Thursday, September 28, 2006



The conference begins tomorrow - and as a taster we have this photo taken from an airplane by Elly Clarke.

See Abstracts

The New Mobility Agenda

I think this self-organizing collaborative network called The New Mobility Agenda will be a useful site to keep an eye on. This network seeks to have an impact on transport-related public policy in cities in the USA and across the world.

Mimi Sheller has also recently been invited to serve on the International Advisory Board, and Mimi is also affiliated with CeMoRe - naturally deserves a link on this site!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Second-fastest sports car runs on batteries

CNet News reports on Second-fastest sports car runs on batteries how electric cars are far superior to traditional petrol/gas cars in performance and fuel efficiency - yet the problem/issue is still the cost - they are too expensive for the average car buyer:

'"You can't make cheap electric cars. You can now make good ones, but not cheap ones," he said. "While everyone wants efficiency, no one wants to pay for it. It's like selling safety...You've got to offer your customers more than energy efficiency."'

Yet how long will it be until the large commercial manufacturers take interest - after peak oil??

Technology Trends

Two interesting points to comment on from Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends :

- 25 September 2006: Run, elephant, run!

You know that elephants can weigh several tons and move at 15 miles per hour (25 kph). But do they really run? And can they help us to design and build better walking robots? John Hutchinson, who works for the Royal Veterinary College in the UK, thinks so and wants to prove it. He has equipped elephants in UK zoos with sensors and is recording their movements with six infrared motion analysis cameras, each taking 240 pictures per second. But don't think he just wants to improve animal welfare. He also trying to help us -- who have legs and feet similar to elephants -- to early identify arthritis. But read more...

- 20 September 2006: Implantable wireless biosensors

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center are developing implantable living chips to monitor patients wirelessly and in real time. These tiny devices will integrate living cells with electronics to become literally 'living chips.' They could be used in a few years to better test new drugs or to control other implanted devices, such as an insulin pump, to detect patients' changes and react to them. But read more...


Smartmobs links to an article from The Economist titled 'From hypertext to hypervideo' that writes:

"the rise of the web transformed hypertext,which allows readers to click on a word in one document and be transported to another,from an obscure concept in computer science to a familiar, everyday technology. Might hypervideo—which lets viewers click on a moving image to call up a related clip—be on the verge of a similar transformation? This nascent development, also called video-hyperlinking, makes it easy to link together segments of online video in novel ways".Further,"as the amount of video available online increases, so do the possibilities for linking clips together. Someone watching a documentary about the 20th century, for example, could click on the face of John F. Kennedy and be directed to newsreel footage of him. Further clicks might lead to the trailer for “Thirteen Days”, a film about the Cuban missile crisis, to an interview with protagonist-actor Bruce Greenwood, and to a film promoting tourism in Hollywood. Just as hyperlinking disrupts the traditional structures of written text, the same is true of video.But sometimes a hyperlinked structure makes more sense than a linear narrative.

Researchers at the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany, for example, have developed a system called ADIVI (a name derived from “add digital information to video”). Siemens, an engineering firm, plans to use it to enhance online-video technical manuals, so that technicians can click on a particular component or system to summon up more detailed video clips. The researchers call this “telescoping”. In contrast, at, a website that is experimenting with hypervideo, the term “drilling” is used to describe the ability to click on a talking head during a sound bite to summon an entire interview. Such disagreements over terminology emphasise just how new the technology is. Clickable areas in video clips, for example, are variously called tracked objects, hotspots, and tagged pixels. Another area of uncertainty is the etiquette of linking to other people's clips. Hypervideo can either redirect viewers to another site and automatically start a clip on that site at a desired scene, or display video from elsewhere within their own websites. This practice, known as “hotlinking”, is controversial, since the owner of the clip that is linked to may not be properly credited".

The world of 'Ubiq' is getting closer with developments in hyperlinking... blogjets please?

Killer bear

A teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths...

