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29
Jan

Miami hopes to become the smartest city in the U.S. with a new CIVIQ partnership


Why it matters to you

Technology is playing a greater and greater role in city infrastructure, with Miami becoming the first U.S. city to adopt a smart ecosystem model.

You may know Miami for its beaches, but the Florida city wants you to know it for its smarts. Earlier this week, the coastal metropolis announced a new partnership with CIVIQ Smartscapes to launch the first fully interconnected smart city ecosystem in the U.S.

And best of all, the landmark tech deal will come at no net cost to taxpayers, the mayor’s office says. CIVIQ, a company that specializes in smart communications infrastructure in public spaces, aims to deliver the best “Citizen Mobility Experience” to the people of Miami, engaging citizens and providing access to city services.

Over the course of the next three months, CIVIQ plans to install and maintain up to 300 interactive digital WayPoints. First launched in 2016, WayPoints are described as “smart city communications devices” that come with Wi-Fi, USB quick-charging ports, and more. And with Miami’s new fleet of these connectivity portals, residents will be able to access free public Wi-Fi as well as timely transportation schedules.

“These new devices and services are much more than a new way to access the internet,” said Alice N. Bravo, Miami-Dade Director of Transportation & Public Works. “Greater connectivity in the transit system means increased efficiency, less downtime, and overall better experiences for our passengers.”

More: LinkNYC heads to Brooklyn, where hopefully they won’t be used for porn

Indeed, Wi-Fi will soon be made available for folks on county trains and buses, each of which will soon sport mobile Wi-Fi networks. This, the city hopes, will allow for a new level of among various Miami-Dade public services.

“Miami Dade is a great example of a municipality rethinking the real value of technology as an enabler to livable, sustainable communities,” said George Burciaga, the managing director of CIVIQ’s Global Government Development and Innovation division. “Today’s savvy leaders now have the opportunity to make decisions that create immediate benefits for the community. The result is more efficient government, a stronger community identity, and better connections for all who live, work, play, and visit the county.”

29
Jan

This incredible South Korean home is inspired by an owl


Why it matters to you

Moon Hoon’s quirky, playful designs have most recently manifested themselves in an incredible owl-inspired home in South Korea.

Owls may not be a common sight in metropolitan areas, but to make up for the bird’s absence, one architect is building houses inspired by the animal. Proving that nature really is our best inspiration, South Korean architect Moon Hoon designed a four story building in the city of Busan that attempts to meld the forest with the concrete jungle. The upper stories of the house closely resemble an owl’s head, and its large windows look very much like eyes that light up at night. So sure, Busan residents may not be able to hear an owl’s hoot, but they can see the bird’s architectural equivalent in the middle of their neighborhood.

The buyer who commissioned Hoon to build the unique residence hoped for a home “to reflect a sense of protectiveness and defensiveness,” Dornob reports. Hoon was simultaneously tasked with creating an indoor space that would be fun for a young child. Ultimately, the architect engineered a design that “manifests [its] hidden identity” as a superhero in the form of an owl, with a turned head that overlooks some of the city’s most spectacular views. A number of private outdoor spaces can be found behind the owl’s “wings,” whereas a glass entryway separates the bird’s two “feet.”

More: Amazon’s open Alexa takes on Apple’s closed HomeKit initiative

The home is inundated with windows, but with strategically placed setbacks and cuts, the house features plenty of shady areas both inside and out. While the lowest level is designed as a commercial space (ostensibly for the home buyer’s business), the upper levels of the home are meant for common space and bedrooms. The head of the owl, for example, houses the child’s bedroom and playroom, as well as the master bedroom and dressing room.

There’s a library on the floor directly underneath, whereas an open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living room are on the lower floor. With a finished product like this, it’s no wonder that Moon Hoon has been called “the king of playful architecture.” For more of the architect’s incredible work, you can check out his website here.

29
Jan

Hummingbird-inspired wind turbines, and more in the week that was


It’s official: New York just gave the green light to build the largest offshore wind farm in US history. The project will be located 30 miles southeast of Montauk, and it will produce enough energy to power 50,000 homes. Meanwhile, researchers have developed a revolutionary new wind turbine that trades spinning blades for flapping wings reminiscent of a hummingbird. Dubai kicked off phase three of the world’s largest solar park. When it’s complete it will produce a whopping 800 megawatts of clean energy. Speaking of the sort, Elon Musk is a champion of clean energy — so imagine our surprise when Musk threw his support behind former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. And Ireland just voted to become the world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels.

