Locative Lab

researching locative media

The Future of Bluetooth Technology… a quick Google overview

What’s the future for Bluetooth

Bluetooth has a good future ahead because it meets a basic need of connectivity in close proximity, is the result of initiatives of nine leading communications and computer industry vendors including companies like 3-COM, Ericsson, Lucent, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Toshiba etc. Since the formation of the original group, more than 1800 manufacturers worldwide have joined the initiative worldwide. According to one market research report, Bluetooth technology is expected to be built into over100 millions devices before the end of 2002. According to still another report from market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group, there will be over 670 million Bluetooth enabled devices worldwide by 2005.

As a result of success of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), adoption of smart phones and handheld devices, Bluetooth will have tremendous effects on everyday life. Bluetooth is one of the key technologies that can make the mobile information society possible, blurring the boundaries between home, the office, and the outside world. The seamless connectivity promised by Bluetooth makes it possible to explore a range of interactive and highly transparent personalized services which wereeven difficult to dream of because of the complexity involved in making various devices talk to each other. Already many Bluetooth pilot products have rolled into the market backed by big vendors, which is a very healthy sign for the acceptance of the technology. The support for Bluetooth is not limitedto companies developing Bluetooth enabled products only. Bluetooth applications can have far reaching impacts on many other industries as well. Bluetooth technology adoption is expected to be widespread throughout the computer and telecommunications industry. Implementation of the Bluetooth technology is expected to grow the market for personal mobile devices and indirectly increase airtime usage for wireless data. Over the long term. manufacturers will also benefit from the ability to replace multiple connection ports with a single Bluetooth module, gaining economies at the production level. The Bluetooth SIG has defined favorable adoption terms, including open, royalty-free availability of the specification and is playing an important role in spreading the technology.


Bluetooth roadmap, improved speed

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today released a three year roadmap for Bluetooth, the close range wireless standard.

Changes include speed, power and security. You can expect devicesreflecting the 2004 changes in the next 6-9 months. Here’s ayear-by-year look:


  • Version 2.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) — Triples the maximum data rates to three megabits per second (mbps) while using less power


  • Quality of Service (QoS), Security and Power Consumption — Bluetooth SIGwill test and release a new version of the specification that willfurther enhance the usability of multi-device scenarios, improveoverall security, and dramatically improve power consumption, enablingBluetooth sensors to last for multiple years on a single battery.
  • QoS enhancements address a need for more Bluetooth devices to beconnected and run simultaneously, without latency or interference.
  • This specification will enhance privacy during pairing bysuggesting longer, alphanumeric pins, dramatically reducing thepossibility for a security breach.


  • Multi-cast, Security and Performance — Multi-cast capabilitieswill allow the same message to be sent to multiple devices one time,simultaneously allowing for improved usability and power consumption inapplications like multiplayer gaming, multiple stereo headphones andspeakers.
  • Already a remote risk, privacy enhancements will make it impossiblefor a device in non-discoverable mode to be located in even the mostadvanced, multi-year attack.
  • Performance enhancements will increase the range of very low power Bluetooth enabled sensors to approximately 100 meters.


Bluetooth Roadmap

EE Times reports the Bluetooth Special Interest Groupthis week will unveil its road map out to 2006. It emphasizes higherdata rates, lower power, improved security, quality-of-service and anaccelerated qualification program, while opening opportunities inindustrial sensors and home automation and security.

EE Times says many in the industry wonder if it may be toolate, and if Bluetooth may get squeezed by Wi-Fi and the emergingflavors of ultrawideband (UWB) communications on the high end and aclutch of contenders on the low. These include Zigbee, RFID andnear-field communications.

The Zigbee specificationis close to being formally announced. Companies such as Ember,Freescale and Chipcon already have Zigbee-compliant chips ready formarket.

Near-Field Communicationsis being pushed hard by Philips, Sony and now Nokia. What is it?Devices like cell phones communicate with a combination of contactlessidentification and interconnection technologies. It allows the user toeasily access a variety of services and exchange information withsimple touch gestures with devices within a few centimeters.