...Of trout, that is. State officials say a teddy bear dropped into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish:

'Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear — who was dressed in yellow raincoat and hat — is believed to be the first stuffed bear to cause fatalities at the facility.' Read full report here

Okay, this isn't strictly 'new mobilities', I was just seeing if anyone was awake...

Digital Planet September 25 2006

This week's Digital Planet visits the Mobile Content World Conference and Exhibition in London:

'Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson try out the latest multiplayer mobile games but can the graphics of the desktop really work on your handset? And when it comes to picture quality will the same be true of mobile TV? Gareth Mitchell explores the untapped market of the over fifty-fives. Many industrialised countries will soon have more elderly people than teenagers, but has the technology industry realised this? To find out listen here

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Future of Border Security takes a look at technologies for border security in their piece 'Firms Vie to Provide the Future of Border Security' which discusses how 'The Department of Homeland Security is expected within days to name a winner in a competition that could permanently change the way the United States conducts surveillance, apprehension and detention operations along its northern and southern boundaries.'

The proposals include:

- Northrop Grumman Corp: the sky above the Rio Grande would be thick with drones.

- Cellphone maker Ericsson Inc: would focus instead on giving Border Patrol agents wireless devices capable of receiving live video.

- Boeing Co: would build high-tech towers, lining the borders with 1,800 of them.

- Lockheed Martin Corp: blimps are a big part of the solution.

- Raytheon Co: the key is letting agents watch incidents unfold on Google Earth.

Now this admits a cross-over from military to civil 'space': "Overall, the proposals lean heavily on technology developed for the battlefield. "We're transferring things that are military today into a civil implementation," said Bruce Walker, a Northrop Grumman vice president who has led the California company's efforts"

The battlefied lines are blurring...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Airport security meets science fiction

This CNet news post 'Airport security meets science fiction' looks at the latest technologies in airport security, such as:

'A passenger walks up and stands on a platform. That underlying platform emits a radio frequency signal into the traveler's shoes, checking for explosive molecules. The passenger also presses a button in front of him, which takes a sample of finger oil and analyzes it for bomb residues within seconds. An iris and fingerprint scanner verifies the person's identity.

Tying all these sensors and X-rays together is a communication protocol GE hopes to establish as a standard in airport security.

GE created an algorithm called Detection Systems Fusion Protocol (DSFP), which calculates the probability of threat detection. The system would show a "threat probability meter," which estimates the likelihood of a threat or false positive for security officials.'

Enhanced movement and mobility with greater security efficiency - looks like the plan.

In 2026 You'll Own a Car That Can't Crash

Popular Science has an insightful article titled 'In 2026 You'll Own a Car That Can't Crash' that looks into the possibility of an accident-free future emerging in car transport through cutting-edge technologies:

'The key to the crash-free future is vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V. Some advances that would make V2V possible are already on the way. Increasingly sophisticated GPS will soon allow you to pinpoint your vehicle’s precise location at any given moment, and stability-control systems that track your car’s speed and direction are even now feeding such information to onboard computers. The primary remaining challenge is finding the means to communicate that data to cars in your projected path.

To encourage the development of V2V, the Federal Communications Commission has cleared the 5.9-gigahertz band for dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) among cars, other cars, and roadside transceivers. Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Laboratory—which helped build the autonomous VW Touareg that won last year’s Darpa Grand Challenge robotic race—recently fitted two Jettas and two Audi A3s with DSRC units and used V2V to successfully run them, platoon-style, through San Francisco. “The technology is doable right now,” says Carsten Bergmann, a VW lab manager.'

How far is V2V communication away from external communication to the vehicle - such as for the police to intervene if the car is stolen? I'm sure the technology already exists...

Impossibly Futuristic Cars from the Tokyo Motor Show

Some very far out designs here... yet alot of emphasis upon hybrid fuels at last year's Tokyo motor show. Here is a link to a web exclusive pictures via Popular Science.

