Thursday, July 30, 2009

Singularity University? What about a Singularity Community College, with a mobile/distance learning option?

After I posted David Orban's presentation about the Internet of Things and Spime Design, which was part of the 2009 Singularity University, I took a deeper look at the Singularity University website. There are 3-day and 10-day programs geared for executives, and a 9-week Graduate Studies Program.

The Singularity University, held at the NASA Ames Research Center, "aims to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity’s grand challenges."

The tuition for the 9-week program of study at the Singularity University is $25,000.00. It is not an inclusive environment, from what I can tell from the description of the ideal Singularity University student:

1. "We are looking for students who are creative, intelligent, and driven-for-excellence from around the world."
2. "Experts in one of the 10 track areas, and have a passion to learn about other tracks."
3. "They are proven leaders and entrepreneurs. We are looking for the next generation of CEPs, University Deans/Presidents and Government leaders."
4. "We are looking for internationalists: people who are bilingual or multilingual with a strong command of English (the language used to teach SU courses) and people who have traveled widely.
5. "They are interested in understanding and addressing the world's grand challenges."

The following tracks offered by the Singularity University include the following:

What the world REALLY needs is a Singularity Community College, with the same faculty as the University version. The community college version would also provide a ubiquitous learning option for those of us too busy to attend courses in person.

Nine weeks, $250.00 a student. Transformation? Priceless.

For your convenience, below is some information about the movers and shakers affiliated with the Singularity University . The information is from the Singularity University website.

Faculty & Advisors

Here is the list of the 2009 Singularity University students:

More from the Singularity University website:

"The following companies and organizations are working in partnership with Singularity University. Their contributions and credibility are critical to the growth of this institution"


  • 23andMe
  • AppJet Inc.
  • ePlanet Ventures
  • Corporate Games
  • Google
  • IDEO
  • LinkedIn
  • X-Prize


  • Cushing Academy
  • International Space University


  • KurzweilAI
  • Singularity Hub
  • The Conversation Group


Founders’ Circle

"The Founders Circle is composed of those individuals and companies who provided the start-up capital to establish Singularity University. Their contributions and credibility are critical to the Founding of this institution."

Corporate Founders ($250K+)

Associate Founders ($100K+)

Supporters ($5K – $100K)

The Singularity University is a non-profit organization. The term "Singularity" was adopted from Ray Kurzweil's book, "The Singularity is Near". According to information on Ray Kurzweil's website,

"The Singularity" is a phrase borrowed from the astrophysics of black holes. The phrase has varied meanings; as used by Vernor Vinge and Raymond Kurzweil, it refers to the idea that accelerating technology will lead to superhuman machine intelligence that will soon exceed human intelligence, probably by the year 2030. The results on the other side of the "event horizon," they say, are unpredictable. We'll try anyway."

David Orban's Internet of Things & Spime Design presentation at the Singularity University 2009

Below is David Orban's presentation about the Internet of Things and Spime Design at the 2009 Singularity University at the NASA Ames center.

More about the Singularity University will be included in my next post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The IBM Web or Internet of Things: "A Smarter Planet"

I've noticed that IBM is permeating the masses with the "A Smarter Planet" campaign, and is also very busy building the Internet of Things. If you are like me and DVR your televisionnprogramming, you might have missed the following commercials featuring hardworking, smart IBMers:

Smart Cities

Smarter Info Management

Smarter Energy Grid

Smarter Math

IBM YouTube Advertising Channel

Here are a couple of good articles to read about this topic:

"Imagine a world with millions, perhaps trillions, of sensors that use IBM technology - because that's what Big Blue is imagining." IBM and The Internet of Things
7/22/09 Richard MacManus, Read-Write Web

The Internet of Things. Or Web 3.0
7/22/09 Adam Christensen, A Smarter Planet Blog

David Pogue's humorous take on Google Voice

The NY Time's David Pogue's humorous look at why everyone should consider Google Voice, "One Phone Number, Online Voicemail, and Enhanced Call Features".

I especially like how the video provides a look at exploring and then solving the "problem space" through various scenarios.

