Sensors

Birmingham Seeks Food Waste Management solutions - call for submissions

The city of Birmingham (UK) is investing to turn food waste into energy and invites companies worldwide to submit their waste management solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Birmingham category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year's edition, Bitcarrier for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its CitySolver Technology to monitor traffic within 3 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award, and a public procurement within just 6 months of winning the Award.

For this year's award, Birmingham is seeking solutions to better understand and capture the waste streams generated throughout the city, potentially utilising a data management system to identify its trends and impact in order to efficiently process the waste and convert it into a sustainable energy source (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: m.carvalho@livinglabs-global.com 

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

LLGA2011 Winner: Report on Worldsensing Smart Parking Pilot

5.12pm 12 May 2011 it has become official – Worldsensing has won the Stockholm Living Labs Global Award 2011 in the category of urban mobility. The winning prize was nothing less than a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in one of Barcelona’s largest satellite cities Sant Cugat.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uesLdfMr33E]

Usually very difficult to achieve, a city hall has actually committed to testing an innovative technology solution for easing the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space and thus easing the daily routine of their citizens.

Discussions with the city hall about their needs and our possibilities started a little less than a month after the prize announcement, i.e. at the speed of light considering the public administration’s usual understanding of time. Of surprise to us was the advanced state of the Smart City initiatives in San Cugat. It seems that the city hall has been making important steps towards a sustainable city by introducing a separate smart city department which essentially handles smart city technologies the same way as an IT department handles computer technologies.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGMm5PLePFw]

A specific street in Sant Cugat has since been assigned to us, where we are about to install our smart parking product referred to as FastPrk. The tailor-made product targets the outdoors parking market, be it privately owned (such as shopping malls) or public (such as townhalls). It addresses the obvious headache for the citizens of Sant Cugat of losing a lot of time, money and health by finding a parking spot quickly. The product is composed of sensors, which are installed in each parking spot and which communicate wirelessly with an Internet-enabled gateway to inform about the absence/presence of a car. The information of available parking spots is made available to the citizen of Sant Cugat via a smart phone application and/or via panels along the street, something still to be discussed. The closed loop platform, i.e. sensors offering real-time information, addresses all headaches encountered at either end of the parking market. In addition, it facilitates the introduction of dynamic pricing; reservation of places; the coupling of the obtained data streams into a more general and powerful smart city operating system; among many other opportunities.

Installations commenced at the end of October 2011. We hope to significantly improve the lives of the citizens of Sant Cugat in their commutes downtown.

Living Labs Global is a fantastic team to deal with! They are clearly a market shaker in the emerging market of smart cities. Worldsensing has had the pleasure in applying for the Stockholm smart city finals through a fairly simple and straightforward procedure and, after a pitch in front of an eager audience, won the finals in the respective category. A lot of work, however, had clearly been done in the background by the Living Labs Global team – be it for the organization of the event(s), getting together qualified people, make them review the applications and ideas, etc, etc. A notable development is also the platform developed by Living Labs Global which allows city halls around the globe to consult on existing technologies and prior experience of fellow cities. Congratulations and good luck with the 2012 edition!

- Mischa Dohler, CTO Worldsensing

LLGA Winners Pilot: Barcelona can Visualize Traffic Flows in Real-Time

Bitcarrier’s CitySolver Showcase was announced Winner of the Barcelona Category at the Living Labs Global Award 2011 at the Award Ceremony in Stockholm, by Anna Majo, Director of the 22@ Barcelona Innovation District. Barcelona’s jury reviewed more than 75 solutions and in the end chose Bitcarrier as bearing the biggest impact on its challenge to automate urban services.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv-2MXcq1_M]

CitySolver is a solution based on wireless network technology and takes advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices. It is composed of proprietary software (a management platform) and hardware (a sensor for urban environments). CitySolver’s visualization platform allows the clients to get real time traffic information on different routes defined. Information regarding travel times, average speeds, and traffic volume is delivered to users and managers directly; sensors can be installed on existing urban furniture and do not require street closures or other expensive roadwork.

