Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Some of their projects include:
Interactive bus stops
Metro 2.0: smart crowds
Designing Green Villages
Some great work here - and definately deserves being kept an eye on!
Also, that "Their very innovative approach, which combines neuroscience and artificial intelligence with computer science, mimics how the brain functions to recognize objects in the real world. This versatile model could soon be used for automobile driver's assistance, visual search engines, biomedical imaging analysis or robots with realistic vision."
Engineers at The University of Manchester have developed an extendable car bumper that could help speed along the arrival of computer-controlled motorways.
They described the system in a paper presented at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress and Exhibition, winning the authors, from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the Best Scientific Paper award.
Automated Highway Systems (AHS) and Co-operative Vehicle Highway Systems (CVHS) have been under development for many decades. CVHS promotes a vision that vehicles would not be independently driven, but regulated and controlled via information beamed from transmitters at the side of the road. Cars would also communicate and co-operate with the vehicles around them to ensure a safe and fast journey for everyone. With the use of UK motorway space estimated to be as little as five per cent, the grouping or ‘platooning’ of cars is seen as one way to increase capacity and reduce congestion. As computer-controlled vehicles would be able to travel much closer together, it would mean less fuel consumption due to a reduction in aerodynamic drag.
The University of Manchester academics note that concerns over legal and liability issues, in the event of failure, seem to have held back development. The system proposed by the University of Manchester team would use a ‘bridging damper’ in the event of a signal failure. This would be an intelligent bumper, which would extend to touch the car in front, should the main communication system break down.
Read more at Manchester’s bumper project
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Mobile Magazine reports on a newly created driverless bus, which needs room for only the passengers:
It's an electric-biofuel hybrid that can transport up to 24 passengers at once and following a line of magnets embedded under the pavement. You can use your mobile to hail it, specifying your location and your destination, so the bus knows where to pick you up and where you want to be dropped off. The bus uses satellite navigation and onboard sensors to restrict unsafe speed and direction. Since they mentioned safety, with no personnelle, where does the fate of these passengers lie? Serious trials begin in 2010.
NASA said Wednesday it has inked a two-year agreement with space-tourism company Virgin Galactic to collaborate on future technologies for commercial spaceflight:
As part of the deal, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic will work with the scientists and facilities at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley to support its current plans for suborbital spaceflight. By 2008, Virgin Galactic, a U.S. subsidiary of Branson's Virgin Group, plans to take six passengers up to a low-Earth orbit in its SpaceShipTwo. How exactly NASA will assist in that effort is still up for discussion, according to a NASA representative.
In addition, NASA and Virgin Galactic will explore the development of technologies that go beyond Virgin's suborbital effort. Those will include hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five times the speed of sound, according to NASA.
Read the story here from C/Net
The new communications system, known as the 21st Century Network, will power all of BT's telephone, broadband and ISDN services. The company is spending £10bn on the project in the UK and Europe, with £260m of that invested in NI.
As part of the upgrade, NI's 160 local telephone exchanges will converge in three major hubs. Two will be in Belfast and one in Portadown, County Armagh. BT Managing Director Alastair Hamilton said the new network would have important benefits for businesses and help to attract more inward investors who demand high speed communications.
Well, I hope they upgrade my exchange while they're at it!
Human memory can be maddeningly elusive. We stumble upon its limitations every day, when we forget a friend's telephone number, the name of a business contact or the title of a favorite book. People have developed a variety of strategies for combating forgetfulness--messages scribbled on Post-it notes, for example, or electronic address books carried in handheld devices--but important information continues to slip through the cracks. Recently, however, our team at Microsoft Research has begun a quest to digitally chronicle every aspect of a person's life, starting with one of our own lives (Bell's). For the past six years, we have attempted to record all of Bell's communications with other people and machines, as well as the images he sees, the sounds he hears and the Web sites he visits--storing everything in a personal digital archive that is both searchable and secure....
...In 20 years $600 will buy 250 terabytes of storage--enough to hold tens of thousands of hours of video and tens of millions of photographs. This capacity should be able to satisfy anyone's recording needs for more than 100 years.