I got my Google Voice number today- now I need to figure out the next steps!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News about Smart Grids and Smart Kitchens

Duke Energy has established a Smart Grid in one of the neighborhoods in Charlotte, N.C. So what exactly does a Smart Grid look like? Take a look at the following slideshow:

So what exactly is a Smart Grid? It is a system to support "smarter" ways to manage and use energy, and utilizes intelligent sensors along power lines, communication nodes on utility poles, and Smart Meters at customers' homes. Duke Power has provided customers with home management systems to provide them with "timely energy usage information".

Here's the video:

Smart Grid: Virtual Power Plant

You can have a Smart Grid Kitchen along with your Smart Grid energy service, at least sometime in the near future. The pictures below are from CNET News:

It is networked via WiMax:

It comes with a lot of "stuff", hopefully it can be tastefully hidden or decorated:

I don't see a single woman in the GE Smart Grid Kitchen pictures.


GE SmartGrid Website

GE appliances to connect to smart grid via Tendril
Martin LaMonica, CNET News, 7/8/09
"The integration will allow consumers to control their appliances from different points, such a Web browser, iPhone, or in-home display."

Cisco to Use Its Own Home Energy Gear for Duke Smart Grid Rollout
Katie Fehrenbacher, Earth2tech 6/11/09

"The networking giant unveiled a deal this week that will see it lead a $1 billion smart grid infrastructure buildout for Duke Energy and Cisco tells us that for the consumer portion, it will largely be deploying its own smart energy home hardware, which includes Linksys products and “homeplug” devices that transfer data via power lines."

Privacy Challenges Could Stall Smart Grid
Susan L. Lyon, MatteRNetwork 6/1/09

Friday, July 17, 2009

LTE vs WiMax: Trying my best to understand emerging technologies....

There have been debates about technology for a long time. I recently came across Mike Demler's blog, The World is Analog. Demler attended the IEEE Mobile WiMax Symposium and shared what he learned on his post, "IEEE Mobile WiMax Symposium, Part I". In this post, Demler points out that the concept of the "internet of things" was a reoccuring theme during the symposium, and mentioned that there are many issues related to the future growth of the mobile internet.

Demler makes some good points. Capped data plans didn't work very well during the '90's. Demler gives the example of the old AOL dial-up plans, where people paid by the minute, often running up huge bills in AOL chat rooms. 3G networks lack the capacity to keep up with the growing demand for higher-bandwidth communication. At this time, there is no certain solution, as some predict that WiMax is the wave of the future, and others feel that LTE will be here to stay.

So what is LTE?

A quick look at a Wikipedia entry on the subject doesn't do a very good job of explaining things clearly. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, but what is that, really? It you want to know more about the alphabet soup related to LTE, click on the following links
: FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing), TDD (Time Division Duplex), GSM, cdmaOne, W-CDMA (UMTS), 3GPP, PU2RC, MU-MIMO, HSDPA, Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA), QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, MIMO

The Wikipedia entry about LTE comes with the following warning:

What is WiMax?

It stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. What's that?
You can find out more via Wikipedia.

Another warning:

Apparently, these technologies are confusing techies:

LTE vs WiMax: A Little 4G Sibling Rivalry
Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM, (3/5/08)

Here are a few more articles that describe LTE and WiMax, and the "battle" between the two:

LTE vs WiMAX: The 4G Wireless War
Afzal Bajwa, Technologizer (5/20/09)

10 Things You Need to Know About LTE
Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOM, (2/26/09)

I recently learned that GE's Smart Kitchen uses WiMax. I think Duke Power's Smart Grid runs on Cisco's Linksys network system. See my post, "News about Smart Grids and Smart Kitchens". Also see "Pervasive Computing, DOOH, Intelligent Buildings, Programmable Nano-based Sensors, Privacy & Security, & Ethics.. hmmmm"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Convergence: Mobile content, Interactive Displays, Digital Out of Home, & Danoo

Cross posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog:
Danoo: "Location scouting and scalable web technologies combined to create a targeted DOOH experience".

If you are tech-savy and a member of the digital signage/interactive display/AV end of things, you probably know what this means. If not, you should. Things are pairing, merging, and converging in the world of "out and about" technology.

Technology, especially digital signage, is ubiquitous, and has targeted you and your neighborhood.

So what's the fuss? A company from Danoo, from China, is ramping things up in the Digital Signage/DOOH (Digital Out of Home) arena.