Since the announcement, Bitcarrier worked with the Urban Lab team of 22@ Barcelona to plan the implementation of a pilot as part of a larger consortium to combine traditional and new forms of capturing urban mobility data. Winning the Living Labs Global Award was critical to gain visibility and build trust with Barcelona’s city officials, creating the reference that CitySolver is indeed a new, viable and efficient solution for managing and controlling urban traffic.

Already in August the first phase was completed and included 14 Bitcarrier URBAN sensors installed in the Eixample Area of Barcelona. The consistent and homogenised data is published in real-time to a website accessible to the pilot’s consortium partners and that can be used for new application development to serve traffic managers, fleet managers, and end-users .

New applications and services based on this real-time information can as a result include short-term journey-time predictions and an active traffic management system, drawing also pedestrian movements and estimations of inter-modal changes based on the electronic footprint of mobile devices.

The pilot partners studied and evaluated the radius of detection for each sensor and the quality of data obtained to optimise the location for the sensors in the next phase, which will include 36 additional sensors. This second phase will be launched towards the end of 2011.

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for entries until February 17, 2012.

LLGA Winner's Smart Waste Sensors Pilot Beam Hourly Updates in Barcelona

In February 2010 Urbiotica’s Showcase ‘Intelligent Urban Waste Management’ was announced at the Living Labs Global Awards as winner of the opportunity to pilot in Barcelona, specifically in the 22@ Urban Lab area.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql1kHhD0EiI]

Of course the Award was immediately providing a more direct way to access decision-makers within the municipality regarding innovation and procurement of urban services. So we quickly started conversations with all the stakeholders involved in the waste collection service –including the environmental department, the 22@ Urban Lab coordination and also Urbaser, the service company in charge of the waste collection for that area of the city.

Our goal was to use the pilot opportunity to prove that our technology provides an integral solution for significantly improving the waste collection process, both in terms of costs and quality of the service. Our wireless sensor networks –composed of active sensors, communication devices and middleware platforms to handle the data collected- provide real-time information of the fill level of each container so that collection routes can be optimized to save resources  and improve the overall service.

During 2010 we took care of agreements with the different stakeholders involved in the pilot regarding the best locations of the sensor and communication elements, the best installation procedures and the expected preliminary results of the project – for example, how to serve and treat the real-time data collected from the dumpsters. In the end 8 sensors where installed: 2 for plastic dumpsters, 2 for glass, 2 for paper, 1 for generic waste and 1 for organic waste.

Several communication elements were also installed in the corresponding street lamps. The result is that for the past 12 months, these 8 sensorized dumpsters are sending data about their fill level every 1 hour; the data is processed through our middleware and served as useful information directly to the municipality as well as the management system of Urbaser, the company providing the collection service.

The collaboration with the different stakeholders in the pilot has been constructive and fruitful. The results are positive and meet what we had expected initially: our system is now installed and running in a small area of Barcelona and we keep an active reporting with the municipality as well as the company in order to refine the whole process and extract valuable practices, which can be used to extend the solution to larger areas of the city and/or to other cities.

 

- Irene Compte, Urbiotica

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for submissions. 22@ Barcelona is among 20 global cities calling for solutions to improve the lives of 100 Million citizens.

245 Entries for Living Labs Global Award 2011

Today we have closed submissions for the Living Labs Global Award 2011. Companies, research centres and NGOs from 127 cities in 29 countries submitted their Showcases to the Award.International juries, chaired by the partner cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Taipei and Stockholm will start their work in the coming days and we will announce the shortlists on March 21st. Enjoy browsing the map of where innovations came from!

http://batchgeo.com/map/bb63209e1306a6d3ff112f81f3be8b67

View Map of Living Labs Global Award 2011 Entries in a full screen map

Eight Global Cities Launch Technology Award to Help 40 Million Citizens

Eight global cities from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America join us in a challenge to find innovative solutions to major societal problems by opening competition among international solution-, technology- and service providers. The eight winners of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award will be invited to pilot their solutions in these cities, proving the effectiveness of new solutions and offering a first step for innovative providers to enter new markets. http://www.livinglabs-global.com/flash/awards2011.swf

The participating cities, representing 40 million citizens from Europe, Africa, North America and Asia call for solutions that can solve some of their most pressing challenges:

  • Automation of Urban Services
  • Intelligent Urban Lighting Solutions for Social Interaction & Orientation
  • Venture finance for millions of African entrepreneurs
  • Sustainable Initiative on Intellectual Property Protection
  • Creating the Next Generation of Government
  • Solutions for digitally enabled accessible ecoCities
  • Intelligent Transport Solutions
  • Smart solutions for 10,000 Smart Houses, 16 Green Communities, 1 Eco-City

Oracle Corporation and Asia’s Farglory have been named as corporate partners for the 2011 Living Labs Global Award. Submissions follow the format of the Living Labs Global Showcase and can be submitted for free until the 28th of February 2011. A shortlist of the top 40 Showcases will be presented by the international juries on March 21st 2011. Winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony on May 12th 2011 at the Stockholm Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.

Behind each Category lies the commitment of a city to pilot the winning showcase, with full institutional support to evaluate the impact the solution can have on reaching the community’s objectives.

Copenhagen Picks Billy-Bike Navigation Solution to Pilot the Future

37 companies from around the world have presented solutions for piloting the future of biking in Copenhagen. The winner was announced today at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities by Copenhagen's Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen: a travel plan that displays the most bike-friendly route through town.When more than 36 percent of citizens use their bikes every day to get to work, school or university, Copenhagen also needs a travel plan for cyclists, says the Mayor for Healthcare of Copenhagen, Ninna Thomsen.

Billy Bike was announced today to 20 cities and 50 companies by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, as the chosen solution after a 4-month competition. 37 solutions that can improve health, reduce CO2 emissions, and make it easier for citizens to move around the city were submitted from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America in response to a call for pilot launched by the City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global in July.

Astando, the company that first implemented Billy Bike in Stockholm, will now engage in detailed planning meetings to bring the solution to the citizens of Copenhagen for a pilot in 2011. Billy Bike was chosen by a group of evaluators including the City of Copenhagen and the Bicycle Association of Copenhagen. All the world's cities need innovative solutions that make everyday life easier for citizens and call for green choices while allowing for improvements in efficiency of municipal services. There are plenty of companies that develop these solutions, but it is a challenge to get them into service in the city. So we try to push this by bringing together cities and companies together, says Ninna Thomsen.

A product such as Billy Bike has a great potential. For example, we imagine that the home care services in Copenhagen can use it as a tool to get faster and safer around town, just as technology can also be used to help our visually impaired citizens find their way, as they already do in Stockholm today, says Ninna Thomsen.

The Future Bike Call for Pilots has shown that already today many solutions can be found to revolutionise our cities when a city like Copenhagen presents its needs. These are solutions that exist today, helping to reduce the barrier to implementation for cities and opening international opportunities for companies like Astando, that continually invent new urban solutions like Billy Bike affecting the lives of millions of citizens. In the coming months, the pilot will bring this solution to life for the citizens of Copenhagen to build their own opinion and contribute to the future of the city's services.

Monitoring your Ageing Parents with Technology

Over the last year, this report has highlighted numerous innovative initiatives involving elderly care. For this reason, I thought I'd feature an article that ran recently on technology and elderly care in the New York Times. The article is valuable in that it not only introduces different ways to bridge elderly-care through technology but it also dissects the challenges of these systems and recognizes the real need to personalize late-life care by providing anecdotal and empirical evidence alike. In some cases technology may simply be too invasive for and elderly parent or in other cases, the individual's lack of mobility might make independent living impossible. Moreover, the article doesn't pretend that technology can ever completely supplement the important role that family, friends and one's community play in maintaining quality of life for an elderly individual. Rather, without being redundant, it gives us an up to date glance at the potential role of technology in late-life care.

Fatality-Free Cars?

