Thursday, February 28, 2008

Shack/Slum Dwellers International

The "digital divide" has been a topic of concern for more than a decade. But having a voice in decisions that matter in a global, information society goes well beyond simple access to the Internet. Organizational skills needed to gather information, deliberate about complex issues, and mobilize political support have too often been limited to a limited stratum of formally educated elites. Shack/Slum Dwellers International aims to ,
enable those who are affected by poverty to become organised and united in ever-expanding networks, and to play a defining role in the way in which Governments and multi-laterals discharge their obligations to the poor.

Nokia Morph Concept

Cellphones have an obvious connection to urban communication networks via wireless connections. But increasingly objects are designed so that they are more deeply embedded within many kinds of networks. Featured in a Museum of Modern Art exhibit, the Nokia Morph concept device is connected to its urban environment in the following ways:
Nanotechnology also can be leveraged to create self-cleaning surfaces on mobile devices, ultimately reducing corrosion, wear and improving longevity. Nanostructured surfaces, such as “Nanoflowers” naturally repel water, dirt, and even fingerprints utilizing effects also seen in natural systems.

Advanced Power Sources
Nanotechnology holds out the possibility that the surface of a device will become a natural source of energy via a covering of “Nanograss” structures that harvest solar power. At the same time new high energy density storage materials allow batteries to become smaller and thinner, while also quicker to recharge and able to endure more charging cycles.

Sensing The Environment
Nanosensors would empower users to examine the environment around them in completely new ways, from analyzing air pollution, to gaining insight into bio-chemical traces and processes. New capabilities might be as complex as helping us monitor evolving conditions in the quality of our surroundings, or as simple as knowing if the fruit we are about to enjoy should be washed before we eat it. Our ability to tune into our environment in these ways can help us make key decisions that guide our daily actions and ultimately can enhance our health.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

IXDA Interaction 08

The urban and the virtual are brought together more tightly everyday, creating the social spaces we now live in. Can the interactions among people, devices, organizations, and spaces be designed to support conviviality?

It is fitting that the first IxDA conference is being held in Savannah, where public squares support a distinctive sense of place and SCAD, which connects academic design with the city.

Interaction 08 will be held from February 8-10, 2008 in historic and festive Savannah, Georgia, on the campus of The Savannah College of Art and Design. Join several hundred Interaction Designers from around the world as we address the design of interactive systems of all types: applications (web and desktop), mobile, consumer electronics, digitally enhanced environments, and more. Start your year off with stimulating talk, fun parties, and smart discussions about our growing field.

Conceptions of the Desireable

130 acres in Graz, Austria are being redeveloped--one of the last chunks of open space left to develop in Europe. Unhappy with top down approaches to planning, this book documents a different process, with a deep emphasis on the communicative nature of cities and the importance of formatting and representing information so that it can support the planning process, a process which began with discussions led by an editorial board of 32 citizens.

On a gray, if beautifully snowy day in Michigan, the spirit and illustrations in this book are a celebration of the human spirit, creativity and dreams. If the city is half as successful as the book, it will be a wonderful city, urbane in the best sense of the word.