The latest intriguing mini-projector to hit store shelves (in Japan) is a small cubic, 25 ANSI Lumen LED called the Miseal. Manufactured by little-know Japanese comapny Sanko, the device is just 2.7in. x 2.7in. x 2.8in. and weighs just over half a pound.
Sporting a 100:1 contrast ratio, 800x600 SVGA resolution and ability to cast an image up to 16ft. away at a diagonal width of 70in, the Miseal packs a serious punch for something of such wee size.
MIT Technology Review has a great post on the use of (bee) 'swarm' inspired algorithms to reduce energy consumption of networked appliances like air conditioners, computers and heating systems. Toronto-based startup REGEN ENERGY is building smart energy platforms using new technology standards like Zigbee and micro-controllers to 'maximize collective efficiency'. Their trick is to enable 'bottom up' self organized smart grids for appliances without having to actively manage their energy consumption with a 'single order'.
Sony made recent headlines when it offered the first real commercial OLED (organic light emitting diode) commercial display product. The 11" wide screen is a 3 mm thick, and it only represents the beginning. Now the company is going to a thinner, flexible platform.
CEO Howard Stringer recently demonstrated a foldable display screen that is 0.2 mm thick. Sony is not holding back on its vision of future content consumption on displays that will be flexible, transparent and able to be read in sunlight.
Meanwhile, researchers around the world continue to advance the field of carbon-based or 'organic' electronics beyond thin film solar, OLEDs, fuel cells and batteries. IBM believes we might see 'spray on' solar within five year!
Upwards of 50 million people have access to web video through their televisions today thanks to Google, Sony and Nintendo, who have collaborated to bring YouTube videos to the Wii (50 million units sold by March) and PS3 (12 million units sold) through a custom version of the popular site modified for larger home screens.
From the YouTube blog:Currently in beta, the TV Website offers a dynamic, lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of your remote control. With enlarged text and simplified navigation, it makes watching YouTube on your TV as easy and intuitive as possible. Optional auto-play capability enables users to view related videos sequentially, emulating a traditional television experience. The TV Website is available internationally across 22 geographies and in over 12 languages.
Many bloggers, including this one, have been anticipating this moment for some time, speculating that 2009 will at last be the year of Web Video on TV. Today's mostrous event clinches that moniker, making it extremely likely that by year's end upwards of 100 million game console viewers will have access to YouTube and other web video broadcast platforms through their traditional televisions. (Simply factor in the XBox reaction and ongoing Wii and PS3 sales.)
In recent years forward-looking architects and designers have been pushing out the leading edge of advanced energy systems for built environments. Along the way they have created a new marketplace for integrated energy solutions with lower costs and improved performance. Their efforts have been supported by the growing list of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.
On Tuesday, Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC, became the first hotel to be awarded the LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is the USGBC’s rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient, and high performing buildings.
Opened in late 2007, the Proximity (videos) was designed to use 40% less energy and 30% less water than comparable hotels. It along with the adjacent Print Works Bistro are the first hotel and first restaurant to obtain the USGBC’s top level certification.
“When we started the design process four years ago, I would have never believed that we could use 41% less energy and 33% less water without one iota of compromise in comfort or luxury and with minimal additional construction costs,” says Dennis Quaintance, the CEO and CDO (Chief Design Officer) of builder Quaintance-Weaver “It just goes to show what a determined team can accomplish if they use common sense and get a little bit of help from the sun.”
By replacing valuable natural resources and costly labor with technology we can change the very equation around which the inputs and outputs of our built environments are constructed. The justification: we need more for less.
Our environments are poised to become hosts to ever more powerful technologies in the coming years that will seek to cause deep rooted and meaningful change in our everyday quality of life. These technologies will be increasingly pervasive, as they become commonplace in our schools, our offices, and more importantly our homes. Our homes, arguably the most important and widely used of all life’s platforms, are already on the brink of dramatic change. Environmental degradation, a crisis of sustainability in home-ownership, the need for enhanced learning and education, millions of people aging in place, and ever increasing demands on our time are the driving forces that have resulted in these social imperatives:
1. Reduce resource consumption
2. Integrate learning into everyday activity
in the home
3. Allow people to live long and healthy lives in their homes
4. Save time and improve decision making through better access to information.
With this understanding major companies and universities are striving to foster a massive convergence of off the shelf and cutting edge technologies with homes of the future.