Volvo is making waves with it's most recent corporate initiative. According to the carmaker's Vision 2020 program, by 2020, "nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo." According to Computer World, Volvo and other automakers are hoping a confluence of technology will make cars safer and potentially fatality-free, Computer World reports. At the base of this initiative is existing sensor technologies, such as sensors that allow cars to park themselves or that indicate when a door has been left ajar or when a passenger has failed to fasten their seatbelt. Extending this to the driving experience itself, Volvo plans to test road train technology, which will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from other cars. Some of the technology already exists, such as sensing capabilities that let cars park themselves. As part of its Vision 2020 program, Volvo will start testing "road trains" early next year, in which cars will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from each other. Additional safety systems might include pedestrian sensors which would measure the distance and trajectory of moving objects; therefore, if a person were to step in front of a car, the car might warn the driver and apply an auto-breaking system if the driver is too slow to react to the warning. Volvo says that such a system would prevent a pedestrian collision at speeds up to 20 mph and at higher speeds, the car's velocity would be significantly reduced.

Computer World reports that making cars truly fatality-free involves a new technological infrastructure that can support advanced crash-testing, as well as car-to-car communication. It's not surprising that Volvo is leading this initiative to make cars that much safer.

Fatality-Free Cars?

Volvo is making waves with it's most recent corporate initiative. According to the carmaker's Vision 2020 program, by 2020, "nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo." According to Computer World, Volvo and other automakers are hoping a confluence of technology will make cars safer and potentially fatality-free, Computer World reports. At the base of this initiative is existing sensor technologies, such as sensors that allow cars to park themselves or that indicate when a door has been left ajar or when a passenger has failed to fasten their seatbelt. Extending this to the driving experience itself, Volvo plans to test road train technology, which will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from other cars. Some of the technology already exists, such as sensing capabilities that let cars park themselves. As part of its Vision 2020 program, Volvo will start testing "road trains" early next year, in which cars will use adaptive cruise controls to maintain a set distance from each other. Additional safety systems might include pedestrian sensors which would measure the distance and trajectory of moving objects; therefore, if a person were to step in front of a car, the car might warn the driver and apply an auto-breaking system if the driver is too slow to react to the warning. Volvo says that such a system would prevent a pedestrian collision at speeds up to 20 mph and at higher speeds, the car's velocity would be significantly reduced.

Computer World reports that making cars truly fatality-free involves a new technological infrastructure that can support advanced crash-testing, as well as car-to-car communication. It's not surprising that Volvo is leading this initiative to make cars that much safer.

Monitoring Our Rivers. Hudson, NY

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8085732&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0 Beacon Institute: REON from Beacon Institute on Vimeo.

Last week, Director and CEO of NY's Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries spoke at an even that IBM held on advances in streaming and analytics for IT bloggers. Of the speakers at the event, Cronin stood out for his emphatic yet progressive take on role sensors can and should play in the environmental movement. Arguing that environmentalism has become detached from innovation and that this attitude is killing our waterways unless we are able to use technology to bolster real-time monitoring, Cronin made the case for some of his institutes most progressive, ground-breaking and tech-saavy programs. The idea is simple: IBM and Beacon, which is developing technology, systems and sensors to monitor water in real-time, aim to create the equivalent of a water weather report; Cronin pointed out during out that where we might have access to information on the weather report on the other side of the world, we have very little day to day information on the state of our water systems.

With the help of IBM, Beacon hopes to make the Hudson the most networked waterway in the world with real-time data management and transmission data. Cronin noted "The Hudson isn’t an ecosystem. It’s an information system. If we don’t look at it in a 21st century fashion we’re doomed.”

The need for such systems isn't lost on most of us, especially in light of the oil spill in the gulf. As water becomes scarce, the need for such initiatives seems more imperative than ever. Interested readers can learn more about the Beacon Institute and their initiatives here.

Toxin Sensing Mobile Phones

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have just finished the first phase of an initiative to develop a mobile sensor capable of detecting toxic chemicals in our environment. With a small startup called Rhevision Inc., the chief researcher on the project, Michael Sailor, has devised the sensor, a porous flake of silicon which changes color when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits.

According to Sailor, the sensor "works a lot like a nose. We have a set of sensory cells that detect specific chemical properties. It’s the pattern of activation across the array of sensors that the brain recognizes as a particular smell. In the same way, the pattern of color changes across the surface of the chip will reveal the identity of the chemical.” At this point in the development phase, the sensors can be used to identify methyl salicylate and a handful of other chemical agents used in chemical weapons. However, it's Sailor's hope that the sensors could be used to distinguish between hundreds of different compounds.