What if every continent on Earth was connected by a super-fast Hyperloop transit system? That’s the idea behind this global “subway map” that runs all the way from the US to Europe, Africa, Asia and beyond. In other transportation news, a team of engineers has created the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car, and it’s set to race across Australia later this year. Meanwhile, Tesla quietly launched the world’s longest-range EV, while Elon Musk announced that his new company will start digging tunnels under Los Angeles next month.

Technology continues to transform the field of architecture as designers embrace next-gen building methods and materials. In Spain, the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia debuted the world’s first 3D-printed pedestrian bridge. Prefab home builder Deltec launched a new Solar Farmhouse that’s able to generate all the electricity it needs on-site. LAVA unveiled plans for a futuristic green city built around a central rainforest. And if you’ve ever wanted to check out the home of Apple’s design director, you’re in luck. It’s called the Sonoma weeeHouse and it’s every bit as gorgeous as you’d imagine.

29
Jan

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Rideables, almond milkers, and robo-arms


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a visual stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Solowheel Iota — self-balancing rideable

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

If you needed any more proof that we’re in the midst of a revolution in personal transportation, check out the Solowheel Iota; yet another self-balancing, electrically powered, awesome piece of rideable technology. It’s from the same guy that invented the Hovertrax (the original “hoverboard”), and the original Solowheel (one of the first self-balancing unicycles), and is smaller and more portable than any of his previous creations.  With 8-inch wheels and a weight of only 8 lbs., the Solowheel Iota promises to be the smallest, greenest, and most convenient vehicle of its kind.

“The Solowheel Iota is the next logical extension of the genius of Shane Chen’s original Solowheel self-balancing unicycle people mover,” Claude Rorabaugh, Inventist’s chief product evangelist, told Digital Trends in an interveiw. “It is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but has many of the attribute that made the original Solowheel a global success. Ideally this can be toted within carry-on airline baggage and can travel with you anywhere in the world. From going to school, moving across the airport terminal, or as a people mover in a warehouse or large factory, the Iota fits well anywhere.”

Read more here

29
Jan

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Rideables, almond milkers, and robo-arms


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a visual stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Solowheel Iota — self-balancing rideable

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

If you needed any more proof that we’re in the midst of a revolution in personal transportation, check out the Solowheel Iota; yet another self-balancing, electrically powered, awesome piece of rideable technology. It’s from the same guy that invented the Hovertrax (the original “hoverboard”), and the original Solowheel (one of the first self-balancing unicycles), and is smaller and more portable than any of his previous creations.  With 8-inch wheels and a weight of only 8 lbs., the Solowheel Iota promises to be the smallest, greenest, and most convenient vehicle of its kind.

“The Solowheel Iota is the next logical extension of the genius of Shane Chen’s original Solowheel self-balancing unicycle people mover,” Claude Rorabaugh, Inventist’s chief product evangelist, told Digital Trends in an interveiw. “It is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but has many of the attribute that made the original Solowheel a global success. Ideally this can be toted within carry-on airline baggage and can travel with you anywhere in the world. From going to school, moving across the airport terminal, or as a people mover in a warehouse or large factory, the Iota fits well anywhere.”

Read more here

29
Jan

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Rideables, almond milkers, and robo-arms


awesome-tech-you-cant-buy-yet-280x75.png

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a visual stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Solowheel Iota — self-balancing rideable

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

If you needed any more proof that we’re in the midst of a revolution in personal transportation, check out the Solowheel Iota; yet another self-balancing, electrically powered, awesome piece of rideable technology. It’s from the same guy that invented the Hovertrax (the original “hoverboard”), and the original Solowheel (one of the first self-balancing unicycles), and is smaller and more portable than any of his previous creations.  With 8-inch wheels and a weight of only 8 lbs., the Solowheel Iota promises to be the smallest, greenest, and most convenient vehicle of its kind.

“The Solowheel Iota is the next logical extension of the genius of Shane Chen’s original Solowheel self-balancing unicycle people mover,” Claude Rorabaugh, Inventist’s chief product evangelist, told Digital Trends in an interveiw. “It is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, but has many of the attribute that made the original Solowheel a global success. Ideally this can be toted within carry-on airline baggage and can travel with you anywhere in the world. From going to school, moving across the airport terminal, or as a people mover in a warehouse or large factory, the Iota fits well anywhere.”

Read more here

29
Jan

NASA’s reconfigurable radio can track planes over oceans


When the 66 Iridium Next satellites are already in orbit, air traffic controllers and pilots will be able to track all flights, even planes flying across ocean. That’s because the satellites are equipped with reconfigurable radios called AppSTAR, which NASA built together with Florida-based Harris Corporation. AppSTARs are capable of transmitting larger amounts of data than NASA’s current radio communications network can. Plus, they can be reprogrammed from a distance through software upgrades, allowing the agency to tweak them for future missions.