I recently came upon an interesting article about a village in Japan being built entirely out of Styrofoam. The walls of these buildings are pretty thick, but it only takes three people a few hours to assemble and a layer of mortar and paint ensure protection from the elements. Here’s a short clip of the actual assembly…
Having grown up in a Bucky Fuller dome structure, I immediately took a liking to this shape. Not only is the dome incredibly strong, but it also uses less material than the average home. But having also been raised by hippies, any mention of the word Styrofoam sends chills down my spine. I agree, it’s a great material for a dome structure in that it’s highly insulated against cold and hot temperatures and, like in the video, very easy to build. But there are myriad problems with such a building material.
For instance, the disposal of the houses would be an environmental catastrophe. Also, imagine the toll that 20 years of sun and rain would exert on such a light and highly corrosive structure. There’s a reason water is called the Universal Solvent – it can eat through just about anything given enough time. The idea of an entire village, much less a country, having all its Styrofoam houses replaced is staggering (maybe ship them to war-torn countries to be made into napalm?).
Men have a infamous tendency to let their phallic tendencies dictate what they create. It is perhaps why some of the most famous builds like the Great Pyramids, Taj Majal and the Washington monument were made.
So, it didn’t surprise me when I recently read about an effort to create the world’s first male organ controlled computer.
So now that men have brought the inevitable to the realm of technology, I wonder how else humans of the future might interact with their computers?
With the recent (or not so recent) popularity of Nintendo Wii and its gyroscopic features, the rest of the human-computer interface market seems to have entered an innovative period. It looks rather likely that we’ll soon be playing games through VR googles, gesturing in the air to perform fluid dynamics calculations and maybe even writing Dear-John letters by thought alone.
Best of all, we won’t have wait decades for many of these advances as some amazing new products are already in prototype and will be market-ready in the very near-term. Here are some of the particularly interesting interface candidates:
1. In 2004, four people, two of them partly paralyzed wheelchair users successfully moved a computer cursor with a sensor cap that reads your brain with electrodes. In late February, technology pioneer Emotiv Systems announced the EPOC neuroheadset, a light weight, inexpensive ($300 USD), wireless headset that detects conscious thoughts, expressions, and emotions. Emotiv’s aim is the video games market and could open up a whole new generation of emotional immersive-ness in games.”
2. A modern take on a classic: The Livescribe pulse Smartpen is a pen that doubles as a stereo voice recorder, a music player, and most unique of all, a tiny infrared camera that picks up commands from a specially designed notebook. The ‘Dot’ notebook has record, pause, stop, playback, and navigation ‘buttons’ that you can tap on the bottom of the page to control the pen.
3. How about turning ANY surface, wall, table, or floor into a primary input device that can read handwriting, act as a musical instrument, a touchpad, or even a keyboard if you’re so inclined. The technology is called Tangible Acoustic Interfaces for Computer-Human Interaction (TAI-CHI) and the power is in sound waves.
James Law Cybertecture International has just debuted its design
of the so called Intelligent Egg, a building that represents an
unprecedented combination of architecture and technology.
The intelligent environments created in the design offer a
glimpse into what we might see in homes and buildings in the next
ten years. Intelligent environments (also called ambient
intelligence) offer the opportunity to drastically change our
quality of life, our level of interaction with our surroundings,
and our ability to choose our surroundings. They represent a
plausible evolution that brings aspects of the virtual world into
our built environment.
Intelligent systems and design are incredibly ambitious in the
so called “Egg” project. Looking at the occupant as a user systems
are designed around very personal and customizable need. Bathrooms
are designed to monitor a “users” health and alert a doctor if
needed. So called users can also change their view, choosing from
real time scenery from around the world.
So called cybertecture is a form of design that integrates
multimedia, intelligent systems, technology, and interactivity to
create customizable living and working spaces focused on
experiences, health, and productivity. coined by James Law in 2001,
IT aims to create environments of the future with a focus on
technology and lifestyle. Interaction with ones environment through
the use of this technology is a key design philosophy. In
Cybertecture the hardware (buildings, interiors, materials) are
intertwined with software (the use of technology) creating a
balance design view whereby both have equal prominence.
Cybertecture has begun to focus much more on the residential
market. Recently it was announced that a company in Dubai has
commissioned James Law to construct a large residential tower for
young professionals below the age of thirty.