Its an interesting read and review... a life lived 'On the Net'... is it desirable?
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
It made clear that congestion is a major problem to which there is no easy answer. One aspect of the study was highlighting how road pricing could provide a solution to these problems and that advances in technology put these plans within our reach. Of course it would be ten years or more before any national scheme was technologically, never mind politically, feasible.
That is the backdrop to this issue. As my response makes clear, this is not about imposing "stealth taxes" or introducing "Big Brother" surveillance. This is a complex subject, which cannot be resolved without a thorough investigation of all the options, combined with a full and frank debate about the choices we face at a local and national level. That's why I hope this detailed response will address your concerns and set out how we intend to take this issue forward. I see this email as the beginning, not the end of the debate, and the links below provide an opportunity for you to take it further.But let me be clear straight away: we have not made any decision about national road pricing.
Read the rest here
Also, this is a link to the Eddington Transport Study
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Two in-wheel 25 kW electric pancake motors will power the two rear wheels, with a small (15 to 20 kW) flex-fuel genset providing on-road recharging. The hybrid will use a 3 kWh li-ion pack from A123Systems. When garaged, it need only be plugged into a household outlet.
|The two different powertrains. Click to enlarge.|
The all-electric version is planned to have two in-wheel 20 kW electric motors and a 17 kWh li-ion battery pack.
A key feature of the VentureOne is the patented Dynamic Vehicle Control tilting technology from Carver Engineering that allows the body of the vehicle to actually tilt when going through turns while all three wheels maintain firm contact with the road.
On arrival, they have a digital photo taken and that, plus the details of the care they need, are loaded on to an electronic tag contained in a wristband they can wear throughout their stay.
The tags mean any member of staff caring for that patient can read the tag details using a PDA to check they are treating the right person.
They can also see what checks the patient has had, or if they are ready for surgery, to ensure they get the right drugs, tests and operations via the checklist on the PDA. Schemes such as this, which tag patients, and bar-coding drugs and hospital equipment, are being seen in a number of UK hospitals.
And what will happen with the information once the patient has left the hospital?
Monday, February 19, 2007
The £8-a-day road toll scheme now takes in most of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea in west London. Transport for London (TfL) said the first morning rush hour had gone well, but the AA said half-term holidays had reduced the number of cars.
About 55,000 residents in the new zone will receive a 90% discount on the fee - sparking a fear of more congestion. The daily time frame for the entire congestion charge area also changes - it will end 30 minutes earlier at 1800.
For more news reports on the UK traffic scene - see transportinfo.org.uk
The treatment is a more powerful version of imagination therapy, a traditional technique in which a therapist asks a patient to imagine scenarios connected with a traumatic event. With the software technique, patients talk through their trauma with a therapist while wearing goggles that immerse them in a virtual reality battlefield. The therapist can increase the strength of the scenario by adding elements such as roadside bombs or attacks by insurgents.
An instance where the virtual world is coming into its own in terms of complementing how to deal with certain physical situations.
Perhaps the act of mindfully disconnecting specific times, spaces and situations in our lives from technological mediation ought to be considered as a practical form of resistance – an act of will on the part of individual humans as a means of exercising control over the media in their lives. It remains uncertain whether it is possible or preferable to disrupt the technological augmentation of human thought and communication that is becoming available to most of the earth's population. We are not as convinced as others that technology is only, primarily, or necessarily a dangerous toxin. There is a danger in locating technologies' malignancies in the tools themselves rather than the way people use them and mentally distancing us from responsibility for the way we use our creative products might diminishes our power to control our tools.
I think this is a serious issue.. I know I like to disconnect myself from time to time, and take a walk amongst the green fields of Nature's beauty... will living 'off the Net' be an option in the future...?
Friday, February 16, 2007
Two lecturers in the US have suggested creating a network of Community Response Grids (CRG) in conjunction with the emergency services. Citizens could leave text, video and photos on the site of emergencies, natural disasters and terror attacks.
A pilot could start later this year based at the University of Maryland, driven by 40,000 students and staff. The idea of a nationwide network of 911.gov websites has been proposed by Maryland university lecturers Ben Shneiderman and Jennifer Preece in this month's edition of Science magazine.
