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Wireless Networking Toys Hardware

Surfing on a Surfboard 198

Posted by michael
from the make-sure-ankle-strap-is-securely-fastened dept.
JamesD_UK writes "The BBC is running an article about a surfboard developed by Intel with an embedded, solar powered, wifi capable, laptop with web cam attached. It features a 1.7GHz processor and a 80GB hard drive. The camera is able to create videos and transmit them through an access point located on the beach. Jools Matthews of Gulfstream surfboards designed the board itself and pro surfer Duncan Scot helped with the design of the board to make sure that the board still performed well with the extra weight. The board debuts at the Gold Coast Ocean Festival 2004 from 18 to 20 June at Croyde beach in North Devon."
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Surfing on a Surfboard

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  • by Mz6 (741941) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:20AM (#9462658) Journal
    In related news, Google reports a skyrocket in searches for the term "Learn how to surf", oddly enough the searches seem to be coming from the surfboard itself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:20AM (#9462660)
    For the Flashless people out there, a link to the actual content of the Gold Coast Ocean Festival 2004 [goldcoastoceanfest.co.uk] site. I really don't know if you want to see it though, as you'll end up seeing what seem to be Intel engineers in wet suits. That page still has some flash, but at least you can access most everything without it.
    • you'll end up seeing what seem to be Intel engineers in wet suits

      I think this project was most likely used as an excuse by a bunch of Intel Engineer surfers to get out of the office and go surfing while getting paid. Hey, who wouldn't like that job?

  • Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djhankb (254226) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:20AM (#9462663) Homepage
    This should be filed in the "What will they think of next" category.

    Interesting idea, but I'm not sure of the real-world application besides the coolness/geekness factor ;-)

    -Henry

    • by doodlelogic (773522) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:37AM (#9462867)
      Seems to be a very good testing ground for durabl touch screen displays. Sun, sand, water and salt. Gotta be more fun than testing for resistance to these things in a lab.

      I'd laugh if it didn't work when they got it out of the water though!
      • Ah, the many (and strange) interconnections within our lives; your last statement reminded me of a bit of trivia I came across just this week at The Jargon Dictionary in the definition of Kluge [astrian.net] From the def:

        "...Other sources report that `kluge' was common Navy slang in the WWII era for any piece of electronics that worked well on shore but consistently failed at sea."

        I guess if it didn't work on shore (but worked well in the water) they'd have to call it an "Egulk"...

    • by NineNine (235196) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:50AM (#9462983)
      I think that this should be filed in the "Stupid shit that should never have existed" category.
      • I couldn't agree more. Surfing for porn in public does not mix well with wearing those thin nylon surf trunks.
  • Other than PR value? When do I get my wi-fi enabled rollerblades and sandals? I mean, after all, God forbid any of us be off the grid for more than a microsecond.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I mean, after all, God forbid any of us be off the grid for more than a microsecond.

      The Matrix has you
    • God forbid any of us be off the grid for more than a microsecond.

      Well, obviously you've never surfed. I'd love to have one of these while sitting out there waiting for my turn to catch a wave.

      • You're correct; I've never surfed. By I do bike and do other outdoor stuff regularly, and I do it to get away from things for a while. Then again, to each his own.
      • Well, I've surfed quite a bit and I wouldn't want one for purposes of dealing with the boredom of waiting for the next set. I like the solitude. One thing I don't want to see is embedded music players in these things. I like the sounds of the ocean and wouldn't want to be subjected to listening to other's surf boom boxes. I do admit there are some cool things that can be done with this, though.
      • If you're bored surfing then get youself a wakeboard and get pulled behind an internal combustion engine like God intended.

        Seriously though, I like surfing but I don't mind waiting for the wave and I surf somewhere where waves don't come too often (coastal GA). I'm not too good a surfer though (I live inland) and usually spend my time contemplating what I did wrong last time.
    • by Quimo (72752) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:50AM (#9462976)
      The purpose of this is to show that we have the technology to integrate (wirelessly) devices into smaller and more hazardous(to the computer) places. This was by no means considered a product (except for possible the surfing video industry.) This is just to get people thinking about what else they can enable that we couldnt before.
    • Absolutely not. Unless they're making "Revenge of the Nerds VII: Cowabunga".
    • Other than PR value?
      What if you were thirteen and had your arm bitten off by a shark? You're out there bleeding in the sea, with your remaining arm you can IM your friend and get them to call the ambulance for you so when you get to the beach it will already be there.

