if we have MORE space, rather than less. If I can sleep and cook and take a shower in more places, including interesting and attractive spaces, that might open up more possibilities.

Yes, the biggest barriers would be psychological. It is kind of very nice to come back home and see that my rooms are still exactly like I left them, and my books are still on the bookshelves. I'm not sure if I could let go of that.

But if we could, things might get turned around in funny ways. Being homeless could be more elite, more attractive, than having to stay stuck in a residence. Like, well-equipped nomads would be like jetsetters or explorers, and stationary people in houses are those with psychological problems, or those who can't afford the cool equipment.  

1 Feb 2006 @ 04:36 by jobrown : ALL
People of HIGHER than Genius frequency DO live -more or less- nothing but NOMADIC life/styles!!!.... and mind you that the consciousness level where yiu find the Mainstream/Establishment is the very lowest consciousness level! That is why they NEED these BIG homes, even if they have multiple ones!...none of them is of the Model 'SUSTAINABLE'... they KNOW there is "Something to this.... this Nomadic "THANNNG" -they just don't WHAT it is!.... But it is the HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS /frequency of Cosmic Energy, hence creativity that goes with it... that is so attractive to theses guys -besides showing off that they can monetarily AFFORD!!!... Then again, make no mistake, IF there was NOTHING but loss of energy in such a way. they wouldn't "show off", but save their money for other energy boosting things! THEIR SCARSEST thing in life IS LIFE ENERGY!!!....  

1 Feb 2006 @ 08:22 by zona : Visions of Emancipation
I would reccomend the Books,
The Golden Age
The Phoenix Exultant
The Golden Transcendence by John C. Wright
As examples of how even the most high tech culture can Become a cage to the soul. How the power-mongers can prosper and control even in Ages of apparent freedom, and how the Journey of the Human Soul finds it's way, even in the darkness far from the Light of society and false Oness. These books show the seed's of humanity's Present carried to fantastic Heights, and shows that our Goals are only one part technology/ability, and one part wisdom/UnBound Light.

Self-sustaining suits are mentioned within, suits that could abide in the sun's core are mentioned, but this idea is only one component, one step, in a wHoly Revolution.  

1 Feb 2006 @ 19:37 by vaxen : technology...
actually means 'the study of techniques.' teknos logia is no end all but rather the beginning of a true ordering out of the multidimentional chaos that life offers to us for review and choice...

having lived form many years with the Beduin of the Sinai peninsula, Egypt, i found their way of life to be closest to that suggested in the article. compressing that into a single, usable, strategy is a challenge indeed. status quo, of any sort, is always so 'limiting.' given the present course, or dramatization of what has already happened before, that humanity per se seems to be directing itself towards why in a few short years the idea may be forced upon us all...

building codes? yeah, freedom is a concept and that's where commerce law comes in...  

2 Feb 2006 @ 03:51 by Stardream @ : Wearable Home
Maybe a home made from a similar material that those space blankets are made from would be good, its light and keeps the heat in but also reflects, so could be adapted for climatic conditions whether hot or cold by simply reversing it. Certainly some fun could be had designing it.  

2 Feb 2006 @ 11:13 by lugon @ : segmented market
We could have different clothes - for different weather ranges. Just keep a summer skin somewhere, or buy one. A lock in a train-station, perhaps. Not quite there, but almost. I remember I heard some (northern) Americans "do Europe" - by train, a full month or two with their luggage. Maybe those folks are near to the concept we're looking for. Just a step or two away?  

2 Feb 2006 @ 19:26 by ming : Vacation home
Hm, yeah, one way of launching it could be as a cheap way of going on vacation. No need to look for cheap hotels, just wear everything you need. Somebody who goes on a Eurorail tour of Europe would look for youth hostels, at maybe $20 or $30 per night. But it might be even more attractive if they didn't have to.

Of course, it wouldn't work unless there's some kind of support infrastructure for it. Just like you couldn't drive around in a mobile home if there weren't places to park it, places to empty your waste and fill up with fresh water and electricity.  

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