"Who would've thought five years ago that you could ask your phone a question and get an answer?" said Burke.
In Burke's mind's eye, future home dwellers will talk to their houses and the houses will talk back.
Tell your house to turn up the heat, and the house might say, "It will be 71 degrees in five minutes," or "Your furnace filter needs changing."
-"Telehealth Pilot." The higher the Internet bandwidth, the easier for physicians from their offices to diagnose patients at home, said Steve Fennel, director of medical informatics at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"It's already being done," Fennel said, "but not to the extent it could be."
Questions surrounding the costs and insurance coverage of office-to-home examinations are unsettled, and many doctors would insist on face-to-face visits regardless of the convenience the technology offers patients.
But for willing physicians, fiber connections would carry remote images so sharp, "you can see all the little follicles," Fennel said.
-"Online Gaming Development." Video game vendors, developers and players "will be attracted to the availability of reasonably priced high-speed fiber (and) the presence of creative talent in the community," the mayors' playbook predicts.
Would legions of gamers locate here just to perfect their skills at "Call of Duty"?
"The experts tell me yes," Burke said.
Several ideas to attract innovators and entrepreneurs already are off the launch pad.
Local leaders, along with Deacon of KC Digital Drive, have sat in on three virtual meetings to chat technology with officials from Singapore, Moscow and other cities. Using high-bandwidth "TelePresence Rooms" developed by Cisco, all painted the same color and wired with high-resolution screens, they say audio lag time vanishes and they feel that everyone is at the same table.
At the Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a weekly program called "1 Million Cups" brings together dozens of wannabe entrepreneurs, business advisors and self-proclaimed "hackers" (the good kind, honest) to present and comment on new ideas.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City - having secured a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, plus help from the state of Missouri and area businesses - soon will take applications for a "Digital Sandbox" that would help techies develop and test their ideas.
"All innovators know the point called the Valley of Death, where they have an idea but it can't be proven to work," said Maria Meyers of the UM-Kansas City Innovation Center. "Then it's not going to go anywhere."
In the Digital Sandbox, they can present their ideas, "and if it's a strong candidate ... we'll put around that idea the right people and talent to move it forward," Myers said.
At EyeVerify, engineer Jeremy Paben held his smartphone close to his right eye and snapped a photo of the veins.
The screen on his phone in seconds flashed: Verified!
The startup company doesn't need Google Fiber to do what Paben's phone just did. But EyeVerify, founded in January, recently moved into the KC Startup Village so its team of four "could be among like-minded people trying to advance the ball," said founder Toby Rush.
Rather than cling to trade secrets, the young entrepreneurs of the village share tips and trade contacts.
EyeVerify, which uses digital biometrics to confirm a user's identity, already has discussed a potential partnership with the new caddy-corner tenant, FormZapper.
FormZapper's founder, Andy Kallenbach, foresees a day when everyone can fill out secured documents, such as medical histories, online via FormZapper.com. Might a retinal scan be worked into the most confidential of documents traveling the Web?
"It helps for us to share information," said Mike Farmer of the startup upstairs, Leap2, which is developing software to speed mobile Web searches. "To do this you have to go through a number of different domains - financing, graphic design, marketing. It helps to have people around you who can say, 'Been there, done that.' "
A Colorado musician, Synthia Payne, said she was eyeing a move to the Startup Village in the coming weeks. Gigabit hookups would allow Payne to roll out an online subscription service for groups to participate in live music sessions without leaving their homes, she said.
"At this point, I've got to be in Kansas City do that," said Payne. She has contacted Barreth to inquire about his free Home for Hackers.
Just a week into his housing offer, Barreth was learning more about the cost of it. An electrician gazed into the breaker box in the basement to shoot Barreth a bid for bringing the house's circuitry up to the 100 amperes needed to juice the laptops.
"That's nothing compared to the foundation work," Barreth said.
Life is full of risk in KC Startup Village. No government money or tax breaks go to businesses for locating there.
To ease the strains, the startup LocalRuckus - connecting Web users to area events and attractions - keeps the office refrigerator packed with cheap beer.
The village "is almost a fraternity ... very much its own support system," said LocalRuckus co-founder Adam Arredondo, 28. "I'm pumped when Andy (Kallenbach, of FormZapper,) makes a sale."
"Every one of us," he grinned, "knows how freaking impossible all this is."
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