Tad Williams' Message Board

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'
-    Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

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#1 2013-10-13 07:30:09

Registered: 2013-10-13
Posts: 1

Question for Tad: Squeezers

Hey everyone,

This is a question directly to Mr Williams but if anyone can answer, that'd be great. I haven't been able to work out a way to contact him directly, but maybe he likes it that way, and fair enough too :)

Synopsis: I want to make something very similar to net squeezers, and I was hoping Tad could fill in more details of how he imagined them working while he was writing the books.

My enquiry is best addressed to Tad directly:

I'm a hacker/tinkerer messing with VR and Oculus Rift, and I have been working my way through Otherland on account of it being on the 'Oculus Required Reading List'. I have to say I'm enjoying it very much, so cheers for writing 'em.

While I was reading, the description of the squeezers reminded me very much of the Razer Hydra, which I've been doing some work with, and I'd quite like to have a go at making some. Squeezers, that is. As a general purpose input device for computing in an immersive virtual environment.

So, what I wondered was this:
How fleshed out was your vision of the squeezers while writing Otherland? Specifically:
- Would you be able to expand on how you thought they might look or work?
- What kind of input could they provide? Is it the equivalent of a while keyboard?
- Does it have actual buttons or is it just sort of a smooth, grip-sensitive blob? Or something else?
- Reading the books, clearly they can be used for typing. Do they do other things that aren't like a keyboard at all?
- Is typing chorded, like a braille machine or stenograph?
- Is it (a pair of squeezers) gestural? If so, are the gestures also part of the wavey, motion-based input system that people use to construct VR environments? Or can you only do that if you have something better than squeezers?

If such details never existed, I understand :) Any extra info you (or anyone) could provide would help me decide if the concept could fly as an effective input device.

What with Sixense STEM coming out next year, I feel confident that I could execute a potential design as a STEM module with high-quality results. Being able to combine low-latency gestural controls with detailed, per-finger input (like a keyboard or stenograph) sounds like quite a viable and interesting input method to experiment with in early days of VR development.



#2 2013-10-15 14:01:22

From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32660

Re: Question for Tad: Squeezers

I can't promise that Tad will see this, but I can try to point Tad here if I catch him online. Though he's rarely around for more than one post, sooo...

And even if he sees it, I'm not sure he will have much of an answer. It's been a while since he's written Otherland, and he might not remember all the details.

Basically, I'm Prince Josua in jeans and sneakers, or a different flavor of Renie Sulaweyo.
- Tad

Master of Gardening, Mistress of Kingdom Plantae, Defender of the Seedlings, Guardian of Root and Bough
Scrollbearer and offerer of some very useful opinions


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