Tag: dystopia

Lost in a Store? The Lightbulbs Can Beam You an Escape Route

By Veronique Greenwood | February 13, 2012 4:32 am

LEDHElloo0OO0! I will show you the way.

Imagine yourself in a department store. You’re lost—alone and stranded somewhere in hosiery. What will you do?! How will you ever find your way to the shoe department? Take a deep breath. Look around you. Are those LED light bulbs on the ceiling? Take out your smart phone, raise the camera so it can see the bulb, and pray that you’re right.

Yes! The LEDs are sending location information to your phone, which, via a newly developed indoor navigation app called ByteLight, provides you with detailed instructions: “Go the the end of the aisle. Turn left. Walk until you can see the escalators. Go up one floor. You are in footwear.” Weeping with relief, you accept ByteLight’s offer to give you detailed step-by-step directions to a pair of shoes that is on sale (in addition to providing navigational information to particular items or areas, it also beams you information about nearby deals).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

The App That Looks Both Ways for You

By Veronique Greenwood | November 30, 2011 1:50 pm

The average city street these days sports quite a number of people gazing down into their phones as they walk, unable to tear their eyes from a text or email, or gabbing away to their second cousin while checking their manicure. If you are among those who prefer to walk upright, watching for oncoming semis, you may have noticed that these people don’t look at walk signals to tell when to cross; instead, they wait until their peripheral vision picks up a phoneless pedestrian making a move for it. I am frequently in that pedestrian, and am not above making occasional false starts to watch people jerk like fish on a line. Sorry, folks.

But! A day is coming when these phone addicts may no longer need to watch you from the corner of their eyes to gauge when it’s safe to cross. Scientists at Dartmouth and University of Bologna have built an app that will alert these pedestrians when collision with an oncoming vehicle is imminent with a helpful series of vibrations and chirrups.

The app, called WalkSafe, uses the phone’s built-in camera to watch traffic and apply vision learning algorithms to identify car-like objects, going on to identify the object’s direction of movement and current speed. It can pick up cars as far away as 160 feet, and if the vehicle is moving at more than 30 mph, the phone will ring and buzz in warning.

However, the camera on the front of the phone does have to be facing traffic. If you’re gazing down into your screen to trade lulz with your bestie, even WalkSafe can’t save you.

[via Technology Review]

When You Never Leave Your Car, It Can Be Your Doctor (and Doting Parent)

By Veronique Greenwood | May 20, 2011 2:36 pm

sync
Those allergies are going to spike—better roll that window up.

Ford wants to make your car more like a phone. Or maybe like a self-contained living pod that you never have to leave.

Some Fords already feature SYNC, a system the company developed with Microsoft in 2007 that lets you control your phone or media player in your car using voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel. With SYNC, you can make hands-free phone calls, have your texts read aloud to you, and automatically call 911 when an air bag deploys in an accident. But the next generation of SYNC apps will be keeping tabs on your health—only logical, the company says, considering how much time we spend in cars and how much more we probably will in the future.

In fact, they sound almost gleeful about the prospect: “People are spending so much time behind the wheel, and that’s expected to increase as we go forward, with increased traffic density and congestion,” a spokesperson said (via PopSci). “(This is) about seeing the car as more than just a car.”

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MORE ABOUT: cars, dystopia, Ford, SYNC
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