"The 911 telephone system functions effectively when there are traffic accidents, health emergencies or small fires, but when large numbers of people are involved it does not handle the capacity," said Professor Shneiderman. He added: "The evolution of the internet and its maturity at this point and the great success of social networking sites like MySpace, Craig's List and Amber Alert, suggests there is an opportunity to do something for emergency response and recovery."
Although much has already been researched on disaster management, this project aims to capitalise on the power of distributed social networks, with the idea that people can work as social objects.
The Web is entering a new phase of evolution. There has been much debate recently about what to call this new phase. Some would prefer to not name it all, while others suggest continuing to call it "Web 2.0". However, this new phase of evolution has quite a different focus from what Web 2.0 has come to mean.
The threshold to the third-generation Web will be crossed in 2007. At this juncture the focus of innovation will start shift back from front-end improvements towards back-end infrastructure level upgrades to the Web. This cycle will continue for five to ten years, and will result in making the Web more connected, more open, and more intelligent. It will transform the Web from a network of separately siloed applications and content repositories to a more seamless and interoperable whole...
Because the focus of the third-generation Web is quite different from that of Web 2.0, this new generation of the Web probably does deserve its own name. In keeping with the naming convention established by labeling the second generation of the Web as Web 2.0, I agree with John Markoff that this third-generation of the Web could be called Web 3.0.
Also worth reading on this subject is Nova Spivack's 'The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web'
A little over a year ago the Institute published a set of reports on the future of RFID. One of the things we argued was that in the future, RFID tags would be seen by consumers as just one of a kind Great Chain of (Digital) Being, part of a much bigger spectrum of information technologies that lived in or connected to the physical world. In addition to passive and active RFID tags, we'd have extremely small, disposable RFID tags; tags that had enough processing power and memory to almost be very small computers; RFID tags that were tailored to different functions and industries (e.g., security, asset management, object provenance and history and everything in between.
The post also makes mention of a patent filing by Kodak for an edible-- and more important, digestible-- RFID tag...
'as the 3GSM conference gets underway in Barcelona, we catch up with the directors of 'Little Miss Sunshine' who tell us about their movie created especially for mobile phones. We speak to Motorola about their new initiative to spread the use of Linux as the mobile operating system of choice and we hear from a global anti e-voting group meeting in London'
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The world's first mobile phone base station powered by wind and the sun's rays will soon open in Namibia. The trial follows a pilot held in Swindon, UK, led by Motorola. Mobile firm MTC Namibia will run the cell.
MTC has been using base stations powered with just solar energy but will turn to the wind for the first time for the trial in the village of Dordabis, 40 kilometres east of the capital city Windhoek.
"This solution is perfect for areas only accessible by helicopter - that's where we would be looking to deploy this technology" - Linda Brown, Motorola UK
This ties in with my earlier post on how India hopes to start using mobile base stations that use generators running on biodiesel - in 'Mobiles switch on with biofuels'
Tiny cameras the size of a fingernail linked to specialist computers will be used to monitor the behaviour of airline passengers as part of the war on terrorism, reports IOL.
Fitted to seat-backs, the cameras will record every twitch or suspicious movement before sending the data to onboard software that will check it against individual passenger profiles.
Scientists from Britain and Germany are spending £25 million (about R360-million) to develop a system they hope will make it virtually impossible to hijack an airliner by providing pilots and cabin crew with an early warning system. They say rapid eye movements, blinking excessively, licking lips or ways of stroking hair or ears are classic symptoms of somebody trying to conceal something.
A separate microphone will record speech, including whispers; Islamic suicide bombers whisper texts from the Koran in the moments before they explode bombs.
The software being developed by the scientists will be so sophisticated it will be able to take account of nervous flyers or people with a natural twitch, helping to ensure there are no false alarms.
... Airlines have given the scheme a cautious welcome, indicating it would be too expensive to fit on existing commercial aircraft and it would probably be 10 years before such systems were fitted to new planes.
