“We continue to leverage global techniques in engineering, computing and technology to advance integrated communications systems for automotive, railway and aircraft guidance. From developing artificial neural networks for network modeling, driver behavior modeling and automotive safety, to improving vehicular situational awareness, engineers are working to progress vehicle collision avoidance methods, advance traffic warning systems and improve driver assistance.”—
A new book, available for free online, that breaks down the human systems that allow Nairobi’s informal economy to flourish and innovate:
The linkages among microenterprises form dense networks of activity. Take a stroll through Gikomba, and one can’t help but think of the informal sector as a living organism with intricate systems that form a concordant whole.
The first of these was Energy, and contained just one group: Amunda. The project, which will almost certainly become a startup, is aimed towards bringing transparency to the world energy market. Through the open exchange of information, Amunda hopes to pair alternative energy entrepreneurs with emerging markets.
Three groups (Nishio, Sensoria, and H2020) aimed towards tackling three problems with the world’s water supply: availability, purity, and distribution. Nishio wants to use synthetic biology and nanotechnology filters to desalinate water along the coast and pump it using solar power.
In Food, there was just one project: Agropolis. The team’s general aim was to accelerate the adoption of small scale hydroponics and aeroponics. Homes could grow a large portion of their own groceries, restaurants could serve vegetables grown in the same building where you eat, and billions of people all over the world would have access to bountiful local food.
The final area for team projects was termed UpCycle, which basically covers sustainability. We can’t forget that the exponential growth of technology is likely to lead to an exponential growth in waste (at least in the short term). i2Cycle sought to pair up industries so that one company’s waste could be another’s supplies. Fre3dom is looking into how remote areas of the world could repair and maintain their expensive equipment through novel processes like 3D prinitng. Eventually such an endeavor could lead to the decentralization of manufacturing as a whole. My favorite, however, was Biomine. The project considered removing the valuable metals from electronic waste. The millions of computers and mobile phones thrown away every year contain tons of copper and other marketable metals.
“For the past couple of years, IBM has made it unmistakably clear that it intends to be a world leader in advanced analytics and predictive analytics because it believes the related technologies that it has developed or acquired and assimilated can be harnessed by customers to provide unprecedented levels of foresight into future behaviors, probabilities, and outcomes, which thereby let those IBM customers make better business decisions about that not-so-unknown future.”—Global CIO: IBM’s Brilliant Trojan-Horse Strategy Transcends Technology — InformationWeek
Drought linked to climate change has reversed a decades-long trend of increased global plant growth, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data.
"Earth has done an ecological about-face," a NASA statement said. "Global plant productivity that once flourished under warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline, struck by the stress of drought."
Research over the past two decades had shown terrestrial plant growth on the rise, with higher temperatures and longer growing seasons linked to a 6 percent increase in global plant productivity from 1982 to 1999. Between 2000 and 2009, terrestrial plant growth declined by 1 percent.
Map via the NYC Regional Foodshed Initiative of the Urban Design Lab, a Joint Laboratory of the Earth Institute and Columbia University GSAPP
Sarah Rich and I co-founded the Foodprint Project as an exploration of the ways food and cities give shape to one another. As we told Urban Omnibus back in February, days before our first event, we wanted to see what you could learn if you used food as a lens to look at the city.
So, with two cities — New York City and Toronto — under our belts, what have we learned?
Many extraordinary and peculiar factoids, certainly: enough to keep us well-stocked at dinner parties for years to come. Toronto, for example, is the second largest urban food processing hub in North America (after Chicago) and its food factories still occasionally overwhelm certain neighborhoods with the smell of roasting coffee beans, freshly-slaughtered beef, or potato and leek soup. We also learned that turning just 10% of NYC’s private backyards over to urban agriculture would produce 113 million lbs of vegetables each year, or enough to feed 700,000 people at current rates of consumption.
We have also confirmed one of the Foodprint Project’s founding premises: the best food conversations are hyper-interdisciplinary. As Nevin Cohen, urban planner and panelist at Foodprint NYC, put it, “Food is a social justice issue and a public health issue; it’s also an economic development issue, it’s a transportation issue, it’s a regional planning issue, it’s an ecological issue.” By inviting panelists whose work engages deeply with the city’s food systems, but who come from widely differing perspectives — such as a First Nations fisherman, a food scientist working to redesign salt crystals, an architect using urban agriculture to retrofit ‘60s tower blocks, and the health official in charge of drafting Toronto’s first city-wide food policy — we’ve created new connections, both personal and conceptual.
Tiny radio antennas could replace building wiring | msnbc.com
A new study has found a way to implement wireless monitoring technology in buildings with uses ranging from climate control to health and safety applications by tapping into heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) ducts.
Rather than running wires all through an office or factory to hook up thermometers, say, the study shows how radio waves could be sent through ductwork to power many tiny wireless sensors.
The research opens the door to inexpensively setting up building-wide sensing systems. These systems could include smoke detectors, carbon-monoxide monitors, or sensors that can detect chemical, biological or radiological agents.
“So here we are. 2030. “The Future.” We control our computers with our mind — which isn’t beyond the realm of reason — and displays are built right into our vision. The craziest part, though, is the idea that we’ll move away from silicon chips and toward biological computing: “The computer you inject is more likely to resemble a specialized virus than a tiny silicon chip.” As for that mind control, don’t put on your tin hat yet.”—4 wild predictions for the smartphones and tablets of 2030 (via 2020)
“The ever-expanding ecosystem of smartphone apps owes a great deal to MEMS sensors. Indeed, smartphones, with their always-on Internet access and growing complement of sensor technologies, are quickly becoming the planet’s premier wireless sensor network. “The cell phone is inherently a sensor; even its microphone gives you information on what type of environment you are in, from background or perhaps traffic noise. By using sensor fusion, you can take information from all of these sensors, even the ambient-light sensor, and create apps that have never been thought of before,” noted iSuppli Corp. analyst Jérémie Bouchard. MEMS sensors in mobile handsets are allowing apps that not only dazzle users but could one day monitor the pulse of the planet. “We are interacting with the world in a more effective manner today because of the MEMS sensors in our mobile handsets; it’s not just for the gee-whiz factor anymore,” said Karen Lightman, managing director of the MEMS Industry Group (MIG). “All over the world, MEMS sensors are improving the quality of life for those using them.”—
“Shipments of Android-based devices, such as HTC Corp’s Desire and Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10, surged to 10.6 million units, increasing the operating system’s market share to 17.2% from 1.8% at the expense of rival platforms such as Symbian — the main operating system in Nokia Corp’s smartphones.”—Google’s Android Platform Winning Smartphone Battle - WSJ.com