The Ups & Downs of Drones

The Ups & Downs of Drones

Drones are expected have big impacts on a range of  industries, but also represent new security risks. In response, London Police are training eagles to handle this high-tech security headache, another example of the reapplication of ancient technology, while  Michigan Tech created a robotic drone catcher. Conversely, the FDA  recently loosened restrictions on “micro” drones, as Amazon moves full speed ahead with its own project. What creative ideas and/or concerns about the spreading drones do you have?

The City as an R&D Lab

The City as an R&D Lab

The evolution of cities as labs is clear in a Fast Company interview with Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, a Google startup company. They discuss the opportunity technology presents to solve big urban challenges, the need for scalable solutions and a fourth technology revolution in modern cities. Perhaps most interestingly, Doctoroff emphasizes the need for new technologies to benefit the triple-helix of urban stakeholders: the City, the public and the private sector. A shift towards a kinder, gentler smart city?

Gaming & the City

Gaming & the City

It’s been more than two decades since Sim City was first released. During the interim, city-making games have become more popular and nuanced, reflecting a growing public interest in urbanism. More than just fun, these games can teach planners valuable lessons about how we plan and how we envision the idealized city. Games can also be used as valuable engagement tools and to re-imagine the places we call home. Could the games of today lead to the self-building cities of tomorrow?

What Would You do with a Magic Wand?

What Would You do with a Magic Wand?

With the Internet of Things, controlling objects daily is becoming real. Valentin Heun at MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Lab introduced an app, Reality Editor, aiming to empower users to have more control over their smart tools. When you connect dots on your finger tip featuring the app, smart objects in a room start communicating each other. Combination of individual’s creativity and Reality Editor could bring interesting results to human interactions and physical environment outside of a room.

 

Injecting New Energy into Architecture Debates

Injecting New Energy into Architecture Debates

Bored of traditional architectural debates, Turncoats aims to shake up the establishment provoke real discussions about architecture. Harnessing the free independent journalist approach of Dezeen, Architecture Foundation and Failed Architecture, the “conspirators” want to burst the bubbles around mainstream architectural discussion. Turncoats’ sold-out open conversation will prohibit recording devices during the discussion, focusing instead on the here-and-now. Open your mind and witness an alternative participatory process and subsequent outcomes.

 

Disruptive Technology Moves In on the Housing Market

Disruptive Technology Moves In on the Housing Market

Could the disruptive power of Bitcoin be coming to real estate? Fast Company paints a compelling picture of what that might look like. In the future, houses might have digital addresses, not just physical. This could provide potential home-buyers with a transparent history of the home, it’s costs and even trades-people who have worked on it. For sellers, a block-chain based identity and financial history could provide greater certainty, without the many middle-men in real-estate today. This digital approach could enhance trust and authenticity, underlining the continuing advancement of the sharing economy.

Public Space & the Smart City

Public Space & the Smart City

Much has been made of the smart city’s potential to improve technical coordination and efficiency, but where do people fit into this brave new world? Public space thought leaders Gehl Architects think Montreal is on the right track. In an optimistic article, they detail the City’s digital/physical Faire Montreal (Make Montreal) initiative to engage residents on 180 tangible projects. A model for other cities to follow?