It all started with John Young. Back in April (of 2009 – who knows how long this will last) I saw some photos on his Flickrstream and a blog entry that made me grin and then started me thinking. “Hmm, what about a literal QR Code Toynbee tile? A symbol that encodes a URL – when that URL is accessed, you get a human-readable Toynbee tile?” Not only would it be a cool bauble, it would also bring together a couple threads I’ve been thinking about – the almost unnoticed human extension via gadgets that’s happening ever more quickly and the slightly slower machine info embedding that’s rolling out here and there. An aside – as an illustration of machine extension – without looking at your cell phone, recite the phone numbers of three friends from memory.

For those of you who are baffled by all the techo-gibberish above, here’s the deal.

I plan on making (with the help of Chris at eagleapex) some linoleum QR code tiles that look like this:

mtoynbeecom_lgThe plan is to then embed them in road surfaces just like other Toynbee tiles/road art. A curious passerby could point her smartphone/tricorder at the code, read it and be taken to the home page of this site, where she’d be shown a random picture of a more-or-less human readable tile. It will be a cool easter egg in the landscape and in years to come will, I hope, give our robot overlords a good laugh.

Next stop – Jupiter! (A scary bit of synchronicity – as I write this line, The Blue Danube Waltz is playing on the classical stream I listen to while working.)

About me – you can see more things I’m interested in on my blog; you can email me at dr.hypercube-at-gmail-dot-com.

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