The Bluetooth SIG plans to leverage Bluetooth’s strengths as alow-power, low-cost, robust ad hoc personal connectivity scheme — andbuild from there. Those inherent strengths have gained Bluetooth asolid footing as a headset technology for PCs, PDAs and cell phones,with automotive hands-free applications also gaining traction.According to ABI Research (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), more than 22 millionvehicles will have factory-installed Bluetooth by 2008, representing 16percent of the global automobile market. InStat/MDR expects totalBluetooth IC shipments to reach 721 million by 2008, with revenuetotaling $1.7 billion.

Other enhancements outlined in the road map involvequality-of-service, security, power consumption and range. The questionof security and privacy is problematic. The PIN is only four digits,which amounts to 10,000 possible combinations, so it can be cracked ina matter of hours, said Mike Foley, executive and technical director ofthe Bluetooth SIG. The SIG plans to switch to longer-sequencealphanumeric PINs, “to drive the number of combinations into themillions to make [cracking the PIN] impractical.”

Lower power is critical for Bluetooth since almost all itsapplications are battery-powered. “We’ve learned quite a bit on howpower is generated during data transmissions, etc., and we’re going totake that knowledge and take optimizations and update the specificationin 2005,” Foley said. He predicted that such optimizations will notonly enhance the current class of Bluetooth devices, but also enableBluetooth to tackle a whole new class of applications.


The Future of Bluetooth

The future success of Bluetooth remains to be seen, yet there are strong indicators that the technology will continue to grow. A massive number of Bluetooth enabled products are available now and hundreds of new products are poised to hit the market soon. According to Mobile Pipeline’s Carl Weinschenk, “Phil Solis, an analyst with Allied Business Intelligence, says that there [were] about 80 million Bluetooth products shipped [in 2003]. About 55 million of those were in cellular handsets. About 300 million Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship [in 2004], about two-thirds will be mobile handsets” (Mobile Pipeline). Manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways to implement Bluetooth in various industries, including auto, medicine, restaurants, hotels, home appliances, and more. It is clear that the possibilities for Bluetooth stretch far into the horizon.

The fact that thousands of companies have invested considerable sums of money in Bluetooth also indicates that the technology will be promoted for quite some time to come. SIG is determined not to let Bluetooth technology become obsolete in light of newer technology. On May 4, 2005, SIG announced its intent to work with the developers of ultra-wide band (UWB) in order to combine strengths of both technologies (Palo Wireless UWB Resource Center). Created by Sandia National Laboratories, a Lockheed Martin company working for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, UWB is faster, more secure, and can transfer larger amounts of data than Bluetooth, including high resolution video (vunet.com). By partnering with UWB, SIG has ensured that Bluetooth will be able to compete with new technology. With a sound plan for the future, little competition, and consumers chomping at the bit for more, it appears that Bluetooth technology is here to stay.





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Cambridge Consultants develop NFC diabetes management device

If near field communication (NFC) is good enough for handling your money,then surely it must be good enough for managing vital healthinformation, no? At least that’s what Cambridge Consultants ispromising, recently unveiling an NFC-based concept device developed inconjunction with Philips that could potentially be used by people tomanage diabetes. The system consists of a wireless glucometer and aninsulin pump which interact with each other to determine the properdose of insulin by simply waving the two devices near each other,working just as well underneath clothing. And while they’ve focusedsolely on diabetes thus far, the researchers say near fieldcommunications could potentially be applied to a wide range ofmedicinal applications, including pain relief, asthma and respiratorycare, and gastric electrical stimulation therapy, among others.


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A Shopping Phone

Toshiba mobile-phone software will offer online reviews of products by using bar codes.TOKYO (AP) — Checking out the Internet buzz about a DVD, book or candy while on the go will become as easy as taking a snapshot of the bar code on the product.

Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics company that makes DVD players, laptops and nuclear power plants, has developed mobile-phone technology that searches for product reviews on up to 100 Web journals, or blogs, in 10 seconds.

Just use the phone’s digital camera to snap a photo of the bar code of a product you’re thinking about buying. The technology can decipher if the blog chatter is positive or negative and tallies the count to show if a product is getting rave reviews or being trashed by consumers. That’s useful if you’re in a store about to buy an item. Some of the more frequently visited blogs will also show up on the screen. The bar-code information is sent wirelessly to a Toshiba server, which gathers data on blogs from the Internet and analyzes them, and then sends a reply back to the cell phone.

Toshiba expects to have information on thousands of products covering just about anything you might buy at a store — from toys to electronic gadgets to food.

Toshiba plans to test the software at Japanese stores next month and hopes to offer it as a service on cell phones before April 2007, although details aren’t decided. Blog searches and bar codes that link to Web pages are already available on personal computers and portable devices, but Toshiba officials say their technology is convenient for shopping because it’s for cell phones and carries out real-time blog searches from bar-codes.


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Philips illuminates IFA 2006 with production-ready Lumalive textile garments

Eindhoven, the Netherlands – Philips Research intends to impress the visitors at this year’s IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung) with a world-first demonstration of promotional jackets and furniture featuring its innovative Lumalive technology. Lumalive textiles make it possible to create fabrics that carry dynamic advertisements, graphics and constantly changing color surfaces. The Philips stand in Hall 22 will act as a showcase for the Lumalive textile products that will be worn by Philips’ hostesses and embedded into booth furniture of the Future Zone.

Although the technology has been developed only recently —early prototypes were exhibited at IFA 2005— Philips Research has made immense progress in fully integrating Lumalive fabrics into garments demonstrated by the jackets worn by Philips’ hostesses at the show. These first-generation jackets are ready for commercialization by companies partnering with Philips Research, particularly those in the promotional industry looking for a new, high-impact medium. Interested parties could use the technology to transform their event and enhance their visitors’ experiences

.Jacket with Philips Lumalive fabrics


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Pimp your mobile: it’s the future!

Althoughby ‘the future’ I mean ’something quite fun to blog about on a wetThursday afternoon. Anyway, I’ve just found this site, Mod Your Mob,which appears to be something to do with Orange. And it’s basically acollection of people who’ve modified their mobile phone, and uploadedphotos to prove it.

The site claims that Sony Ericsson are going to actually make the best one that gets submitted. This crocodile one (pictured) rules!


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Six Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life

1. Pay By Phone

The idea of using your phone to make payments has been aroundfor several years but is finally gaining serious traction, starting inJapan where NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest cellular carrier, launched its mobile wallet program in2004. The number of handsets that support the company’s new paymentsystem has grown to nearly 12 million, according to Karen Lurker,communications manager in the U.S. for DoCoMo,

Thesephones–and those that are expected to be introduced soon in theU.S.–use a wireless technology called Near Field Communications (NFC).You wave the phone near a point-of-sale terminal that supports thetechnology, and it automatically pays for the item.

DoCoMohandles payment two ways, according to Lurker. The first is DoCoMo’sOsaifu-Keitai service, which enables you download credits worth as muchas 10,000 yen per month, or about $95, to your phone via the company’si-mode data service. When you wave the phone in front of the terminal,the amount of the purchase is deducted from the amount of creditcarried on your phone. The amount you actually spend appears on yourmonthly cell phone bill.

With the second method, the phone works like a credit card, withyour bill being sent to you separately by the credit-card company.Ultimately, you’ll be able to download your spending information tosoftware on your personal computer so you can monitor your expenses.

Amajor limiting factor: Merchants must buy new point-of-sale terminals.There are currently about 78,000 stores in Japan with terminals thatsupport Osaifu-Keitai and about 25,000 that work with thecredit-card-like service, though the numbers are expected to ramp-up,Lurker said.