Be warned about the one with a glove compartment to keep the dog in!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More smart 'auto' mobilities

In this CNet article it discusses how the car of the future may 'sport a fuel gauge savvy enough to tell the driver when and where it will run out of petrol, and it could recommend a nearby station for filling up. A new software development framework from start-up Encirq is helping software engineers create new applications that bring together data flowing from several sensors within a consumer device.'

I wonder if it could also lower the price of oil?

Intelligent traffic signals

The Times reports in 'The intelligent traffic signals that could save scores of lives' how thousands of deaths (they claim) could be prevented each year by a new type of traffic light - these lights will be able to detects when a vehicle is about to ignore a red signal and so responds by delaying showing green to drivers on opposing roads. Smart indeed. The article continues by saying:

'The new technology will also reduce delays by calculating how much traffic is building up on each road and automatically adjusting the timings of the green phases accordingly.

It gives warning, however, that there would have to be strict controls to prevent drivers abusing the system. Cameras would have to be installed alongside the new lights to catch motorists who knew that other vehicles would have to wait if they jumped a red signal.

The report also proposes using the technology to shorten the time lapse between lights turning red in one direction and turning green in another. The lights would detect when all vehicles were braking sufficiently to stop in time and instantly would give a green light to opposing traffic.'

Shame we can't have smarter drivers?

New Institute launched in Leicester

It seems that the city of my birth has just got a little more interesting! De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester has just launched a new institute called 'The Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)'. The institute was launched on September 20th with a speach by Internet guru Howard Rheingold. This new institute seeks to pioneer a unique model of collaborative research in creative technologies. From the press release:

'The Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) at DMU, headed by Professor Andrew Hugill, will act as a catalyst for research that defies the traditional boundaries of computer science, the digital arts and humanities, and is already exciting the interest of the business world.

The Institute’s work will benefit the creative industries - one of the most important sectors in the UK and the East Midlands’ economy - and it has attracted the support of Microsoft, the Leicester–based MD of ideas company Sleepy Dog, Toby Moores, renowned computer scientist Steve Grand OBE, of Cyberlife Research Ltd, and the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), as well as award-winning authors and artists.

It will develop research projects, showcase work, present lectures and seminars, and open for visitor days. Guests will be greeted by cutting-edge technology including acoustic installations, ground-breaking holography, and roaming colonies of robot creatures, including ants and dogs.

Jerry Fishenden, Microsoft’s National Technology Officer, says the IOCT will undertake some of the most exciting work he’s aware of in the UK.'

Sounds like interesting work will be done here...

Thanks to Paul B. Hartzog for pointing this out!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras

The Daily Mail has posted about Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras in 'Big Brother is shouting at you' where they write that:

'Big Brother is not only watching you - now he's barking orders too. Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts - from dropping litter to late-night brawls - to send out a verbal warning: 'We are watching you'.

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: 'It is one hell of a deterrent. It's one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it's quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.

'Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble.'

Well... what's next: our TV's berating us for lewd in-house performances??

Cartography Updates

Cartography has posted on these new sites:

'Two new cartography /geospatial sites now grace the Internet: Cartography Online and Free GIS Data GeoBlog.

Cartography Online intends to provide news, forums and links to the cartography community. The offerings are currently sparse (since it is new) and it seems to provide some competition for existing sites (e.g. CartoTalk in particular and other news-focused geo-spatial sites). No advertsiements here (yet).

Free GIS Data GeoBlog is a blog but utilizes Blogger’s new labels (tags - something I have yet to do) to categorize geospatial data sources by geographic area. A number of data sources are already listed, most of them American. Glenn of GISUser has initiated this effort.

Thanks to Cartography

Youngsters 'reliant on mobiles'

A BBCOnline post titled 'Youngsters 'reliant on mobiles'' suggests that more than nine out of 10 12-year-olds in the UK now have a mobile phone:

'Almost 80% of the young people who took part in the research said they felt safer having a mobile and that they had a better social life as a result.

