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?

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A Networked Future

A Networked Future

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 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?

Three Generations of Smart Cities

Three Generations of Smart Cities

 

No longer an emerging concept, the approach and application of the smart city is evolving rapidly. Over at IambenteBoyd 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.

Green Learning

Green Learning

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.

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.

 

3D Printing the City

3D Printing the City

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?