A British Airways spokesperson said "R&D of better screening and detection equipment on the ground would be of more value at this time."
Thanks to Smart Mobs!
The pilot programme, announced by mobile operator trade body the GSM Association, could make sending cash easier and cheaper for migrant workers.
The initiative is backed by 19 mobile firms representing over 600 million customers in over 100 countries.
Vodafone and Telecom Italia are among mobile firms backing the scheme.The system will allow a person to put cash onto their mobile, and order it to be sent to a mobile phone number abroad, where the recipient receives a text message saying that money has arrived.
As a result, the costs of sending small amounts of cash could be reduced to just a few percent, from 24% currently.
The colloquium will address three major issues:
* the fundamental aspects of navigation by satellites and Galileo – geodetic and temporal reference frames, relativistic frame, on board and ground clocks, orbits, radiation environment in orbit, inter-satellite links, fundamental aspects of propagation, tropospheric and ionospheric corrections, calibration and validation, relations with international organisations
* scientific applications in meteorology, geodesy, geophysics, space physics, oceanography, land surface and ecosystem studies – using either direct or reflected signals; differential measurements, phase measurements, occultation measurements – using receivers placed on the ground, in airplanes or in scientific satellites
* scientific developments in physics and dealing with future systems, particularly in testing fundamental laws, in astronomy, in quantum communication, and in developing clocks or experiments based on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)
For more details read here
As before, the aims of the day are to highlight on-going mobilities research at Lancaster, and to promote interchange and dialogue between Lancaster mobilities researchers. We expect to include contributors from all three faculties and would especially like to include papers from researchers who have not previously been closely involved with CeMoRe activities.
CeMoRe takes a deliberately broad view of mobilities research and embraces mobility in all its forms. Further information can be found at: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/sociology/cemore/index.htm
We expect the day to consist mainly of short (c10 minute) reports on on-going research, new research ideas, or recently completed projects. Please bring this research day to the attention of colleagues and postgraduate students who may not currently be involved with CeMoRe activities.
You are, of course, also welcome to simply come to listen to papers and participate in discussion. Further details will be circulated in March when the programme is finalised. Participation in the Research Day will be free of charge!
Friday, February 09, 2007
Experts say repeated sun exposure through the car's side windows is to blame, and drivers who roll down the window are at even greater risk. Most glass used for windows blocks UVB rays that cause sunburn but not deeper penetrating UVA rays.
The Saint Louis University School of Medicine team presented their work to the American Academy of Dermatology. They looked at 898 patients (559 men and 339 women) with skin cancers occurring on either side of their body.
Among the men, the rate of cancers directly correlated to the areas of the body most often exposed to UV radiation while driving - which in the US is the left-hand side of the body.
Will this affect your 'love for the road'... enough to change your habits..?
One third of Indian homes are not connected to the power grid and demand for mobile phones is growing rapidly.
A pilot scheme in west India has been set up by mobile firms and industry body the GSMA development fund.
"It is about connecting the unconnected," said Dawn Hartley, development fund manager at the GSMA.
Mobile phone use has exploded across India. In 2003 there were just 13 million mobile phone subscribers. Today, there are nearly 130 million.
Much of this take-up has been in urban areas where there is a comprehensive mobile network.
But outside the major towns, where approximately three-quarters of India's 1.2 billion people live, mobile coverage is fragmented.
Engineer Online is also covering this in 'Biofuels power India’s rural mobile networks'
As part of the BBC's special series of programmes from India, India Rising, the Digital Planet team this week visit Kolkata or Calcutta as it was previously known. The City is marketing itself as the next big destination for IT growth, but it seems an unlikely rival to Bangalore. As the Capital of the Communist governed state of West Bengal Kolkata sees frequent strikes and public protests, and with every stereotype of Indian poverty evident on its streets it seem a less than attractive destination for potential investors. Gareth speaks to some companies who have already set up shop here, he also looks at how the city's ancient tea auctions are being modernised with digital technology and gets an insight into Kolkata's blogging scene.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
* To raise awareness about the interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and places across the Mediterranean, now and historically;
* To promote comparative, transdisciplinary and historically sensitive research on Mediterranean mobilities;
* To bring together academics, practitioners and policy-makers;
* To serve as a centre for exchanging information between civil society actors and the academia;
* To support research students in the UK with an interest in the Mediterranean;
* To organise and contribute to seminars, conferences and symposia nationally and internationally.