On average, they send or receive up to 10 text messages a day - three times more than their parents. The Mobile Life Survey, commissioned by Carphone Warehouse, quizzed 1,250 people aged 11 to 17.

Three-quarters of youngsters have had their phone bought for them by their parents, while half have their calls paid for by their parents.

The survey found that most parents (71%) believed mobiles were a useful way to keep track of their offspring.'

A very useful way indeed of tracking 'offspring', as they put it...

More fuel car debates

A post titled 'H2, Oh? The Electric Car May Yet Be Fueled by Hydrogen' has some good info on the hydrogen car debate - with links to follow-up the issue.

Via Worldchanging

a Philosophical Formula for the Urge to Drive

Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute has been struggling with the issue of living a year-long car-free experiment with his family:

'Durning's most recent installment in his chronicle of carlessness expounds upon this paradox. He breaks down our illogical driving decisions like a skilled philosopher:

[W]hen you have a car at your disposal, driving it is your reflexive response to most mobility needs. And I mean this in a specific, cognitive sense. I mean that when a need that involves distance or travel comes up, you immediately think of driving the car and your brain avoids thinking about alternatives.

This may sound like a stretch. Surely, it’s a matter of convenience, not cognition. Surely, it’s an intuitive economic calculation: a weighing of costs...What if it’s not?'

A shift to car-free living seems to require some deep philosophical sessions...

Read more at 'TravelSmart and a Philosophical Formula for the Urge to Drive'

Digital Planet September 18 2006

On this week's Digital Planet:

'the latest hacker trend = SmiShing? Gareth Mitchell finds out more about the appearance of phishing via SMS and how to protect yourself if you receive a bogus text. Also on the show a new fuel cell that's being used in developing countries to power laptops and the latest in AI. Jon Stewart reports on this year's Loebner Prize; the annual artificial intelligence competition for the most human like, thinking computer.'

Download here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Airport Planning - Smart solutions

The FAA/NASA/Industry Airport Planning Workshop September 12-13th 2006 has just finishedNASA SimLabs - Airport Planning Workshop.

In this workshop was discussed 'smart' technological solutions to airport capacity and security - this leads to a recent post on the airport of the future:

'he airport of tomorrow might have virtual intelligence agents that check your bags, "smart dust" sensor networks that vet passengers heading through security and commuter pilots who fly the plane from a home office...

Airport screeners, for example, could remotely identify and check in passengers carrying a cell phone or document embedded with an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip. Digital displays in airport terminals could be used to show real-time data on arrivals and departures. They could also be used to change a tarmac color to signify a landing, Evans said.'

Nissan prepping "intelligent" transportation safety system

Engadget reports how Nissan is prepping "intelligent" transportation safety system:

'Not content with stopping drunk-driving through technology, Nissan has set its sights on bad driving in general, with the car company set to being testing a new transportation safety system that'll alert you when you're speeding and provide other vital info to keep you out of harm's way. The system, which works in conjunction with Nissan's Carwings service, collects traffic information from other cars and from roadside beacons, relaying pertinent info straight into your vehicle, which will then alert you K.I.T.T-style of imminent danger... or a traffic light. Unfortunately, it looks like it's still a ways off from widespread use, with testing set to being next month Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan and continue through March of 2009, with some 10,000 drivers expected to take part. It seems Nissan hasn't taken into account the fact that the system may already be obsolete by then, what with humans taken out of the equation.'

Physical-Digital life merging

In a post 'Virtual Social Change' the issue of merging events in virtual world Second Life is discussed. I blogged before about the music business and the BBC getting in on the digital lifestyle shift - now there are significant social moves happening:

'Some interesting stuff happening on Second Life as people experiment with creating socially significant virtual worlds (like Camp Darfur) and organizational links.
Check out the following video introducing "Better World Island".

The American Cancer Society recently raised nearly $40,000 on Second Life through online avatars being sponsored to participate in a virtual "relay for life" in conjunction with actual, real world relays.