These new radios will enable flight tracking over oceans, since they were designed to receive signals from new airplane transceivers called ADS-B. The transceivers automatically send out a flight’s number, location and other details. Harris systems engineer Jeff Anderson says “you can keep track of all the aircraft in the world” within seconds once the radios are operational.

The ability to track all flights will allow planes to fly with less space between them and to take shorter routes to save fuel, since they’ll have little risk of colliding mid-air. If anything does go wrong, search rescue operations will now have the plane’s exact location.

A SpaceX flight that took off earlier this month ferried the first 10 Iridium Next satellites to orbit, and the company is slated to launch more this year. If everything goes according to plan, the network (and its radios) will be up and running in 2018.

Source: NASA

29
Jan

Ireland votes to stop investing public money in fossil fuels


Ireland just took a big step toward cutting coal and oil out of the picture. Its Parliament has passed a bill that stops the country from investing in fossil fuels as part of an €8 billion ($8.6 billion) government fund. The measure still has to clear a review before it becomes law, but it would make Ireland the first nation to completely eliminate public funding for fossil fuel sources. Even countries that have committed to ditching non-renewable energy, like Iceland, can’t quite make that claim. The closest is Norway, which ditched some of its investments back in 2015.

The bill was put forward by Deputy Thomas Pringle, who sees this as a matter of “ethical financing.” It’s a message to energy companies that both deny human-made climate change and lobby politicians to look the other way, he says.

Ireland’s decision won’t have the greatest environmental impact given its relative size, but this is still an aggressive move when many other countries aren’t ready or willing to drop their support for conventional energy. It’s a particularly sharp contrast to the US, whose new leadership is already going to great lengths to suppress climate change science and protect the fossil fuel industry.

Source: Independent

29
Jan

US internet providers stop sending piracy warnings


Remember the media industry’s vaunted Copyright Alert System? It was supposed to spook pirates by having their internet providers send violation notices, with the threat of penalties like throttling. However, it hasn’t exactly panned out. ISPs and media groups have dropped the alert system with an admission that it isn’t up to the job. While the program was supposedly successful in “educating” the public on legal music and video options, the MPAA states that it just couldn’t handle the “hard-core repeat infringer problem” — there wasn’t much to deter bootleggers.

The organizations, which include the RIAA, haven’t devised an alternative. However, they believe that habitual pirates should face discipline from their ISPs according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They also plan to stick to “voluntary and cooperative efforts,” so you may not have to worry that they’ll squeeze providers or return to suing customers.

It’s hard to pinpoint any one reason why the Copyright Alert System failed (there’s no official explanation), but there are a few likely factors. From the outset, CAS was optimistic: it assumed that most pirates didn’t even realize they were violating copyright, and just needed to be shown the error of their ways. Well, no — many of them are fully aware of what they’re doing, or at least don’t care.

The other issue may simply be the rapidly evolving nature of online media. When CAS got started, peer-to-peer downloads were still a big deal in piracy. They haven’t gone away (the MPAA claims that Americans illegally downloaded 981 million movies and TV shows in 2016), but pirate streams are much more commonplace than they were a few years ago. How do you bust someone for streaming a song on YouTube, which primarily hosts legitimate clips? The notice system just wasn’t designed to catch present-day pirates, and there’s no clear solution in sight right now.

Via: Variety

Source: Center for Copyright Information

29
Jan

Twitter discloses two far-reaching FBI data requests


Twitter is joining in the recent trend of tech companies disclosing FBI data requests after gag orders have lifted… and the news isn’t exactly comforting. The social network has revealed that two National Security Letters sent in 2015 and 2016 asked the company for electronic communication transaction records that could include sensitive internet data. The company denied most of the demands, but the very nature of the requests is the problem — they suggest that the FBI was pushing past the guidelines set by a 2008 Justice Department memo, which limited these orders to phone billing records.

An FBI inspector general report from 2014 had disagreed with the memo’s terms, suggesting that the bureau doesn’t believe it’s bound to those limitations.

To some extent, Twitter is using the letters as bargaining chips. It’s still embroiled in a lawsuit against the US government over rules that restrict how and when it can disclose data, and the revelations support its belief that it can’t offer “meaningful” transparency to users. How can you talk about examples of law enforcement overreach when you’re not even allowed to acknowledge that a given National Security Letter exists? We wouldn’t count on the court deciding in Twitter’s favor, but it at least has some supporting evidence under its belt.

Source: Twitter, Reuters