Web Ramps: Wheelchair Ramps THROUGH Cyberspace, not merely in cyberspace.

For many who are confined to their homes, hospitals, or wheelchairs, Christmas shopping can be a nightmare. Even those who are still mobile, such as the growing population of elderly, often have great difficulty fighting their way though the large Christmas crowds.

But now, thanks to Web Ramps, they're able to shop vicariously on the Internet. No, not eCommerce. A real outing, in the real world, tunneling THROUGH cyberspace, not merely landing in cyberspace.

Mrs. Tang, an elderly woman who recently suffered a stroke, is barely able to walk around her apartment, let alone walk through the crowded shopping malls in search of the perfect gold necklace for her daughter, Betty. Yet because of Web Ramps, she can now walk briskly through the mall, and quickly visit various jewellery stores along the way. Her new cyberbody can run a marathon in less than 3 hours, and climb 20 or 30 flights of stairs without getting tired. Thanks to the Internet, she's able to be part of Web Ramps, and live, even if only briefly, inside the body of a young volunteer surrogate shopper. Surrogate shoppers are equipped with Cybernetic Senses, such as the EyeTap (TM) that link to the Internet. With wireless communications, Web Ramps are like wheelchair ramps THROUGH (not merely in) cyberspace.

Web Ramps will also stimulate the economy. A large number of elderly persons who have accumulated a great deal of wealth throughout their lives will now be able to spend some of that money, thanks to Web Ramps. And that will greatly stimulate the economy.

Web Ramps is a project of University of Toronto, in collaboration with the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, and the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, and is funded, in part, by the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council. For more information, see http://eyetap.org/webramps.htm as well as the book "CYBORG: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer" ISBN: 0385658257 available from www.Chapters.ca

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Field trials, 2002 December 24th