Authorities in Portugal have transformed a fleet of buses and taxis into a portable WiFi network, providing riders with free Internet access for their portable devices. Routers attached to the vehicles, which create the network, also relay information about road conditions and whether public garbage cans are full and need emptying.
The project was pioneered by the startup Veniam which grew out of the University of Porto, where research on mobile connectivity and the Internet of Things is closely tied to urban planning.
Counting 600 buses and taxis in its network, the roving WiFi signal provides service to 70,000 people each month and absorbs between 50 and 80 percent of wireless traffic otherwise dependent on private wireless carriers.
Perhaps most exciting is how the network extends beyond providing Internet access and collects data from the bustling world of dense urban life:
“When buses and taxis hit a sharp bump that might be due to a pothole, the suspension sensors detect this and relay the information to City Hall to help identify where roads need repairs.”
The sensors are also linked to public garbage bins and transmit an alert when the bins are full, allowing officials to empty them in the most efficient manner possible.
Money is going digital and it is impacting the biggest growth industry of the past 75 years
Bitcoin has attracted a lot of news and high-profile investors in recent weeks, while the media still focuses on how early buyers have made money and how authorities are onto its role in online narcotic sales. Less attention has been paid, however, to the underlying long-term potential of Bitcoin as a catalyst for innovation in global financial services by decoupling transactions from the networks previously required to ensure their execution and enforcement.
To really understand the power of Bitcoin, you need to think about it as 3 things: (1) a protocol, (2) a commodity, and (3) an ecosystem.
Continue reading @ Why You Should Care About Bitcoin — (Editor’s Picks — Medium)
Sep. 25, 2013 — Harvard and MIT scientists are challenging the conventional wisdom about light, and they didn’t need to go to a galaxy far, far away to do it.
Working with colleagues at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms, a group led by Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuletic have managed to coax photons into binding together to form molecules — a state of matter that, until recently, had been purely theoretical. The work is described in a September 25 paper in Nature.
The discovery, Lukin said, runs contrary to decades of accepted wisdom about the nature of light. Photons have long been described as massless particles which don’t interact with each other — shine two laser beams at each other, he said, and they simply pass through one another.
“Photonic molecules,” however, behave less like traditional lasers and more like something you might find in science fiction — the light saber.
“Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless, and that they do not interact with each other,” Lukin said. “What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they begin to act as though they have mass, and they bind together to form molecules. This type of photonic bound state has been discussed theoretically for quite a while, but until now it hadn’t been observed.
“It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to light sabers,” Lukin added. “When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.”
Continue reading @ Seeing light in a new light: Scientists create never-before-seen form of matter.
As mobile technology continues its rapid advancement according to Moore’s law, the possibilities of moving towards the sci-fi novels and films of yesteryear are becoming less and less fiction, and more reality. Augmented reality.
At Wikitude, we’re working everyday on making the future potential of mobile technology a reality now. We started out in 2008 as the first provider of augmented reality on smartphones, and since this time have spawned a revolution in the industry. It’s time to do it again with wearable AR technology.
Continue reading @ Augmented reality glasses powered by Wikitude – Wikitude.
Smartphone with second e-ink screen unveiled by Yota
A computer interface that can supply answers to users without requiring them to dig their phones out of their pockets or tap away at a keyboard is being developed by Google.Amit Singhal, Google vice-president and senior search engineer, said that the company has been inspired by sci-fi series Star Trek to develop the “ubiquitous computing” concept, where gadgets woven into users daily lives seamlessly respond to questions.”Why should someone stop their conversation because theyre missing a tiny piece of information that you need to take that conversation further?” said Mr Singhal. “You have to pull out your phone. You have to unlock the phone. You have to type. Already you have lost valuable seconds and the conversation has become unnatural and awkward.”I would make a bold prediction that in the next three to five years you will have a Star Trek assistant, with a lot more capability than your phone has now. We have built baby steps of this already.”In future, answers to questions could be delivered to users through devices for the living room and kitchen appliances that respond to spoken commands.
Apple has lost its appeal against a UK ruling that Samsung had not infringed its design rights.
A judge at the High Court in London had originally ruled in July that the look of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab computers was not too similar to designs registered in connection with the iPad.
He said at the time that Samsung’s devices were not as “cool” because they lacked Apple’s “extreme simplicity”.
Apple still needs to run ads saying Samsung had not infringed its rights.
The US firm had previously been ordered to place a notice to that effect – with a link to the original judgement – on its website and place other adverts in the Daily Mail, Financial Times, T3 Magazine and other publications to “correct the damaging impression” that Samsung was a copycat.
The appeal judges decided not to overturn the decision on the basis that a related Apple design-rights battle in the German courts risked causing confusion in consumers’ minds.
“The acknowledgment must come from the horse’s mouth,” they said. “Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely.”
However, they added that the move need not “clutter” Apple’s homepage as it would only have to add a link entitled “Samsung/Apple judgement” for a one-month period.
A spokeswoman for Samsung said it welcomed the latest ruling.
“We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art.
“Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.”
Apple declined to comment. It can still appeal to the UK Supreme Court, otherwise the ruling applies across the European Union.