Worth checking out as the site will be updated weekly and any relevant information about the region will be very welcomed.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
This site links to all transport related stories from national and regional newspapers and radio for each day.
This site will now be linked to from this blog - see links on RHS.
A spokesman said the commission was aiming for a 25% cut in car emissions overall, with the "bulk of the effort" coming from better motor technology. The rest of the cut is expected to be achieved by measures such as greater use of biofuels and better tyres.
Details of the plan, which has divided the commission, are being unveiled on Wednesday after a two-week delay.Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas had wanted to force carmakers to achieve the full 25% emissions cut alone, but ran into strong opposition from the German car industry and Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.
The European Federation for Transport & Envionment states that:
Transport is the worst performing sector under ‘Kyoto’ and seriously jeopardizes the achievement of the targets. Transport CO2 emissions in the EU grew by 32% between 1990 and 2004. The share of transport in CO2 emissions was 21% in 1990, but by 2004 this had grown to 28%.
Read the T&E report here as pdf
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working mother who used the car to take the children to school paid £86 in one month.
On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked. Somebody will know where you are at all times. They will also know how fast you have been going, so even if you accidentally creep over a speed limit in time you can probably expect a Notice of Intended Prosecution with your monthly Bill.
However, there is a petition. The petition is on the 10 Downing St website but they didn't tell anybody about it. See for yourself and decide:
The website is located at: http://petitions.PM.gov.UK/traveltax/
This archive goes back to 1908 and offers some interesting insights into a century of post and telecommunications developments. Although the majority of articles are about engineering/technological topics those interested in socio-technological shaping may find the trend away from the purely technical over the last few decades of interest.
Thanks to Jane Vincent via Mobile-Society
Edutxt and Cy-nap are hosting a one day conference 27th March at Leeds University focussing on the uses of SMS in the Education sector in the UK. “The speakers are all desktop SMS text messaging users from the education community, and they will be sharing their experiences and showing examples of how mobile messaging has made a difference from recruitment through to student retention and achievement. Speakers include Andy Black - a well known authority on new technology for e-learning from BECTA and Ray Lawrence - howtomoodle UK.”
The conference is designed as a showcase for creative uses of SMS, and of course to promote the services of the conference organisers, but it seems it genuinely will offer an insight to those who have yet to adopt and develop a mobile strategy in education.
More information via the Cy-nap site, or here via this PDF.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Inilex Inc. uses global-positioning satellites to track the location of customers' cars and deliver a host of other information. PhysOrg reports.
The "Kepler Advantage" device, sold through car dealers for $600 to $1,100 plus a monthly subscription, looks like a walkie-talkie and gets stowed covertly under the dashboard.
Then car owners or corporate fleet managers can go on an Inilex Web site to track their vehicles' locations - and set up alerts that would be delivered by e-mail or a cell-phone text message.
With this service, you can be notified within minutes that your parked car has been moved, presumably by a thief, and shown where it is in real time - fruitful information to pass on to police.
Of course...the sacrifice is, again, privacy - control or transparent society? Take your pick...
This website is intended for people who are concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons, who want to do something about helping to eliminate conflict and want to become involved, but who feel they need to learn more about the issues before taking the next step.
Through the MMMWWW project, we hope to stimulate a greater awareness of global conflict, in whatever form; religious, social or political. We will be following a programme initiated by Dr Brendan O'Regan and Irish Peace Institute who have already collaborated with prominent leaders in other fields, including Nobel Peace Laureates, religious leaders, military experts, students and environmentalists in creating the Mankind Must Manage World Without War series...
Creating visual material highlighting the causes and consequences of conflict.
Create and distribute publications exploring conflict related themes
Provide an opportunity, through our web site, for opinion makers from different professions to contribute to a discussion on aspects of global conflict and conflict resolution.
Found via Space & Culture