      Yeah, yeah, what now? :)

    • Well being a surfer for the last 20+ years I can see only one good use for this.

      The sea bottom at great breaks around the world changes very little over short perids of time. Granted tides and current move them around a bit at different times in the year but for the most part bottom features stay pretty much the same.

      Give a computer a good map of the bottom features, 2 floating buoys and a land locked marker to triangulate you could messure swell speed, size, and direction as they pass 1/2 mile out. Using
    • "God forbid any of us be off the grid for more than a microsecond."

      Lighten up, man. It's the digital equivalent of a helmet cam, not some indication that people are hopelessly addicted to the net.

      Anybody remember the days when news like this was supposed to be fun and exciting instead of everybody turning minimalist?
  • Surfing on a beach (Score:5, Informative)

    by cuvavu (111503) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#9462697)
    In Brighton (UK) you can surf on the beach with the free PierToPier [piertopier.net] wifi connection.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The water is so cold in Brighton that you'd better stay on the beach and surf virtually indeed ! ;)
  • Hopefully the rider can surf the web and surf a wave if he/she is more talented enough. Brings a new meaning to "Surf the Web" or, Surf surf the web?
  • by p4ul13 (560810) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#9462701) Homepage
    While some folks ask "why bother?", I proclaim "bitchin' case-mod dude!!"

  • by Goo.cc (687626) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:24AM (#9462706)
    "What's wrong dude?"

    "I was getting ready to catch this narly wave when my surfboard caught a Blue Screen Of Death."

    "Bogus!"
  • At the beach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SYSS Mouse (694626)
    I suppose while you are ar beach you are supposed to be away from your boss, work, geek collagues, and such. At least it is eco-friendly (solar powered).
  • new slogan? (Score:3, Funny)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:24AM (#9462711) Journal

    Dude! You're getting a centrino.

    • Speaking of our freind the Dell Dude, I'll bet this was his smoked-out idea...Picture, if you will, he and 4 freinds smoking weed when he says..

      "Dude, you know what's sweet? Surfing. You know what else? A Dell. You know what would be really cool? A Dell in a surfboard!! OH SWEET"

      And....scene.
  • I wonder what OS it runs? It's almost bedtime I'm just copying mp3s over to the mp3 player, no time to RTFA!

    Seriously though, this is cool, but what happens when the guy falls off the board and it smacks him in the head? All that extra weight has to transfer into some kind of force on impact. This kind of thing would feature better at a tech conference or display rather than a surfing comp up north (I live in Sydney).
  • by CompWerks (684874) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:25AM (#9462730)
    Is a recipe for disaster

    • My sole experience with English beaches consistes of Yarmouth - all I saw there were rocks and boulders and not many waves - I don't see how you could surf or even swim there...although they had a neat pier. July or August timeframe - I think the temperature may have reached 80 degrees F.

      Now that I live in Texas, I really do appreciate the European climate; it hit 103 degrees here a few weeks ago, and hovers in the 90s most days - what I wouldn't give for 80 degrees on a regular basis!
      • ...and Perth, Western Australia is way south of the Equator. If you want serious Australian temperatures, try Marble Bar, Pannawonica or Paraburdoo, all of which routinely hit and pass 50C (120F) in summer.

        Apparently, places like Sudan are hotter, but we have much better beaches, including the not-named-in-jest [arta.com.au] "Eighty Mile Beach [hdenis.com]" up near Broome [labyrinth.net.au]. And better waves. (-: And better tarts [broomecam.com] too. :-)
    • There goes my monitor tan!
  • Yet another... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blahlemon (638963)
    ...worthless application of technology. Will it help the surfers style? Will it calculate the odds of the next wave being the big one? Or will it just give a big boost to nude webcam surfing?

    A better application of technology would have been to put a micronized mp3 playing into the board so you could have your own sound track playing while barreling down a wave.
    • by javatips (66293) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:31AM (#9462804) Homepage
      A better application of technology would have been to put a micronized mp3 playing into the board so you could have your own sound track playing while barreling down a wave.

      That a good way to protect the sharks. When they hear Celine Dion comming from the surf board... They will not attack because you have bad taste.
    • Re:Yet another... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thaigan (197773)
      That would be a terrible application. I don't want to hear other's music. I want to hear the ocean and wind. When I need it, I have music in my head. Many times there's enough bad energy out there with all the attitudes; we don't need choice of music to add to all the tension that exists in most places.
  • to tunneling

    shoot the tube

    not to mention crashing and wipeout!

