Inventing the Future

By ABIGAIL JONES  |  May 13, 2009

Perhaps that's the greater point.

In true Media Lab fashion, the SNIF Tag may be the precursor to a technology that lets you monitor who your teenagers are with, whether there's smoke in the air, and whether they're the ones inhaling it. Or maybe we'll start monitoring ourselves.

Future incarnations of the SNIF Tag could help you remember whom you met at last week's conference, or tell you that there, on the other side of CVS, is the best friend you haven't seen in 20 years. The limits of its application have yet to be determined.

More certain: whether for the benefit of video-game fans or even dogs, the students enrolled at the Media Lab will continue their stealth-humanity work, tinkering and toying — and rewriting the definition of "mad scientist" with every new collar and thrust of a guitar.

Abigail Jones is a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached at

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