I think we are headed toward a time when organizations will have an interactive virtual destination that allows your avatar to interact with their avatar hosts and online activities, taking the website to a whole new level.'

Via Smartmobs

Space Blogging

Blogging has now certainly raised its profile - so high that it's reaching into space! If only Edgar Mitchell could have got into blogging when doing his space psi experiments!

ZDNet reports on 'Blogging from Space':

'I bet that many of you envy Anousheh Ansari, an American businesswoman born in Iran, who will become on September 18 the first female space tourist. As the previous male ones, Ansari had to pay about $20 million for 10 days in space. After a trip in a Soyuz spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, she will spend some time inside the International Space Station (ISS). But what will she do on the ISS? She'll become the first person to blog from space and tell us her thoughts from far above us. Read more…'

Next, bloggers on Mars??

Broadband hits the Trains

The Guardian has revealed in 'Broadband catches the train' how rail passengers will be able to access broadband connections via satellite under plans published today by media watchdog Ofcom:

'The regulator is making a new type of spectrum licence available that will allow train operating companies to install "satellite earth stations" on trains.

Some operating companies already offer wireless broadband access through trackside terminals, but this is not always reliable.

Ofcom said the satellite link could enable train operators to provide faster and more reliable mobile broadband connections for customers.

"Hot spots on trains would allow services to be delivered direct to laptops or handheld devices from an on-board transmitter, enabling customers to download content and potentially use VoIP [voice over internet protocol] on the move," Ofcom said in a statement.'

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Location based mobile blogging

Lancaster University has taken location-based mobile blogging further through developments at InfoLab21:

'The next phase in the development of the internet, the so-called Web 2.0, is taking place not in Silicon Valley but on the green and leafy campus of Lancaster University.
Academics in the Department of Communications Systems are busy designing the next generation of mobile phone applications - and they want your input. Their latest invention – location based mobile blogging (LocoBlog) – is released into the wild this month and they want feedback from users. “Locoblogging” is an example of one of the expected high-impact technologies for Web 2.0 - the ‘mashup’, which is application that uses content from more than one source to create a completely new service.'

Visit Locoblog and get on the project!

Taxis without drivers

( A picture of one ULTra PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) vehicle (Credit: ATS Ltd))

A European 'CityMobil' project which involves 28 partners in 10 countries at a cost of €40 million plans to eliminate city drivers and three trial sites have already been selected. For example, in 2008, Terminal 5 in London's Heathrow airport will be connected to the car park by driverless electric cars along a 4-kilometer track:

'At London's Heathrow Airport, starting in summer of 2008, 19-computer steered electric cars will go into operation. The automated taxis will be used to connect Heathrow's Terminal 5 with a parking lot. The technology, which has been named "ULTra," has been developed by the British firm ATS and is already being tested. The driverless vehicles pick up passengers after they are ordered and deliver them to their destination. Magnets or sensors on the ground direct the vehicles along their route.'

Read more at 'Taxis Without Drivers' & the CityMobil Project

Real-Time Traffic Routing

The National Science Foundation in the US reports on 'Real-Time Traffic Routing from the Comfort of Your Car':

'Engineers have developed a system for taking anonymous cell-phone location information and turning it into an illuminated traffic map that identifies congestion in real time.The system takes advantage of the steady stream of positioning cues--untraced signals all cell phones produce, whether in use or not, as they seek towers with the strongest signals. It is the first traffic-solution technology that monitors patterns on rural roads and city streets as easily as on highways.'

Again, the move to take location-identity into social infrastructures and fluid mobilities.

Via Smartmobs

RFID plane tickets to track travellers

Computing UK has an interesting discussion on merging RFID with air travel titled 'RFID plane tickets to track travellers':

'Scientists at University College London (UCL) are developing a system that combines radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and high-definition CCTV cameras to track passenger movements in busy airports.

The EU-funded project, known as Optag, is intended to help airlines keep track of passengers and help them reach departure gates on time, reducing the risk of missing valuable take-off slots.