  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:29AM (#9462782) Homepage Journal
    This solves the problem I've had for years. How do I turn athletic, good-looking people into nerds? Once I do that, I can rule the world and get their women!
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:30AM (#9462789) Homepage Journal
    "ping flood"

    *glub* *glub* *glub*

  • "Dude, that last set was l33t. I'm stoked that we decided to DP by that wifi convention so the we could haxor their train."

    "yeah, their tube was way glassy...no dropped packets...so easy to shred"
  • by keoghp (457883)
    Daft idea. I think it will go down the tube. Or, failing that it it will /.ed (wiped out).

    By the way... is there a patent on it yet?
  • MS Toilet (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is right up there with the M$ toilet..

    infact probably even closer depending where you surf..;)

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=9293
  • To all those that are wondering what uses this has, the thing has an onboard webcam which can broadcast from the surfer's point of view riding the wave. Granted, the same thing could be done with the surfer holding a camera to shoot with, I could see the possibilities of some interesting footage from this board. Depending on configuration, being able to see the tube from the surf board level would be pretty cool all by itself. Is spending all that money to put all that equipment in a board practical? No
  • Dear god... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by antin (185674) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#9462852)
    I really wish someone at intel had anticipated all the lame jokes this is going to cause and killed the project before it began.

    Good PR I guess - although you would think that the time and effort that obviously went into this could have produced better results if directed elsewhere...
  • It's a good idea, it's going to start of all bulky, and in time it will be scaled down. Anyone that lives at a prime surf spot, as I did. J-Bay, would like this sort of technology. I could catch some waves and if the boss called or I got some work that needed attention, I could read what it was and then decide to spoil my perfect surf session.

    Surfing is something that you LOVE with a passion. Work sadly has to be done, and if I can avoid work by reading my mail and making choices out there on the backline
  • heat? tradition? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Creepy (93888) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:36AM (#9462855) Journal
    I was half expecting to find this thing was water cooled :P

    Intel has a history of supporting weird uses of their chips, like these [envador.com]
  • If the hard drive is constantly being moved a lot wouldnt it be in danger of being damaged?
  • The BBC is running an article about a surfboard developed by Intel with an embedded, solar powered, wifi capable, laptop with web cam attached. It features a 1.7GHz processor and a 80GB hard drive.

    Imagine a beowolf cluster of these...
  • while bouncing up and down in the waves, endless ocean in front of me, waiting for a big(ger) one... the last thing i would want is a laptop in front of me... but apart from that, there is other limitations that make this not just pointless, but actually stupid:

    1) it will be impossible to do anything while riding out in the waves. as any surfer knows, the waves, well, go up and down, and the surfboard is not exactly a stable surface. it would be impossible to see anything on the screen, let alone move a mo
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:39AM (#9462883)
    You dont want to get the Blue Wave of Death...
  • It seems like another prank like that portapotty with the internet in it...

    I mean come on, a dang surf board?
    -----
  • Photographer's dream (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrn121 (673604) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:42AM (#9462912) Homepage
    While I am not a professional photographer/videographer, I do know that photographing and videotaping surfing is largely restricted due to the problems related to having lots of expensive equipment in the water. Currently, a lot of the video/pictures you see of surfers are from land, and they aren't nearly as cool as the shots from the water, inside the tube.

    While most people seem to be passing this idea off, this really could lead to some cool photos/videos coming from the water. Granted, the technology would probably need a lot of tweaking. It may not seem all that worthwile of a product to develop, but I do think there is slightly more use to this than most people seem to be giving credit for.

    Plus, I am a geek, so I will probably be the one on those beaches trying to get onto the wireless networks that they are using.

    -mike

    • Embedding a wireless camera in the surfboard sounds interesting, as does the idea of a wireless camera attached to the surfer -- the PC just seems superfluous.

      Besides, Endless Summer has some great surf footage, including on-board footage, and that was done with film cameras in the 1960s.
    • While I am not a professional photographer/videographer, I do know that photographing and videotaping surfing is largely restricted due to the problems related to having lots of expensive equipment in the water. Currently, a lot of the video/pictures you see of surfers are from land, and they aren't nearly as cool as the shots from the water, inside the tube.

      Not to mention worrying about getting whacked in the head by either the nose of the board or the fin. Believe me, its not fun. Especially when you

  • Jools Matthews of Gulfstream surfboards designed the board itself and pro surfer Duncan Scot helped with the design of the board to make sure that the board still performed well with the extra weight. The board...

