TagMobile Technology

New Interview with Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case

Cyborg Annthropology

Cyborganthropology.com, Cases website dedicated to the subject, identifies three categories of human-machine combo: “cybernetic organism”; “hybrid of machine and organism”; and “creature of both fiction and lived social reality.

“Case believes its the increasingly mobile internet and its ability to act as an extension of the brain—to store and share unique information with increasing automation and independence—thats turning more and more people cyborg. As Case says, shes not talking about Terminator, shes talking about the Facebook wall and the Twitter stream; how these technologies give us the ability to create an external version of our personalities with which others can interact in our physical absence.

She borrows the term “second self,” originally coined by sociologist Sherry Turkle, to describe this unique digital existence.”When people first went online, they had avatars and fake names and silly pictures and would play around with… multiple identities and it wasnt a big deal,” explains Case. “It was fun, it was play. Now, peoples identities are tied. You sign up to Facebook with your real name.

“Not only does the modern internet user create a second self thats more closely related to the person behind the machine, but their relationships with their computing devices are becoming more intimate. An integral aspect of Cases cyborg studies is to track these changes.

Portland Mercury: I, Cyborg

My interview with Amber is here.

Hoppala: The Blogger of Augmented Reality?

When content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Blogger hit the Web several years ago, the Internet entered a new age where it became quick and easy for anyone with a computer to contribute content. This week, augmented reality (AR) took a significant step toward becoming more like the read/write Web with the launch of an online mobile AR CMS for creating content on the Layar platform.

“Augmentation” – a Web-based tool for generating mobile AR content – was created by Layar Partner Network member Hoppala. With a Layar developer account, users of Augmentation can easily and instantaneously place their content in Layar with zero code and a few clicks on a map. Custom icons, images, audio, video and 3D content can all be added by way of a full screen map interface, and Hoppala will even host all of the data.

ReadWriteWeb: Augmented Reality Becoming More Like the Read/Write Web

Previously: Create your own augmented reality maps – Layar tutorial – but this looks even easier.

The State of Wireless Electricity – Will We be Able to Power Devices from Thin Air?

wireless electricity

The Economist round-up various wireless electricity projects, most of which focus on “ambient” energy from “existing radio waves produced by television, radio and mobile-phone transmitters.”

The first devices to be powered entirely by ambient energy are likely to be sensors, calculators and clocks. But the hope is that music-players, e-readers and mobile phones will eventually follow, says Dr Smith. There are other means of harvesting ambient energy, from vibrations, movement or heat. But the attraction of radio waves is that they are pretty much everywhere. It’s like recycling energy, says Dr Fisher. “It’s energy that’s around, and is not doing anything else,” he says.

The Economist: Power from thin air

Mobile journalism production and news distribution in South Africa

Ethan Zuckerman writes:

The journalists behind the Lindaba Ziyafika project are largely unemployed adults in their early 20s. They’re producing content that’s ending up in the 140 year old newspaper that serves Grahamstown. The content is distributed first via online media – SMS, messages through systems like MXit (an incredibly clever hack that uses the cheaper data connectivity available on African cellphones to evade the huge expenses of SMS messages), Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is now the most used site in South Africa, and Twitter is the 9th. […]

What can we learn from the project? Making citizen media work in poor countries requires:
– heavy training and some cash incentives for participants
– mobile news first, print second
– embrace of mobile-friendly platforms

In the long run, revenue may come from time-sensitive advertising – coupons that expire quickly, requiring users to watch closely and act fact – 50% off bananas at the local market… now 49%, now 48%. They’re just starting to implement this and waiting to see what comes next.

Ethan Zuckerman: Lindaba Ziyafika – The News is Coming

What from that plan isn’t also applicable to the United States, with its failing old media business models, high youth unemployment, and high cell phone penetration?

Augmented reality for the blind

LookTel- augmented reality for the blind

Now here’s a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. LookTel is an object identifier – you point it at something and it tells you what it is. You can teach it to recognize new objects and by aiming it at a product, the program can tell what it is using real speech and when you need to ID something on the fly, you can stick on an image sticker and read that sticker. It’s more or less a barcode and QR scanner with some image recognition thrown in, but it really could be a boon to those with failing – or failed – eyesight.

The system needs a little more computing power than is available in the average smartphone so you need a local PC to help ID some things.

CrunchGear: LookTel, an app for the blind

(Via Augmented Timessee also their previous post on AR and blindness)

Create your own augmented reality maps – Layar tutorial

Layar

Do you want to make your own layer? This tutorial tells you how to do it! These are the requirements to create your own layer:

Webserver with PHP and JSON support
MySQL database with phpMyAdmin
For testing: Layar installation on your iPhone 3GS or Android based phone (with GPS and compass)

Stedelijk Museum: Creating a Layar layer: a step by step tutorial

(via Bruce Sterling)

Skinput turns your arm into a touchscreen

Skinput

In Skinput, a keyboard, menu, or other graphics are beamed onto a user’s palm and forearm from a pico projector embedded in an armband. An acoustic detector in the armband then determines which part of the display is activated by the user’s touch. As the researchers explain, variations in bone density, size, and mass, as well as filtering effects from soft tissues and joints, mean different skin locations are acoustically distinct. Their software matches sound frequencies to specific skin locations, allowing the system to determine which “skin button” the user pressed.

Read More –PhysOrg: Skinput turns your arm into a touchscreen

(via Edge of Tomorrow)

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?

Re-skinning the city – the dark side of augmented reality

who framed roger rabbit

Years ago, I had an idea for a futuristic pair of goggles that visually transformed homeless people into lovable animated cartoon characters. Instead of being confronted by the conscience-pricking sight of an abandoned heroin addict shivering themselves to sleep in a shop doorway, the rich city-dweller wearing the goggles would see Daffy Duck snoozing dreamily in a hammock. London would be transformed into something out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

What’s more, the goggles could be adapted to suit whichever level of poverty you wanted to ignore: by simply twisting a dial, you could replace not just the homeless but anyone who receives benefits, or wears cheap clothes, or has a regional accent, or watches ITV, and so on, right up the scale until it had obliterated all but the most grandiose royals.

At the time this seemed like a sick, far-off fantasy. By 2013, it’ll be just another customisable application you can download to your iBlinkers for 49p, alongside one that turns your friends into supermodels and your enemies into dormice.

Futurismic: Re-skinning the city – the dark side of augmented reality

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