Ming the Mechanic
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Tuesday, January 31, 2006day link 

 The Wearable Home
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.
[ | 2006-01-31 13:08 | 9 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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