Locative Lab

researching locative media

Mobile Encyclopedia an Amazing Concept

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Let’s digress for a while and forget about the ongoing flat-rate price war and that latest buzz about Sprint’s rumored move of undercutting other players with its $60 monthly unlimited plan.

Instead, venture in the world of boundless possibilities the convergence of mobility and digital world has to offer. A truly amazing futuristic concept is this ultra-thin transparent slide from PetitInvention:

This is what I wish the internet search will be able to do with a mobile device in the NEAR future. Touch screen, built in camera, scanner, WiFi, google map (hopefully google earth), google search, image search… all in one device. Like this way, when you can see a building through it, it gives you the image search result right on the spot.

Far from reality? Well, maybe. But the underlying technologies are on the way. Remember Magitti? The software that automatically recommends information about “local area” activities.

There’s also the character-recognition and text-to-speech software powering the Nokia N82 for the visually impaired. Moreover, its design is heavily influenced by Amazon Kindle as well as its wireless features. Not to mention the power of QR codes.

I hope to see more brilliant design concepts in the future. More photos…

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Nokia Working on Super Flexible Mobile Phone

nokia morph

Nokia has another futuristic mobile phone concept that might possibly redefine the way we use mobile phones. Introducing Morph – a joint project joint nanotechnology model created by Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge.

Morph is a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.

The photo above is actually just one mobile phone that you can twist and stretch into different shapes such as bracelet, tablet forms or whatever weird design you want to do. It reminds me of the good old Play-Doh and its tag line: Imagination Taking Shape.

You can view the actual concepts at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from February 24 to May 12, 2008.

Via Unwired View and PR Newswire

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IP-adressen zijn ‘deels privégegevens’

AMSTERDAM – IP-nummers, de unieke numerieke adressen van computers op internet, zijn onder sommige omstandigheden wel degelijk persoonlijke gegevens. Dat erkent privacybeleidsman Peter Fleischer van Google.

http://www.nu.nl/news/1451436/52/rss/IP-adressen_zijn_%27deels_priv%E9gegevens%27.html

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Nokia virtual keyboard patent uses cellphone’s camera

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Spotted on Phonemag, “a new Nokia patent look like yet another virtual keyboard, but it uses the camera already found in the cellphone to recognise where the user’s fingers are stabbing on the table behind the handset itself.

Aside from using the camera, the phone design also has sensors which recognise the sounds and vibrations of the user’s fingers impacting the table and converts them into inputs.”

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Beyond Bar Codes

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Bar codes as art.

Beyond Bar Codes by Jheon Soocheon is a a site-specific installation title. The floor’s bar code functions as a platform on which viewers will, by osmosis, become consumer products themselves.

[via del.icio.us/régine]

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Cellphone can read to you from pictures it takes

baigx.jpg For a blind or visually impaired person, the Nokia N98 offers great promise: It’s a liberating day-to-day tool that grants access to printed materials not otherwise easily available. USA Today reports.

“A sightless person can use the phone to snap a picture of a menu, book, printed receipt or business card. Software on the phone processes the words on those items and reads the text aloud in a synthesized voice. The device can even let a blind person know if paper currency is a $5 or a $20 bill.

The candy-bar-shaped Nokia houses an extremely capable digital camera — 5 megapixels, auto-focusing, high-intensity flash. But it’s the character-recognition and text-to-speech software from KNFB Reading Technology that makes it so powerful. KNFB is a joint venture of the National Federation of the Blind and Kurzweil Technologies.”

Blogged with Flock

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Cell phone check-in in Japan

g-trv-080215-cellcheck-10a.jpg.hmedium.jpg Air travelers of All Nippon Airways have been using their phones to manage the entire airline experience since September of 2006, beginning with booking flights. MSNBC reports.

“Mobile phone users can book a flight, see a seating chart of the aircraft, select their seat, have a bar-code and other key travel information e-mailed to their phone — and go to your departure gate just by producing their encrypted cell phone at airport security.

A 4-inch-long receipt that looks like it came from a standard cash register and prints out at the security check-point serves as your boarding pass.”

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PDG – Personal Display Glasses for mobile phones

projectorglasses_narrowweb__300x440%2C0.jpg Mobintech, a Denmark-based group, believes it has found the solution to the mobile phone industry’s problem of trying to offer television and video services on a tiny screen. The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“The logic of our product is that everyone wants to push mobile television at the moment but there are obstacles,” says marketing director Soren Peterson.

“The first is the size of the screen. If you’re watching football you can’t see the ball. If it’s boxing, you don’t know who is hitting who.”

The group’s proposition is a chunky pair of futuristic-looking glasses that connect to the phone, which when worn by a viewer give the impression of watching a 30 inch (76cm) television at a distance of two metres.

In their own words: Watch your favorite TV shows and videos directly from your mobile phone on a pair of display glasses with a big 30 inch flat screen in front of your eyes.

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Not even Adobe knows when Flash is coming to the iPhone

youtube-iphone-tour.jpg When Apple released the iPhone last summer, it did not support Adobe’s Flash Player, which meant Internet videos and other Web sites developed in Flash would not work on the phone writes Moco News.

“Google’s YouTube was one of the only video-sites that bothered to re-format some content, and even still only some of its videos became viewable on the iPhone. So, seven months after the iPhone’s release, the question remains: will Apple support Flash?

Adobe’s patience is thinning “No one aside from [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs has any idea if or when it’s coming,” Ryan Stewart, Adobe’s chief spokesman wrote on his blog last week. “Everyone I talk to doesn’t know anything.

[via engadget:mobile. Image from MyiTablet]

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Hands on With the GooglePhone, aka Android Phone

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Several companies at GSMA are showing prototypes running the Google-backed open-source Android operating system (aka the “GooglePhone”), and judging by the crowd reaction, these “phones” are the hit of the show. The one above is Qualcomm’s effort, and there are also examples from ARM, NEC, Texas Instruments, Wind River, and Marvell.

It’s not fair to laugh at the huge circuit boards: These are design prototypes and will of course be shrunk down to a fraction of this size. But despite the fugly appearance, these Android phones are the buzz of the show. At the NEC booth, the guy pointed me straight past the other boards saying, “This one is the Android. That’s the only one anybody is interested in.”

Qualcomm’s 7201a has both ARM 11 and ARM 9 chips, built-in GPS, a couple of DSPs (digital signal processors) and 2D and 3D graphics acceleration. In the short video clip below you can see the result. A spinning globe, which could one day couple with the GPS to make a mobile Google Earth. The second part shows NEC’s implemention browsing the web with the Webkit browser.

Right now the UI is clunky and slow, but the fact that so many manufacturers are already on board means that Android is already a success. Qualcomm plans to have a shipping hardware platform in the second half of the year.

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About

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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