Using a fine-scale detail in the optical array, the team uses a new kind of supermacro lens that works more like an animal’s eye than a camera lens, allowing a them to achieve much more detailed readings.

“The beauty of this technology is that the number of sensors contained in one of our arrays is determined by the pixel resolution of the cell phone camera. With the megapixel resolution found in cell phone cameras today, we can easily probe a million different spots on our silicon sensor simultaneously. So we don’t need to wire up a million individual sensors,” Sailor said. “We only need one. This greatly simplifies the manufacturing process because it allows us to piggyback on all the technology development that has gone into making cell phone cameras lighter, smaller, and cheaper.”

Eventually the research team will push to develop a new network of toxin-sensing mobile phones with their innovative sensors. Much in the way the quake quake-catcher network works, individual mobile phone users equipped with these sensors would form a coordinated network of sensors; and, in the event of a chemical leak or toxic exposure, scientists could use the coordinated network to map toxic exposure as it unfolded.

Toxin Sensing Mobile Phones

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have just finished the first phase of an initiative to develop a mobile sensor capable of detecting toxic chemicals in our environment. With a small startup called Rhevision Inc., the chief researcher on the project, Michael Sailor, has devised the sensor, a porous flake of silicon which changes color when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits.

According to Sailor, the sensor "works a lot like a nose. We have a set of sensory cells that detect specific chemical properties. It’s the pattern of activation across the array of sensors that the brain recognizes as a particular smell. In the same way, the pattern of color changes across the surface of the chip will reveal the identity of the chemical.” At this point in the development phase, the sensors can be used to identify methyl salicylate and a handful of other chemical agents used in chemical weapons. However, it's Sailor's hope that the sensors could be used to distinguish between hundreds of different compounds.

Using a fine-scale detail in the optical array, the team uses a new kind of supermacro lens that works more like an animal’s eye than a camera lens, allowing a them to achieve much more detailed readings.

“The beauty of this technology is that the number of sensors contained in one of our arrays is determined by the pixel resolution of the cell phone camera. With the megapixel resolution found in cell phone cameras today, we can easily probe a million different spots on our silicon sensor simultaneously. So we don’t need to wire up a million individual sensors,” Sailor said. “We only need one. This greatly simplifies the manufacturing process because it allows us to piggyback on all the technology development that has gone into making cell phone cameras lighter, smaller, and cheaper.”

Eventually the research team will push to develop a new network of toxin-sensing mobile phones with their innovative sensors. Much in the way the quake quake-catcher network works, individual mobile phone users equipped with these sensors would form a coordinated network of sensors; and, in the event of a chemical leak or toxic exposure, scientists could use the coordinated network to map toxic exposure as it unfolded.

A-Pix Image Sensors for Mobile Phones

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfu0p6Zw4IQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&] In exciting news, the company Aptina has launched new A-pix image sensors for mobile phones that promise to allow mobile phone users to identify and catalogue images using the sensors. Watch the vide above to learn how Aptina sensors deploy new technologies that promise to change the user experience. The A-Pix is a series of advanced pixel technologies, featuring lightguide and deep photodiode, and 65 nanometer pixel design rules that cost-effectively advance pixel performance. The new, third generation Aptina A-Pix enhances quantum efficiency and minimizes cross talk to capture sharp images with vibrant colors even in the low-light conditions that challenge traditional sensors.

Apple Heart Monitor

<img alt="" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4052/4598228273_3f6e5f29d9.jpg" title="Apple Cardiac Monitor" class="alignnone" width="298" height="500" / Earlier this month apple filed a patent for an iPhone embedded heart monitor---in the patent itself, Apple tells us the following about the technology:

This is directed to an electronic device having an integrated sensor for detecting a user's cardiac activity and cardiac electrical signals. The electronic device can include a heart sensor having several leads for detecting a user's cardiac signals. The leads can be coupled to interior surfaces of the electronic device housing to hide the sensor from view, such that electrical signals generated by the user can be transmitted from the user's skin through the electronic device housing to the leads. In some embodiments, the leads can be coupled to pads placed on the exterior of the housing. The pads and housing can be finished to ensure that the pads are not visibly or haptically distinguishable on the device, thus improving the aesthetic qualities of the device. Using the detected signals, the electronic device can identify or authenticate the user and perform an operation based on the identity of the user. In some embodiments, the electronic device can determine the user's mood from the cardiac signals and provide data related to the user's mood.

