Locative Lab

researching locative media

Cameraphone used to control computers in 3D

dn13187-1_250.jpg A camera-equipped cellphone can be used to control a computer as if it was a three-dimensional mouse, thanks to prototype software developed by UK researchers. New Scientist reports.

“The software makes it possible to move and manipulate onscreen items simply by waving a handset around in front of a screen, a bit like the motion-sensitive Nintendo Wii controller.

To control a screen, a user simply aims their cellphone’s camera at it. The handset then connects, via Bluetooth, to the computer that operates that screen.

The current prototype, which can be used to control a desktop computer, is just the first step.”



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Researchers Use Camera Phone as a Mouse


Researchers in the U.K. have developed software that loads camera phones with mouse capabilities, allowing users to swivel a camera phone to scroll or move items on a PC screen, reports PC World.

“While the software is in its infancy, the technology could enable people to use camera phones to scroll public displays to get further information on products or purchase items like plane tickets.

Communicating with a PC via Bluetooth wireless technology, users can either move the cell phone or use a stylus on the cell phone’s screen to also scroll through a computer screen, said Patrick Olivier, an associate professor at Newcastle University.

Olivier is working on developing the technology with researchers Nick Pears of York University and Dan Jackson of Newcastle University.”

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Zoom lense for the iPhone


sku_10813_1.jpg sku_10813_2_small.jpg

Spotted on Cameraphone Report, a 6×18 zoom lens lens for the iPhone by Conice.

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Sneak Preview: iPhoneCam



Use your iPhone’s camera as a wireless Mac webcam! Stream video over Wi-Fi to any Mac video application such as iChat, Photo Booth or Skype.
Some History:

After the C4 Iron Coder contest where we made the video conferencing iPhone app, we put down our iPhones and got back to writing Mac software for the rest of year. Nobody knew, and we still don’t know, what the future of these iPhone apps would and will hold.

Last week I had a strange urge to get back on the iPhone again and solve some problems that had left us stumped this summer. More specifically, I wanted to get streaming video from the camera. (If you remember our video demo at C4, the frame rate was quite low. This was because, under the strict time limit of the conferece, we weren’t able to grab from the camera any faster than a frame or two per second.)

Meet iPhoneCam:

Click to download a recording of an iChat video conference where I demo it to Glen.

I figured it out: Now we can stream at up to 30 fps. My proof-of-concept is an iPhone app which streams video over Wi-Fi to a video driver component on the Mac. This way, you can use the iPhone’s camera stream in any Mac video program like iChat, Photo Booth or Skype.

Using iChatUSBCam (so that iChat can see non-iSight video sources), I did a video conference with Glen to show him how it looks. He recorded it with Conference Recorder so that we could share it on the blog. You can download a demo video here.

But I haven’t gotten to the clever bit yet.

The Clever Bit:

bonjourThe iPhone app and the Mac component find each other using Bonjour (zeroconf). There’s absolutely no configuration necessary. If there’s an iPhone-based camera available, the Mac finds it and uses it automatically. Glen had the idea to see if Bonjour could be used, and we noticed that IDMResearch had already provided a nice wrapper around CFNetService.

FAA: (Frequently Answered Answers)

A: No, it only streams video.

A: No, it’s only for Mac users.

A: iPhoneCam is not yet available to download. We’ll have something for folks to try soon. Stop by our booth at MacWorld Expo and maybe we can give you a live demo!

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EU regulations against free urban WiFi clouds?

Dublin leaders stopped a plan to cover the Irish city with a free WiFi cloud, in part because European Union regulations seemed to prohibit it, “contrary to EU law on state aid.”

(Note, too, that the plan was also terminated because, as with most of the USA experience, it didn’t pay for itself)

(via BoingBoing)

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Good Phone for Bad Ears

post from textually.org:


InventorSpot has a review of the latest Clarity™ phone, the C4230 from Plantronics, designed for the hearing impaired. With features like an adjustable sound equalizer to tune the audio to a particular hearing loss type, light ringer, vibrator, and optional bed shaker, the phone seems like a serious attempt to solve a number of hearing related problems.

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The Kiss Phone

post from textually.org


Spotted on Just another Mobile Phone Blog, the “Kiss Phone”. It is able to simulate kisses when sent from the person you are talking to.

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Cyclists’ cellphones help monitor air pollution

post from textually.org

dn13130-1_250.jpg Cellphones used by bicycle couriers are monitoring air pollution in Cambridge, UK, and beaming the data back to a research lab. [via
New Scientist]

“The technique is made possible by small wireless pollution sensors and custom software that allows the phones to report levels of air pollutants wherever they happen to be around town.

Eiman Kanjo, computer scientist at Cambridge University, UK, and the leading technical development of the project gave local cycle couriers air-pollution sensors and GPS units that connect to their cellphones via Bluetooth. Custom software lets the phone constantly report the current air quality and location to servers back in the lab.

“They cycle around the city as usual and we receive the data over the cellphone network,” says Kanjo. “We can find out what pollutants people are exposed to and where.”

The sensors are carried inside storage bins on the couriers’ bikes and record levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen dioxide.”

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Egyptian woman in legal test of SMS divorce

post from textually.org

An Egyptian woman is seeking clarification from a court on whether her husband’s declaration of divorce by text message is legally valid, a state-run newpsaper reported on Thursday. The AFP reports.

“After missing a call from her husband on her mobile phone, Iqbal Abul Nasr received a text message from him saying “I divorce you because you didn’t answer your husband,” Al-Akhbar said.

It was the third time Abul Nasr, an engineer from Cairo, received a divorce text message from her husband, prompting her to seek a legal decision from the a family court on the status of her marriage.

If the court declares the couple divorced, it would be the first reported case of divorce by SMS in Egypt.

The subject of divorce by SMS has been highly debated across the Muslim world and some Islamic countries like Malaysia have banned the practice.”

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The Freedom Phone (concept)

post from textually.org


Spotted on Yanko Design, the Freedom Phone, by designer Vadim Kibardin.
Freedom Phone is a small pre-paid phone that is unique in design and unique in out it works.
Upon arriving into the new country, you have the option of purchasing the Freedom Phone with 60, 100 or 200 minutes.
No SIM card needed-No Roaming charges and in 10 short minutes, the Freedom Phone is charged.
The phone number, important service and other information are located on the back of the Freedom Phone.

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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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