Posts tagged with "smartphones":

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This “Selfie Wall” explores the limits of personal data privacy

On January 3, 2017, El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-based AGENCY Architecture took advantage of the selfie phenomenon, transforming a public park with a temporary installation and data privacy experiment dubbed the SELFIE WALL. AGENCY describes its practice as engaging contemporary culture through architecture, urbanism, and advocacy. By uncovering whether photo data remains private, SELFIE WALL aims to address concerns about how personal selfie culture really is. Thanks to metadata, a picture may really be worth a thousand words. According to AGENCY, selfies are a resource for third-party data-crunchers who use facial and pattern recognition software to extract identity and mood. Metadata is embedded in the photo file, social network post protocols, mobile device settings, and user-generated content, jeopardizing every selfie-taker’s individual data privacy. Located in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez (what AGENCY calls a "binational metropolitan region"), SELFIE WALL provided the ideal lighting and visual interest (a perfect selfie stage) to explore these issues. 162 custom-fabricated units and CNC-milled composite aluminum panels were folded to become surfaces for bouncing, scattering, and collecting light. Its rigid, multifaceted structure mimics stage lighting and the photo umbrellas used in portrait photography, film, and vanities. SELFIE WALL allowed for different lighting conditions for day and night, with LED lights providing different color temperatures for nighttime self-portraits. AGENCY is following up the installation, analyzing metadata from SELFIE WALL selfies uploaded to Twitter and Instagram that have an event-specific hashtag.
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Dewalt unveils their own construction site friendly smartphone

After making sturdy smartphones cases, Dewalt has unveiled their very own smartphone: the Dewalt MD501, Android-tailored and designed to be at home on the construction battlefield.

Naturally, the phone is designed to withstand conditions that other smartphones cannot, though one would expect this given the $544 price tag. Able to survive 6.5 foot drop onto concrete, the handset can also fully function in temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Dewalt also claims that their phone is "impervious to dust and particles" and can be submerged in 6.5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

The phone also packs a 13 Megapixel rear camera complimented by a 5 megapixel on on the front and 16GB of internal memory to store pretty much all the photos you'll take. This can be upgraded further via the inclusion of a microSD card slot.

As is the usual gripe of modern smartphones, the battery can provide up to eight hours of talk time while also being able to be charged wirelessly (with QI technology). Bluetooth integration and an amplified loudspeaker essentially means users can chuck their phone down near to a QI charging base and still be able to hear instructions coming their way from the phone.*

The lack of wires will be good news to many within the building and construction industry, as will the inclusion of a touch screen that can be used with gloves and G-sensor, gyroscope, pressure, magnetic, light and range sensors.

*Note this is not officially recommended.

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IBM Watson launches a “Siri for Cities” app as more tech companies clamor for smart cities where “things” can communicate and supply data

The IT industry is pushing relentlessly to institutionalize smart cities by installing internet-connected lampposts, digital signage, building facades, and more. IT research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, 2.9 billion connected "things" will be in use in the consumer sector. IBM Watson jas joined the breakneck race with the launch of its “Siri for Cities,” a cognitive computing platform that enables users to ask complex questions about city services. By speaking into their smartphones, laptops or Apple Watches, residents can inquire about fire and police services to parking and waste collection. The app supplies responses by drawing upon a database of FAQs, but IBM has outfitted the technology to interact with the language of more in-depth questions, analyse swaths of data, and respond in a concise, evidence-based manner. The mobile app will be piloted in Surrey, Canada, to create a centralized hub for the city. Purple Forge, a digital agency hired by the local government, is working to integrate these capabilities into the pre-existing “My Surrey” app, which streams hyper-local news, events, job listings, bike routes, parking information, and more in real-time. “IBM Watson’s learning abilities are such that the technology builds its knowledge and improves as citizens use it, much in the same way humans learn,” said Bruce Hayne, chair of Surrey’s Innovation and Investment Committee. “This pilot is expected to enhance customer experience by increasing the accessibility of services while providing the city with insight into opportunities for improvement and reduction to service delivery costs.” Reliant on data and interactivity, IBM’s new gadgetry overlaps noticeably with Google’s recently launched Sidewalk Labs, an independent company that aims to develop and incubate new technology to address urban ills. After acquiring Titan and Control Group, Sidewalk Labs announced its first initiative: resuming the work of Link NYC to convert New York City’s unused phone booths into public WiFi hubs. According to the FCC, 55 million people in the United States lack broadband internet access. The WiFi hubs will be tall, thin pillars with digital tablet interfaces and large ads slapped on the sides to keep them free to use. Through Titan’s ad network, Link NYC could bring $500 million in ad revenue to the city over the next 12 years, the DeBlasio administration has predicted. Meanwhile, City Science researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are building mobility networks for “multi-modal transit.” One initiative is a search and recommendation engine for a variety of energy-saving transit modes, such as car-pooling and bike-sharing, determined by weather, traffic, and past user patterns. Researchers are angling for further energy cutbacks by designing and prototyping electric scooters, driverless cars, and compact bike-lane vehicles.