Though I'm a bit skeptical of any gadget's ability to predict my mood (even one designed by apple), I think this addition will be interesting for other reasons. Certainly, health fanatics and exercise enthusiasts should rejoice---I don't doubt that there will be a flood of new bio-feedback applications for ipods and iPhones equipped with this technology.

Quake Catcher Network

quake catcher In the wake of the unlucky string of earthquakes around the world, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the Quake-Catcher Network (QCN). QCN is a collaborative initiative for developing the world's largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers.

The premise of the network is pretty simple and the QCN website does a pretty good job of simplifying it for us laymen: Many laptops currently have a Sudden Motion Sensors or Active Protection Systems inside them. While these sensors were originally designed to help protect the computer's hard disk in case they are dropped or shaken, seismologists can use them to detect earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links participating laptops into a single coordinated network that can detect and analyze earthquakes faster and better than ever before. The laptop network and desktop network is the least expensive seismic network in the world. Because volunteers (individuals like you) donate idle CPU time on laptops with these sensors already built in, each additional sensor doesn’t cost a thing!

Volunteers simply download the software and allow it to idle while they use their computer as they usually would. Their computers are connected to the QCN over the internet. Typically, their personal laptop monitors the data locally for new high-energy signals and only sends a single time and a single significance measurement for strong new signals. When the server receives a bunch of these times and significance measurements all at once, then it is likely that an earthquake is happening. If the server receives only a time and significance measurement from one laptop, then the server knows the laptop was shaken by something smaller and more local (did they drop the laptop or did somebody slam the door?).

As with any initiative this ambitious, the concept only works if people participate and join the network.

If you want to join Quake Catcher Network, you can learn more about it here.

Common Sense Air Sensors

Berkeley, California--Researchers at Intel Research and UC Berkeley have been experimenting with mobile air sensors in California in an effort to map air quality in the bay area. We've written about similar efforts before, namely the effort to map air quality with Sensaris sensors in Copenhagen (check out the live feed on the Copenahagen Layer here.), but I like this project because it's been around for a few years. Therefore, you can actually see the ebb and flow of air quality in metropolitan area as populations grow and transport systems change. Check out the youtube video below, it makes the science behind the sensors particularly accessible. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yco5It4r3c&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Better Understand the Soundscape around you

Is the world around you literally very noisy? Trains keeping you up at night? Or, is early morning traffic impeding on your sleep? Then, you might be compelled to check out the WideNoise application for the iPhone, an application which allows you to measure the level of noise pollution that engulfs you on a day to day basis. Widenoise has used a sound meter to calibrate the microphone against pink noise---the form of noise similar to the sounds that our ears perceive the best---and then compensates for the limitations of the microphone on the iphone.

To get a sense of the noisy world you live in relative to other Widenoise converts, use the application to map your noise exposure. Checking out the Widenoise map on their website, I can clue myself in to the hum of a sleeping cat outside Milan.

Though Widenoise isn't a necessary addition to your phone capabilities, it may better illuminate your surroundings.

Showcase Award coverage by German National TV 3sat

3sat neues, a programme covering new technologies on German national television attended the Living Labs Global Showcase Award Ceremony, covering the event and airing interviews with Lluis Recoder, Mayor of Sant Cugat, Sascha Haselmayer, General Director Living Labs Global, and Josep Miquel Pique, CEO of 22@ Barcelona. The coverage celebrated the efforts by Living Labs Global to find innovative solutions to societal problems based on a range of technologies and Showcased the Taxi2 mobile solution, presented for the first time to the public at the event; Urbiotica's solutions for a digital urban operating system of wireless sensors and management; and the intelligent streetlighting systems in 22@ Barcelona.

Here the link to the coverage of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award (German)

Here the link to the coverage of 22@ Barcelona and Urbiotica (German)

3sat neues - full programme - Mobile World Congress and Living Labs Global Showcase Award