2. Commanding Presence

If you use instant messaging, you already know about “presencetechnology”–the mechanism that tells you if somebody on your IM buddylist is online, offline, busy, or away from their desk. But soon,phones and other mobile devices will have supercharged presencecapabilities that not only provide details about your availability butalso help make you, and those you connect with, far more efficient andproductive.

Ata simple level, you will be able to program presence capabilities sothat the phone rings when specific people call while others areautomatically routed to voice mail. These presence “rules” will be tiedto your location–pinpointed by GPS capabilities in your mobiledevice–and will change automatically as you arrive, leave, or are enroute to specific locations.

Chris Isaac, a partner in thePricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory practice specializing in the wirelessindustry, is a believer. “The system will know, for example, if I’mtraveling between my primary work location and a client,” says Issac.”I will be able to set it so that if some people call at certain times,they’ll go to voice e-mail, but if my wife calls, she’ll get putthrough.”

Microsoft, IBM and others have quietly been hopping on the presence bandwagon. Forinstance, Microsoft put presence capabilities in its LiveCommunications Server 2005 to assist with collaboration on documents.Early examples of mobile presence-based services use your cell phone topinpoint your location and send you relevant traffic information whileyou drive. Google ,for instance, is in beta testing with Google Mobile Maps, a system thatprovides real-time traffic information to your cell phone.

Techgurus predict that this technology will make its presence felt inplenty of other applications. In the meantime, standards-setting bodieshave been busy for the last several years developing common protocolsfor exchanging presence information. The completion of that processwill greatly accelerate the development of applications that usepresence technology.

3. Internet Everywhere And Embedded In Everything

Soon it won’t be just desktop and laptop computers and mobile devicesthat will connect to the Internet. It also will be myriad otherdevices, ranging from video cameras to heating and cooling systems athome. And access will be available from virtually anywhere.

Ubiquitousconnectivity is already becoming a reality. Cellular operators inmedium-sized U.S. cities, for instance, are offering 3G data service,with typical speeds of about 500 Kbps. In addition to 3G, mobilebroadband technologies such as mobile WiMAX will start being deployedwidely in the next year. The presence and location capabilitiesdescribed above can also be integrated into these newly connecteddevices.

For instance, say you are traveling and have an earlyflight. If that flight is delayed, the information could be sentdirectly to your Internet-enabled travel alarm clock, which couldautomatically reset itself so you can get a bit more shut-eye, saysIssac of PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Plus, the system could notify yourassistant of the delay so that when they get to the office they’reaware of the changes,” he added.

Embedding the Internet intoeveryday devices is not a new idea. Several years ago, appliancemanufacturers were showing off Internet-connected refrigerators,microwave ovens and the like. At the time, they were toutingapplications such as the ability for the refrigerator to sense when,say, you are almost out of milk. It could then, in that early vision,automatically order more milk for home delivery.

Things havechanged–and even more useful applications are being developed. “Usingthe current 3G network, there are [potential] opportunities to interactwith appliances in the home,” said NTT DoCoMo’s Lurker. “You couldswitch your burglar alarm on or off or have an alert sent to yourhandset if the burglar alarm goes off.”

A service called Roboriorhas already emerged in Japan. Here, a robot armed with wireless camerasenables users to monitor their home while they are away. If it senses abreak-in, Roborior calls homeowners’ cell phones to alert them.

Inthe future, Lurker said, systems are likely to emerge that can be setto automatically cool the house down (or warm it up, depending on theseason) when you are a certain distance from home. Some vendors arestarting to make home infrastructure applications available that workvia text messaging. And at least one vendor offers control of ovens viacell phones, so that you can start the cooking process before you gethome.

When these new applications will be widely available remains to be seen. But all the pieces are falling into place.

4. Ubiquitous Media

In the last year, the most talked-about type of mobile media hasbeen television, but there’s doubt about how successful TV delivered tocell phones will be. So far, it hasn’t been a huge success in Japan,where these types of trends often get an early foothold.