    The board board then board after the board, board. Well, the board board the board the board only if the board board the board the board.

    /the board
  • Something unique to good of ameri/aussie/hawaiian culture: Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore: "Charlie don't surf! " (Apocalypse Now) Try offshoring that !
  • Apache being installed in golden orb spider.
  • Tech support will never be the same...
  • When Keanu catches you with pirated MP3s:

    "I AM AN F..B..I.. AGENT!"
  • While I rather like the idea of War Surfing, there are not going to be too many free access-points on a beach.

    One nasty side-effect will be that ships are liable to become rather more paranoid about passing windsurfers. San Diego (there is a naval base there, right?) might even have to ban them from certain areas. Not my problem, but 'thanks Intel'. NOT.
  • by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Friday June 18, 2004 @10:54AM (#9463022) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that this is a good idea with all that equipment and a surfboard. I mean, wouldn't all that surfing wipeout that hard drive?

    - ba-da-boom!
  • Someone has invented a chocolate fireguard, along with a special line of condoms for geeks.
  • or anything else. Please.

    I still get to surf quite a bit, and I did rabidly while in college. For me at least, the whole purpose of surfing is to get away from life and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the ocean while still giving the adrenals a little workout.

    To me, an internet surfboard is completely antithetical to the whole sport. I have a hard time believing that if these collaborators were indeed a "pro" and a legit shaper, they would have nothing to do with this.

  • What's the point of this? I want to be in the water, watch the waves, enjoy other surfers' rides and get my own. Unless there's some serious satellite imaging that will let me see the sets coming, this will be completely useless on the water, and even then reading the conditions is a critical part of surfing. I don't think I'd give up that challenge.

    I do wear a watch, though (geek factor: it has a tide chart on it). Gotta get back home in time to get the kid to school...

  • And all you people were complaining about how lame the surfing lightsaber battle between obi-wan and anakin was going to be. Ha, in your face now! They'll be on centrino surfboards!
  • All this technology helps.....how?
  • I'd be holding the surfboard so I can get some classic pics of the meter maids in gold coast.
  • ...to have some stuff in the world that wasn't Wi-Fi capable with a built-in HD and streaming audio and video? Seriously. Enough already, people.
  • that Donatello the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle would "invent".
    But wasn't he every young geeks favorite turlte?
  • With this board, the camera is sitting right on the water. If the supposed benefit of this camera/board is to give people a feeling of what it's like to surf the world's best waves, yada yaya, it seems that the best perspective would be on the surfer's body, as close to the eyes as possible.

    This is an interesting stunt, but the best surfing photography is a form of artistic expression. I doubt very much that it will function well when limited to one camera position. Surfers and surf photographers will lik

  • You're going to need pretty good anti-glare technology for that, no? And I really worry about surfers out in the murky waters looking at porn.
  • All I can think about as far as this tech goes is Real Time Shark Attacks!

    This should be a big productivity enhancer for most corporations after the IT pit witnesses one of their buddies getting eaten off the Great Barrier Reef via a streaming webcast.

    Boss: "Congrats people, we've beat our release deadline, how about some of that paid vacation time?"

    Development team: "For the love of God, Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!"
  • Now I can Google up "how to repel sharks" and "how to bandage a half-eaten leg" and "*gurgle*gurgle*how to *gurgle*gurgle* swim"

    all the answers, right at my fingertips ...
  • 1) America's largest tree harvesting corporation announced they would be installing computers in trees to allow people to "log on". With a real log.

    2) Frito lay has announced they will begin to manufacture "computer chips", a new semiconducting snack to monitor your diet

    3) Western digital announces that their new line of "hard drives" will dispense viagra (or cialis, based on customer preference)

    4) Dragon announces a new line of "motherboard" which will actually reproduce and bear children

  • This has got to be one of the dumbest ideas ever. Anyone who actually surfs will realize that this is an idiotic idea and a contradiction to the peaceful and overall concept of surfing.

    I realize this may be marked as a troll, but the plain fact is that lots of people surf to get away from computers, cell phones, etc.
  • It works great until it gets wet.
  • Does Dave Letterman know about this yet? Perhaps he could do.... WIPEOUT CAM! ;-)

  • Who remembers this awesome idea?

    The MSN iLoo [com.com]

    Too bad it turned out to be a hoax [slashdot.org]

    I cant help but wondering the same thing...
  • to the term "floating-point."

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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