Danoo has rapidly up with exisiting companies, such as National CineMedia, Blue Bite, Electronic Arts, and the HISTORY channel to create and push off-the-desktop and off-the-TV content and interactive user experiences.
Bill Gerba, of Wirespring, and Manolo Almagro, CTO of Show + Tell in NYC (think Times Square digital signage experiences), and others have recently written about this phenomenon, right after Danoo released the following press announcement:

Danoo Inc Announces a Breakthrough in Mobile Content Delivery (7/11/09, Business Wire)
"Danoo partnered with mobile technology company Blue Bite to enable the campaigns, and is actively rolling out its mobile interactivity capability to all of its venues. The first 200 Danoo locations will be live in Los Angeles and New York by July 1st. At full deployment, Danoo will give advertisers the ability to get their content into the hands of more than 200,000 consumers in an average two-week campaign. In addition to content downloads, Danoo offers multiple ways to pair its screens with mobile interactivity to maximize campaign effectiveness, such as SMS call-to-actions, social gaming and mobile application promotion."

"Visitors to Danoo locations viewed video content on Danoo’s digital screens accompanied by an on-screen prompt to download exclusive content such as sneak peeks and ringtones from their Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-enabled devices via the Danoo network."

Here are a few related articles:

How Significant is the Danoo-IdeaCast-National CineMedia Deal?
(7/14/09, Bill Gerba, Wirespring)

A Watershed Moment for DOOH Media
(7/12/09, Bill Collins, Daily DOOH)

Pictures from Danoo's Website:

Danoo's IdeaCast
- "Captive TV".

Danoo's technologies have probably crossed my path numerous times, judging from my archive of pictures of displays I've taken while traveling. The TV screen on the treadmill looks just like the one I saw on a treadmill in the fitness center of a Princess cruise ship last year. The picture in the middle looks like it was taken in an airport. The picture on the right is of a system in a coffeehouse. According to information on the Danoo website, the system is interactive and includes "content downloads, social gaming, mobile couponing and more via SMS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi".

Blue Bite's website is worth looking at. It demonstrates their concept very well through animation:

Blue Bite: "Take the Ad With You"

Things are ramping up in my region, too.

T1 Tapas, a restaurant north of Charlotte, N.C., in the Birkdale Village in Huntersville, has majority owners with a technology background. Mike Feldman and Jim Morris started up Digital Optics Corporation, which focused on optics for computers and imaging, and after they sold their company, they teamed up with Denise Feldman to establish their company.

T 1 Connection Booth with Multi-User Touch Screen, HD TV, Sound System, Computer, & more:

"T1 Connection Booth seating gives you access to music, photos, and videos through built-in touchscreen tabletops, brilliant monitors, speakers, and computers." -Picture and taken from the T 1 Tapas website

The restaraunt serves as a test bed for T 1 Visions to try out their software and hardware designed to enhance the digitally connected dining experience. The restaurant was featured in May of this year on CNN:

Here is the link to the video: "High Tech Tapas"

Pervasive Computing, DOOH, Intelligent Buildings, Programmable Nano-based Sensors, Privacy & Security, & Ethics...hmmm

Through my coursework and readings, I've become more aware of issues that we face in the future regarding the use of intelligent agents within the applications and related technologies that are cropping up in public spaces. Most people who pass by digital displays in retail settings don't know that quite a bit of information can be gathered about them, without their knowledge or permission, via camera-enabled technology, embedded in the displays around them.

These issues have been percolating for quite some time. Most recently, a company from China, Danoo, has partnered with Blue Bite, to use location scouting and scalable web technologies to provided very specific marketing content to people as they are out and about. To participate in this process, detailed metrics regarding the user/customer is required. Although I assume this information is used for marketing purposes only, the data generated by this system, over time, would generate quite a bit of fodder for someone who was interested in using this information for ill-intended purposes.

From what I can tell, this is a topic that is not on the radar of the mainstream population. I'm concerned that we don't have a forum for sharing information and gathering input from the general public about this matter.

Perhaps there is some hope.

Christine Peterson, of the Foresight Nanotech Institute, raises some key issues and important questions that need further discussion in her talk, "Open Source Physical Security: Can we have both?"(pdf), part of the O'Reily Open Source Convention held in 2008. Christine is invovled in the Open Source Sensing initiative, one of the projects of the Foresight Institute.