The system could also be used in places such as theme parks to find lost children, or delegates in large conference centres.

‘We are working to create an interface between the tags and the cameras so that while the tag locates the passenger, the camera can pick them out in a crowded departure lounge,’ said Brennan.'

Digital Planet September 11 2006

In this week's Digital Planet: 'Orin Gordon finds out more about the newest tool in internet images. Unlike the aerial views that we can access presently on sites like Google Earth, this new tool will allow us to see panoramic views in amazing detail. The programme goes to the Design Museum in London. We see the last twenty five years of PC development and how things may look in the future. And Africa and IT ? we discuss how some African companies are developing their own software to manage their technology needs.'

Download here

Sunday, September 10, 2006

London's Green Grid

Worldchanging is on the ball again with green issues. They talk about The Thames Gateway London Partnership which has undertaken a massive new project encompassing both urban renewal and "open space enhancement" in the greater London area:

'The project is called the Green Grid.
The Green Grid, we read, will be a "living network of parks, green spaces, river and other corridors connecting urban areas to the river Thames, the green belt and beyond." London, already a city trying its hand at being green, will thus take sustainability several steps further:

The concept of the Green Grid is for a green infrastructure within and between built up areas that will link existing and new parks and open spaces. The Green Grid promotes the creation of high quality and multi-functional spaces, maximising opportunities for improving quality of life, footpaths and cyclepaths, biodiversity, leisure, recreation, tidal and fluvial flood risk management, grey water treatment, air quality, biomass, etc. The network will also provide the context for development, building community capacity for change through positive environmental improvements, enhancing land values, and changing the perception of East London as an area of industrial decline and low-quality environments.'

Read the full post here

According to Worldchanging, 'A group of volunteers in Portland, Oregon, have recently formed a Peak Oil Task Force to investigate the effects of rising energy costs in the city, anticipate future obstacles, and consider solutions that may help as price spikes continue. For their first trick, they've created, which is essentially an online matching service that gives people who want to carpool an easy means of locating convenient, well-suited ride partners.

This is much more refined than "Casual Carpool," the system I used to occasionally use in Oakland which simply designated a pick-up point where drivers and riders could converge. Now you can go online and type in a number of different criteria, somewhat like a dating service, to find other riders who live close by, enjoy the same music, have the same smoking habits, work the same hours, and so on.

The creators emphasize that this is for people who are "ready" to carpool; in other words, most people are still addicted to the sense of pure independence that comes from driving alone. But they forecast a change of mind about carpooling as congestion and oil shortages continue. "It's a solution waiting for a problem."

Great - more research into automobility futures!

A new era of urban mapmaking

So - what are the latest updates for Carlo Ratti's 'Real Time Rome' project?

The project will have its worldwide debut at the Venice Biennale from Sept. 10 to Nov. 19 - according to the MIT News office reports. They state:

"The project utilizes data gathered, in real time and at an unprecedented scale, from cell phones and other wireless technologies, to better understand the patterns of daily life in Rome, and to illustrate what ubiquitous connectivity in an urban environment looks like. "In today's world, wireless mobile communications devices are creating new dimensions of interconnectedness between people, places and urban infrastructures," said project director Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. "The goal of Real Time Rome is to use this connectivity to map the city in real time, which may ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of how modern cities function." Real Time Rome features seven large animations, projected on transparent plexiglass screens. One screen shows traffic congestion around the city, while another screen shows the exact movements of all the city's buses and taxis. Another screen is able to track Romans celebrating major events like the World Cup or the city's annual White Nights festival (Notte Bianca, which will happen on Sept. 9, the evening before the Biennale's architecture exhibition opening). Additional screens show how tourists use urban spaces and how cars and pedestrians move about the city".