Doug Neal, a research fellow for global systems integration firm Computer Sciences Corporation‘s Leading Edge Forum Executive Programme, said the real story may well bemaking media transmissions a two-way street. That means you could, forinstance, send live video-casts of your vacation to family and friends.

Thereis also an obvious business application for this sort of technology.”The use of two-way videophones will be important,” says Neal. “If I’mdoing business with you, I want to look you in the eye.”

Whileubiquitous mobile entertainment is readily available, cellularoperators have to get more realistic about their media offerings, manyof which are currently too expensive and too limited, says Scott Smith,an analyst with Social Technologies, a research and consulting firm inWashington, D.C.

“So far, downloading media [to mobile devices]costs a lot and isn’t that great an experience,” Smith said. “Theoperators are going to have to give up some control, open it up andcharge less.” Today, cellular carriers want to sell you media but don’twant you downloading media from sources they don’t control. But thatwill change, says Smith, when competitive technologies such as mobileWiMAX start becoming available.

5. Easier, Better Health Monitoring

Having your blood pressure checked takes just a minute or two. But ifyou are housebound, elderly or frail, getting to a place where yourblood pressure can be taken, logged into your medical records and madepart of a diagnosis is a bit trickier.

Enterwireless-network-enabled measuring and monitoring equipment. Instead ofscheduling an appointment and finding transportation, patients can wearmonitors that transmit their vital signs directly to their medicalproviders. That information can be automatically recorded and reviewedby medical personnel. When emergencies occur, doctors can be givenaccurate information while they are en route to the patient that willhelp them respond better.

Many of the pieces have been in placefor a while. But the increasingly ubiquitous nature of the Internet isspeeding development and adoption of “telemedicine” applications, suchas remote monitoring of blood pressure, blood glucose and heartconditions.

This sort of wireless transmission of health data isnot limited to sending information to doctors. Increasingly, it willalso help regular citizens monitor their loved ones. “If you have aparent who needs attention but who lives somewhere else, you can know,’Did Dad get up, has he taken his medication and, if he’s sleeping,does he have a decent sleeping heart rate?'” says Smith. “There alreadyare a couple of handsets that can deal with that type of information.”

6. Do You Know Where Your Kids (And Trucks) Are?

Parents worry–that’s a given. But special cell phones can help.

Lastyear, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo released a cell phone for children thatenables parents to track their whereabouts. “There are GPS capabilitiesbuilt into the phone so the parent can find out at all times where thechild is,” says Lurker. “If the child feels they’re in danger, they canhit a button and a very loud alert is sounded. And if somebody tries totake the battery out, an alarm goes out to the parent. This phone isextremely popular.”

Another monitoring application–a high-techbreathalyzer–using cellular data was created for a trucking company inJapan. “The [driver] takes the test over a live video connection withtheir headquarters,” explains Linker. “The video phone confirms thedriver is the one doing the test, not somebody else.”

Of course,monitoring people in real time raises some sticky issues. “The pushbackcomes when, say, you start watching where your spouse is or co-workersare,” says Smith of Social Technologies. “Obviously, there are privacyissues.”

Whatever the social implications, the ability to trackthe movements of others can save money and lower risks for enterprises.For instance, an insurance carrier in England called More Th>n (sic)has a low-cost policy called DriveTime for young drivers who promisenot to drive between the high-risk hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thecompany installs a GPS in their cars, and charges a premium dependingon how often they drive at night, thus reducing the number of accidents.


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Cattle producers embracing wireless

Even cows are going wireless. Agricultural technology company TekVet is using wireless radio frequency identification technology to monitor the health of cattle to ensure the safety of beef and dairy products.

The live tracking technology is the first of its kind in which an RFID sensor inserted into an animal’s ear relays its body temperature, location and more to a series of wireless receiving stations from a range of 300 feet to 500 feet away. The collected data of millions of cows at a time are then transmitted to TekVet’s data center of IBM servers via a private satellite network. TekVet said the system that monitors individual cattle for infections can help dairy and beef producers treat illnesses earlier and segregate sick animals from the healthy. The company is deploying the technology mainly in major beef-producing markets in Asia and Latin America.