The following byline and related graphic, taken from the Open Source Sensing website highlights why this is very important:

"Pervasive sensing is arriving soon -
we have a short window of opportunity for guiding this technology to protect both our security *and* our privacy."

Christine asks the question, "Who can figure out whether & how to collect public sensing data? She states that we "need a community that understands the relationships between security, privacy, functionality (and) freedom".

Christine points out that governments use a "top-down" approach to a "bottom-up" problem. This process, she defines, is centralized, mandatory, monolithic, limited in participation, secretive, and leads to a "Surveillance State". (Think "1984").

The biggest problem, in my opinion, related to this topic, is that it affects a wide range of sectors that are in the process of converging, and this convergence appears to be market-driven. Intelligent Buildings. Digital Out of Home. Interactive Display Marketing Systems. Mobile Gaming. Location-Based Media. Some of these issues are becoming important areas of concern in academia, particularly with those involved in privacy/security, pervasive computing research, and so forth.

Video of Presentation


Some socio-technical aspects of intelligent buildings and pervasive computing research (pdf)
Vic Callaghan, Graham Clark, Jeannette Chin of the Digital Lifestyles Centre, University of Essex
Intelligent Buildings International (1)

"In this article we have discussed how embedded intelligent agents might contribute to future directions of intelligent buildings and smart environments, together with raising social consequence of their use. Currently there is an increasing level of debate on ethical issues such as privacy in ICT, particularly with respect to technologies such as identity and loyalty cards, data mining, internet search engines and RFID tags. As computer scientists actively researching the technologies involved, we have sought to extend this discussion into the area of intelligent buildings and smart environments....we have found ourselves dealing with questinos that concern the ethics of specific aspects of intelligent buildings and smart environments together with its potential for being turned from a beneficial technology for both the individual and society into its opposite....These issues are also critical for all those pursuing ambient intelligence projects which intail the widespread deployment of intelligent agents."

Foresight: Open Source Sensing

Open Source Sensing Blog "Maximizing benefits and minimizing downsides of the Sensing Age"

Video Clip: Nokia's Study of Gestures Around the World (6th sense?)

The video explains it all.

The video is from the Nokia Conversations YouTube channel.

(Fritz Desir, thanks for the link!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interaction with Mobile Phones: Building On Android - Sony Ericsson's Rachael & HTC Hero

Both Sony Ericsson and HTC have built upon Google's Android build to create new "user experiences" for mobile phones.

Sony Ericsson Rachael UI Video:

"Sony Ericsson "Rachael" Android XPERIA handset unveiled?"
(Paul Miller, engadget, 7/4/09)
Sony Ericsson's Android Rachael UI Makes Me Want to Ditch My iPhone
(Jesus Diaz, Gizmodo, 9/8/09)

"Make it Mine, Stay Close, Discover the Unexpected!" Personalization with HTC Hero Touch-enabled Smart Phone"

HTC HeroHTC HeroHTC HeroHTC HeroHTC HeroHTC HeroHTC Hero

HTC rec
ently launched the HTC Hero. I haven't had a chance to touch one, but it looks interesting enough to make a trip to my local mobile phone service provider and see how it works.

"HTC Hero launch event video featuring HTC Sense™ - an intuitive, seamless experience built upon three fundamental principles - make it mine, stay close, and discover the unexpected." -HTC

The two video clips below explain the rationale behind the HTC Hero and why the company thinks it is an important innovation:



A few quotes from the video:

"It begins with listening and observing people as they use their phone..."

"...there has been a fundamental shift in people's phone expectations..."

"People want to stay close with the important people in their lives, and have online information...Voice is key, but no longer enough...The SmartPhone is the New Phone, people no longer expect their Internet to be at their desks anymore. They expect it everywhere they are. The Internet is becoming the fundamental of the mobile phone. Access to web browsing, streaming media, and connected applications has taken off, and this is where Smartphone really excels. People really appreciate the experience..."

HERO UI Introduction:

HTC Debuts Hero, With Fresh Face for Android

(John Herman, Gizmodo, 6/24/09)
Google Android Info
"Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications that run on Android-powered devices."

Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.