Via Smartmobs

Friday, September 08, 2006

Pictures to aid Mapping

TechReview discusses in 'Putting Pictures in Their Place' how the popular photo-sharing website Flickr has made it easy to place pictures on a map--potentially changing Web search, travel, and local news:

'Adding location information to pictures has broad social implications, says Stewart Butterfield, founder and chief executive officer of Flickr. As more people geotag photos and more Flickr applications are built to take advantage of geotagging, he says, people will use the service in novel ways. For instance, geotagged pictures could complement traditional Web searching: a search for designer jeans might include the picture of a local boutique with a sale that day. For travel, he says, geotagged photos could let a person check on a destination before a flight is booked. And location-based search could redefine local news to include, say, an active construction project in a neighborhood.'

Another move towards geophysical navigated spaces...

Making the Inaccessible Accessible

In this project, Barcelona Accessible 'illustrates how 40 people with disabilities use mobile phones to photograph every obstacle they come across on the city's streets. By means of multimedia messages they create a map of inaccessible Barcelona on the internet.

The result is a map of Barcelona’s inaccessibility for those confined to wheelchairs, a cartographic representation of the parts of town that are closed to people with handicaps. In this way, 3,578 architectural barriers and stumbling blocks have been documented on canal*ACCESSIBLE since December 2005.'

This sounds like a project that needs to be emulated and repeated in other cities...

Via Smartmobs

The place for mobility in mobile politics

The Personal Democracy Forum has a great post on 'International Examples Of Mobile Politics' which looks at 'the booming use of mobile technology for political events around the world'. Examples are:

- Mobile Political Iraq
- Mobile Political Philippines
- Mobile Political Spain
- Mobile Political Congo
- Mobile Political Middle East

...and more... so check out.

Thanks to Smartmobs

Digital Planet Sep 04 2006

On this week's Digital Planet: 'After Reuters recently dismissed a freelance photographer for doctoring images, we hear from a computer scientist about digital photo manipulation. Telecom Sans Frontiers moves into Lebanon to help re-establish communications. Tristana Moore reports from the world?s biggest electronics fair in Berlin. The New York Times blocks news reports on the internet and we test the latest Xbox which allows you to create your own games.'

Download here

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Supersonic Future (1975)

This is really a must-see video commercial titled 'The Supersonic Future (1975)' which was made by Braniff Airways in 1975 - predicting the future of air travel. And even the petrol pump attendant has a jet-pack! Terrific!

As a critique IFTF's Future Now blog has the following comments:

'The design tries really hard to Look Like the Future. Everyone is wearing these robe-and-cowl things (the women look like Bene Gesserit going clubbing). Chairs have been replaced by giant eggs. (Perhaps in the future people are hatched; the commercial doesn't go there, thankfully.)

Absolutely ordinary human activities have been automated. People don't walk any more: instead, their chairs are pushed around by robots or something.

More seriously, the commercial makes the classic mistake of positing vast technological changes, with no accompanying social changes. When you watch, notice that the pilots are all men, and the cabin crew is all female. This is something you see in lots of "home of the future" exhibits.'

Via IFTF's Future Now

Future City

There is a new exhibition opened at the London Barbican titled 'Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956 - 2006'. You can also check out the exhibit catalogue/ companion book (it's pretty expensive, so this might be a good time to resurrect that old tool, the inter-library loan). If you're interested in cities, architecture and evoking better futures for both, you'll probably be interested in this exhibition:

'Future City covers the last fifty years of the architectural underground, an underground which ended up erupting into the mainstream, and defining the architectural cutting edge for the last decade. '

Via Worldchanging

Mobile Media in 21st Century Politics

The New Politics Institute has a report that is aimed at 'engaging progressive political practitioners in the new mobile technology and media'. This report is Downloadable in PDF here - it states:

'Analysts have rightly begun calling the mobile phone a new “third screen” that has suddenly appeared to accompany the other two screens of our daily lives: television and computer screens. This paper is an introduction to this new third screen that promises to make a dramatic impact on the general media world – along with an equally powerful impact on the political world. We lay out many of the key points that you need to know about the ever-changing mobile media landscape, and we offer practical ways for political practitioners to begin engaging in the mobile media space today.'

Via Smartmobs