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October 16, 2008

Let me ride in your top-secret batmobile van?

October 15. Day 107.

From the outside, it looks like any other van. White, a little bigger than average, but otherwise totally nondescript. The only giveway that it might be tfc (totally fucking cool) are the deeply tinted windows.

Inside: millions dollars of technology that's so new it's still just a possibility. There's nothing else like this van on the planet. And I was about to go for a joyride.

As it happens, Mr. A has a friend who knows a friend who drives such a van. So one asking led to another, and yesterday morning at 9:25, I found myself on an empty driveway behind an industrial complex, where the van was waiting. I took a seat in the soft leather seat behind the driver and glanced out the darkened window, feeling invisible.

A few minutes later, the specialist stepped in -- one of a handful of people on the planet who know how to operate the van's controls. He fired up a panel of computers and sensors and gadgets, and we were off.

We circled around the neighborhood and hit the highway, collecting data and testing its features. He explained what was going on using some acronyms I didn't know, and eventually I started vaguely processing the streaming data on the various screens.

The industry? I can't say if it's part of a nonprofit research institute, commercial enterprise or government agency.

The project? I am sworn to secrecy, but it's something that will help people one day.

Gained: Access, baby!
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