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?
Digital technology is becoming ever-more pervasive and the world is increasingly urban. The simultaneous rise of these trends find us at a unique intersection in space and time. In a reflective interview with Smart Circle that ranges from urban mobility and citizen participation to cyber terrorism and the future of sharing, Carlo Ratti, director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab aims to make sense of these changes. It’s a worthwhile read, particularly for those seeking to connect the “smart” city with it’s citizens.
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?
No longer an emerging concept, the approach and application of the smart city is evolving rapidly. Over at Iambente, Boyd Cohen describes the three generations of smart cities that now exist. Beginning as an industry-led, technology-driven initiative, urban leaders quickly grasped specific applications for this approach, leading to the city-led, technology enabled smart city. In the past year, perhaps inspired by efforts in cities like Medellin, twinned with the sharing economy and pushed by slow economic growth, citizen co-creation has emerged as the third generation. Harnessing the potential of all residents will make cities even more innovative. The next generations of smart cities may be the most interesting and dynamic yet.
It is well-established that school design affects learning. Now, evidence is emerging that views and surrounding landscapes have big impacts too. The Dirt has a new article about a University of Illinois study that found green views led to better attentional functioning and stress recovery after short breaks from academic activities. For designers, architects and landscape architects, this suggests that designs and retrofits that maximize indoor views of trees and greenery enhance the learning environment and further support academic success.
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.
Major advances in 3D printing have demonstrated the technology’s potential to transform the way we create and produce nearly any item. Now, this technology is being applied to our cities. As Guardian Cities writes, Winsun, a Chinese company is scaling up production on 3D printed buildings, while a Dutch firm is working on intricate bridges. The approach creates very little waste, and has great potential in poverty- and disater-stricken areas, but could have serious job and architecture implications as well. Will the city of the future be 3D printed?
Facing an unprecedented drought, Los Angeles is turning to an ancient water-management solution, cisterns, combined with new technology, the cloud. As Next City writes, the project, initiated by Tree People, is a small test that is part of a broader effort to retain a quarter of the city’s groundwater by 2024, a 100% increase over today. This is particularly important with a great deal of wet weather expected with this winter’s El Nino phenomenon. New innovations on ancient ideas, another opportunity to create a sustainable future.
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.
What started as a failed high school workshop has become a major opportunity for data collection in Chicago. The city is preparing for the launch of its transparent Array of Things initiative, where 200 nodes containing multiple sensors to monitor an array of factors – from weather and air quality to mobility – deployed over the next year. The publicly available data will be invaluable for researchers, and is even expected to boost interest of these issues among the public. With so much new material available, what would you do with this data?