Tagmobile phones

Recognizr: face recognition software for mobile phones

Last July TAT (“The Astonishing Tribe“) posted a concept video of their augmented social face-card system (okay, I made that term up, what else should we call it?). The video tickled the imagination with over 400,000 views.

TAT has since teamed up with Polar Rose, a leading computer vision services company, to turn that concept into a reality. The TAT Cascades system combined with Polar Rose’s FaceLib gives us this prototype called Recognizr.

Read More – Games Alfresco: Your Face Is A Social Business Card

(via Bruce Sterling)

A 50-Watt Cellular Network

solar powered cell tower

An Indian telecom company is deploying simple cell phone base stations that need as little as 50 watts of solar-provided power. It will soon announce plans to sell the equipment in Africa, expanding cell phone access to new ranks of rural villagers who live far from electricity supplies.

Technology Review: A 50-Watt Cellular Network

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

Who’s going to start settings these sorts of things up in American cities to power decentralized wireless networks?

Taser adds mobile phone monitoring tool to its arsenal

Hot on the heels of this court decision, it looks like Taser is trying to diversify their product offerings:

Stun gun maker Taser wants to help parents, not with jolts of electricity but with a tool which allows parents to effectively take over a child’s mobile phone and manage its use.

“Basically we’re taking old fashioned parenting and bringing it into the mobile world,” Taser chairman and co-founder Tom Smith said at the Consumer Electronics Show here, where the Arizona company unveiled the new product.

“Because when you give your child his mobile phone you don’t know who they’re talking to, what they’re sending or texting, all of those things,” Smith told AFP.

The phone application, called “Mobile Protector,” allows a parent to screen a child’s incoming and outgoing calls and messages, block particular numbers and even listen in on a conversation.

A dashboard on a parent’s phone or a personal computer shows the mobiles being monitored and the permitted callers such as friends and family.

AFP: Taser adds mobile phone monitoring tool to its arsenal

(via Cryptogon)

Rwanda mobile phone revenue could reach US$1 billion by 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa is not famous for technological innovation but a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that mobile telephone use has grown twice as quickly there as anywhere else in the world. Even in tiny Rwanda, the government estimates that revenue from mobile phones will reach US$1 billion by 2012.

Africa Confidential: Don’t forget your SIM card (Free preview, haven’t read full article)

(via Appropedia)

Iraq’s mobile phone revolution

Asked to name the single biggest benefit of America’s invasion, many Iraqis fail to mention freedom or democracy but instead praise the advent of mobile phones, which were banned under Saddam Hussein. Many Iraqis seem to feel more liberated by them than by the prospect of elected resident government.

In the five years since the first network started up, the number of subscribers has soared to 20m (in a population of around 27m), while the electricity supply is hardly better than in Mr Hussein’s day. That is double the rate for Lebanon, where a civil war ended two decades ago and income per head is four times higher. […]

They also became a tool of commerce. Reluctant to risk their lives by visiting a bank, many subscribers transferred money to each other by passing on the serial numbers of scratch cards charged with credit, like gift vouchers. Recipients simply add the credit to their account or sell it on to shops that sell the numbers at a slight discount from the original. This impromptu market has turned mobile-phone credit into a quasi-currency, undermining the traditional informal hawala banking system.

Economist: Better than freedom?

(via Chris Arkenberg)

Somali mobile phone firms thrive despite chaos

Somalia’s mobile phone business is booming despite the almost daily artillery fire that flies over expensive satellite dishes and the violence that has brought misery to the population of the Horn of Africa nation.

The three largest firms, Hormuud Telecom, Nation Link and Telecom Somalia, have a combined 1.8 million mobile users who enjoy some of the world’s cheapest calling rates, allowing them to stay in touch with their loved ones amidst the conflict. […]

With mobile phone use at about 18 percent of the population, Somalia lags its neighbour and east Africa’s largest economy Kenya, where it is above 40 percent, but it is ahead of several other poor African nations.

Reuters: Somali mobile phone firms thrive despite chaos

(via Global Guerillas)

Transborder Immigrant Tool Helps Mexicans Cross Over Safely

transborder

The hacker/performance art/activist organization Electronic Disturbance Theater has invented a new device, the Transborder Immigrant Tool:

We looked at the Motorola i455 cell phone, which is under $30, available even cheaper on eBay, and includes a free GPS applet. We were able to crack it and create a simple compasslike navigation system. We were also able to add other information, like where to find water left by the Border Angels, where to find Quaker help centers that will wrap your feet, how far you are from the highway—things to make the application really benefit individuals who are crossing the border.

Some background:

In the 80s I was a member of something called the Critical Art Ensemble. We wrote a series of books published in the 90s that speculated on what the future, and computers especially, might bring. Our core speculations were that we would see the emergence of three different arcs of capitalism in the 90s: digital capitalism, genetic capitalism or clone capitalism, and particle capitalism or nano-driven technology. We decided we would speculate not only on the artistic aspect of these emerging capitalisms but also on how we could intervene as artist-activists into each of these areas. We developed the idea of electronic civil disobedience as a way to mediate the emergence of digital capitalism. Some Critical Art Ensemble members have even been arrested for their work. One in particular, Steve Kurtz, was brought before a grand jury in 2004. Homeland Security considered his use of nonpathogenic bacteria in certain museum installations a bioterrorist threat.

Vice: Transborder Immigrant Tool Helps Mexicans Cross Over Safely

(Thanks Josh Ellis)

Disappearing bees not due to cell phones

Good story for sure, except that the study in question had nothing to do with mobile phones and was actually investigating the influence of electromagnetic fields, especially those used by cordless phones that work on fixed-line networks, on the learning ability of bees. The small study, according to the researchers who carried it out too small for the results to be considered significant, found that the electromagnetic fields similar to those used by cordless phones may interrupt the innate ability of bees to find the way back to their hive.

Full Story: International Herald Tribune.

(via The Guardian via Robot Wisdom).

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