Tag: Organized-Networks

Intimate Technology

New Friends? Let Social Textiles Help You

Although social media helps us connect with more people in a highly efficient way, the act is still far from real human interaction. We share posts, upload photos or post status updates, looking frantically at our screens for likes, shares or comments. A group of students at the MIT Media Lab, named Fluid Interfaces Group, is working on an electronic textile that might help us interact with people based on our social media profiles.

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Let the Drones take care of the Biosphere

Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? The people of conversationdrones.org employ drones to survey…

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What Ant Colony Networks Can Tell Us About What’s Next for Digital Networks

Ever notice how ant colonies so successfully explore and exploit resources in the world … to find food at 4th of July picnics, for example? You may find it annoying. But as an ecologist who studies ants and collective behavior, I think it’s intriguing — especially the fact that it’s all done without any central control.

What’s especially remarkable: the close parallels between ant colonies’ networks and human-engineered ones. One example is “Anternet”, where we, a group of researchers at Stanford, found that the algorithm desert ants use to regulate foraging is like the Traffic Control Protocol (TCP) used to regulate data traffic on the internet. Both ant and human networks use positive feedback: either from acknowledgements that trigger the transmission of the next data packet, or from food-laden returning foragers that trigger the exit of another outgoing forager.

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Free Solar Chargers in the Streets of NY

A new device is appearing in the New York skyline: a free mobile charging station, powered entirely by the sun. At the beginning of this summer, AT&T, the solar technology company Goal Zero and the Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa launched the Street Charge project, with 25 solar mobile charging units spread around the city.

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Back to the Tribe

Rural Energy: From Kerosine to LED

While for most of us, happy blog readers, access to electricity is taken for granted, things are quite different in developing regions of the world. In India for example, over 65% of the population still lives in rural villages where electricity supply is very limited. If an electricity grid is at all available, it is typically very unstable.

Since electricity is known to be an engine for development, it makes sense to bring electricity to the rural villages of India, however, these rural areas cannot rely on the top down grid-electricity solutions. Local energy generation and concepts for distributed energy networks are more promising.

Marcel van Heist, designer and recent graduate at the Next Nature Lab at  Eindhoven University of Technology went to India with the goal to introduce distributed energy solutions in rural areas. After investigating the established Kerosene based energy models, Marcel came up with an alternative based on solar powered LED lamps built from locally available materials. Here’s how.

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Internet Traffic is now 51% Non-Human

So you thought the Internet was made by and for people? Think again. A study by Incapsula, a provider of cloud-based security for web sites (mind you where this data comes from), concludes that 51% of all Internet traffic is generated by non-human sources such as hacking software, scrapers and automated spam mechanisms. While 20% of the 51% non-human traffic is’ good’, the 31% majority of this non-human traffic is potentially malicious.

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Back to the Tribe

Back to the Tribe

Traditionally, technology is seen as a force that diminishes our instincts and puts us at a distance of nature. Increasingly however, we realize technology can also energize and amplify our deepest human sensibilities – even some we had forgotten about. Propelling us not so much back to, but rather forward to nature.

Almost two decades ago, Brian Eno – artist, composer, inventor, thinker – gave an interview in which he stated the problem with computers was that there is not enough Africa in them [1]. “Africa is everything that something like classical music isn’t. Classical – perhaps I should say ‘orchestral’ – music is so digital, so cut up, rhythmically, pitch wise and in terms of the roles of the musicians. It’s all in little boxes.”… “Do you know what a nerd is? A nerd is a human being without enough Africa in him or her. I know this sounds sort of inversely racist to say, but I think the African connection is so important. I want so desperately for that sensibility to flood into these other areas, like computers.” … “It uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.”

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Car Carousel

How sweet! It’s a carousel of cars. This shot was taken from Jacques Tati’s movie Playtime (1967) which can be considered Next Nature avant la lettre.…

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