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London Bus Ads Change as Locations Do

GPS Technology Powers Dynamic Geo-Targeted Out-of-home Ads

LONDON (AdAge.com) — For the first time London buses can change their advertising messages according to their location, thanks to GPS technology being pioneered by U.K. directory service Yell.com.

Digital is becoming the fastest-growing sector in out of home, says Hyperspace's James Davies, as shown by bus ads in London.

Digital is becoming the fastest-growing sector in out of home, says Hyperspace’s James Davies, as shown by bus ads in London.

Find a gym in Marble Arch

The location-specific advertising is making its debut in London in September with a campaign created by digital agency AKQA, London. As a bus travels its route, the advertising message will change. For example, it might suggest “Find a gym in Marble Arch” and later “Discover a restaurant in Charing Cross.” Marketers will now be able to highlight product promotions near their stores or drive sales of slow-moving products in individual areas.

“Taking the simple proposition that Yell.com gives you results for real life and using media channels that allow us to target messages geographically, the advertising effectively demonstrates Yell.com’s local expertise and the breadth of information the site offers,” said Barbara Newman, Yell.com’s head of communications and brand development.

As well as the changing bus messages, Yell.com (part of Yell Group, which also owns Yellow Book in the U.S.) will be first to make use of digital six-sheets at bus shelters.

Out of home goes interactiveThese include interactive screens highlighting local stores, restaurants and bars. Each execution is customized for the location and pedestrians can interact with the poster to reveal a local map showing the shops, restaurants and bars within walking distance.

James Davies, board director at Hyperspace, the digital arm of outdoor-media agency Posterscope, which worked on the campaign, said, “Digital is the fastest-growing sector within out-of-home advertising due to its ability to add new levels of flexibility both from a media-planning and a creative perspective.”


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Electronic bugs turning up in Britain’s rubbish bins

Electronic spy ‘bugs’ have been secretly planted in hundreds of thousands of household wheelie bins, reports Sunday’s Daily Mail.

The gadgets – mostly installed by companies basedin Germany – transmit information about the contents of the bins to acentral database which then keeps records on the waste disposal habitsof each individual address.

Already some 500,000 bins in council districts acrossEngland have been fitted with the bugs – with nearly all areas expectedto follow suit within the next couple of years.

Until now, the majority of bins have been altered without theknowledge of their owners. In many cases, councils which ordered theinstallation of the devices did not even debate the proposals publicly.

The official reason for the bugs is to ‘improve efficiency’ andsettle disputes between neighbours over wheelie-bin ownership. Butexperts say the technology is actually intended to enable councils toimpose fines on householders who exceed limits on the amount ofnon-recyclable waste they put out.

… According to onservative MP Andrew Pellingm ‘This is nothingmore than a spy in the bin and I don’t think even the old Soviet Unionmade such an intrusion into people’s personal lives.

‘It is Big Brother gone mad. I think a more British way of doing things is to seek to persuade people rather than spy on them.’


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Photos of wifi space

Source: http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/008888.php

Today, we are increasingly creating and responding (sometimes in a very painful way) to non-visual electromagnetic fields: those emanating from our devices and environments. What might a camera obscura for our age look like? How might it reveal the relationship we have to our data environments?


Wifi Camera Obscura reveals the electromagnetic space of our devices and the shadows that we create within such spaces, in particular our wifi networks which are increasingly found throughout cities of the developed world. The data are scanned, analysed and translated into a luminous composition projected, line after line, on a wall. Different SSIDs are assigend different colors.

A collaboration between Usman Haque, Bengt Sjölén and Adam Somlai-Fischer.

The work is currently exhibited: at Waves in Riga until Sept 17, than a second version of it will be shown at Perimeters, Boundaries and Borders, Folly, in Lancaster, UK from Sept 29 to October 21.

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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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