Brain Upload

Once Johnny has installed his motion detector on the door, the brain upload can begin.

3. Building it

Johnny starts by opening his briefcase and removing various components, which he connects together into the complete upload system. Some of the parts are disguised, and the whole sequence is similar to an assassin in a thriller film assembling a gun out of harmless looking pieces.


It looks strange today to see a computer system with so many external devices connected by cables. We’ve become accustomed to one piece computing devices with integrated functionality, and keyboards, mice, cameras, printers, and headphones that connect wirelessly.

Cables and other connections are not always considered as interfaces, but “all parts of a thing which enable its use” is the definition according to Chris. In the early to mid 1990s most computer user were well aware of the potential for confusion and frustration in such interfaces. A personal computer could have connections to monitor, keyboard, mouse, modem, CD drive, and joystick – and every single device would use a different type of cable. USB, while not perfect, is one of the greatest ever improvements in user interfaces. Continue reading

Mondoshawan Thrusters


If you haven’t been following it, there’s been some great discussion in the comments about my critique of the Mondoshawan flight interface. Clayton and Phil raised some great points and the discussion necessitates understanding the apparent capabilities of the actuators, i.e. thrusters. So here are some images for reference.


The capabilities may be fairly limited. The only evidence we have that the thrusters move at all are from early in the film. When the ship has to fight the gravity of a planet, they splay out like the ribs of an umbrella. Otherwise, in space we never see them move.

What’s worse is that the actual maneuverability of the ship seems minimal. When the ship is attacked by Mangalores, it doesn’t even turn to try and evade.

Most of the time interaction designers don’t have the opportunity to redesign actuators, only controls and displays. If we presume that the Mondoshawan thrusters can only splay from the ship’s axis, how would this change the fit of the controls?