I vant to be alone

In our fast-moving, email-pinging, mobile-phone-ringing world, privacy is a hard thing to come by. For those times when you desperately need to shut the world out, hie thee to an Ocula — the ultimate in personal-boundaries technology! As the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue describes it:

This private relaxation theater is handmade of fiberglass and integrates advanced audio, visual, seating, and environment technologies, as well as your choice of Macintosh or PC computer, to create a space that allows you to relax completely. The Oculas has an electronic door that closes silently at a touch, coccooning a sitter inside the well-lit interior, which is upholste red with leather seating for comfort and completely ventilated for continual airflow that prevents stale air without compromising external noise reduction. An electronic controller allows the user to adjust the light through a complete spectrum of hues and brightness levels for optimal reading, video-watching, or relaxation and sleeping.

Only $45,000 apiece, earthlings. The mind boggles at the potential applications. Rather than have cubicles at work, wouldn’t it rock to have your office filled with these things? Then every morning everyone shows up, says hello, grabs a coffee — and seals themselves into an egg. Your company would look like one of the breeding-ground scenes from Alien. And man, I think about some of the programmers I know … if you could instal some sort of built-in bathroom technology and a feeding-tube apparatus, hell, they’d sit there coding and wouldn’t come out for a week.

(Thanks to the Book of Joe for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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