Archive for the ‘ Future ’ Category

India Shining – Construction projects abroad

Gulf news featured an article recently about how Reliance has won a project in the USA for working out GAS processing of a huge Gas deposit along with Atlas Energy. India’s Reliance Industries will join hands with Atlas Energy and pick up a 40 per cent stake in Atlas’s operations in the Marcellus Shale. This natural gas project could hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade. The project spans parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has been working hard to expand its presence outside India, break into new markets and broaden its various businesses including refining, oil and gas exploration and petrochemicals. I started discussing the same with my friends here, and together we realized that it seems to be like a small trend that is growing.

India has been known for a long time for its software exports as well as agricultural produce, the technology sector including hardware design with the Notion Ink and the Pi also seem to be racing ahead. But a lesser known sector of construction, EPC Contractors (i.e. Engineering, Procurement and Construction) is slowly but surely making its presence felt around the world. Snooping around the internet I found wuite some good examples of companies from India making a mark abroad in EPC.

Starting with Dubai, Dubai’s construction market is mostly comprised of South African companies, but the Electrical engineering world is dominated completely by ETA, a company based in Dubai but owned and operated by a huge Indian work force. Larsen & Tubro are making their presence felt, so is Voltas. Punj Lloyd, Tata Projects and Reliance are now taking major strides in taking over the Dubai Construction scene. The middle east is checkered with projects from the above companies. Moving along, the Indian companies are getting into markets like Europe and Africa at large. Reliance’s entry into US is a good sign.

Having such world class Indian Companies working the ambitions of Indian Architect and developers is making the developments in India world class as well. What still eludes me is why Indian Infrastructure is still so bad ?????

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Facebook and Death

A while ago I wrote two posts, one about Facebook learning to deal with Death and the second asking the question what happens to your digital self when you die ? Yes, FaceBook did come up with a solution to Memorize pages of friends who were no longer amongst us, but Facebook has now gone one Up with the concept of a sort of a virtual cemetery: a place where people could record their thoughts, memories and life lessons for their family and the public to learn from and discuss. Our Facebook pages are our living testaments. They feature some of our most important memories, the people we care about, and in some cases, our life’s work. They’re a version of our autobiographies and when we die, they can serve as a form of our obituaries.

If your friends have lost someone recently, you’ve probably seen them mourn and celebrate the person’s life online. Sometimes friends or family will create a group dedicated to the memory of that person., and people will add in the memories that they have had with them. When the family or close relatives of that person visits the page, I imagine the feeling is rich and meaningful in a way that’s different from visiting the cemetery.

Facebook’s addition of the ability to “memorialize” pages — a policy born of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was a good start. Memorializing pages turns a personal page into a memorial page. The page is only accessible to confirmed friends and sensitive information like phone numbers and status updates are removed to protect the privacy of the individual. Friends can leave messages on the page and look at the deceased person’s wall postings and photos.

If nobody goes through the process of having the page memorialized or taken down, the page lives on indefinitely and can lead to the jarring experience of seeing their photo pop up on your page with a message to “say hello” to them or add them as a friend. Facebook sets up those notifications to get infrequent users more involved so, naturally, people who have died are among those who show up most.

I suggest to utilize groups and group discussions to mourn and remember the deceased. The group pages allow anyone to join, not just people who were Facebook friends with the deceased. Groups are set up to be more of a community so it facilitates interaction among people. People can discuss specific memories, or upload photos for example.

Facebook doesn’t have specific numbers of memorialized pages or groups, but as Facebook users get older, the numbers will increase. Perhaps someday there will be more memorial pages than pages for living people.

To report a deceased person’s profile on Facebook, and turn it into a memorialized account.

For more information on creating and managing a Facebook group.

Apple wants us to SEE augmented reality .. cool

When I read the article in Engadget about Apple contemplating to make a pair of glasses that would well be a device to repel women. I admit it it is ugly at first sight.  This is what they have to say about it.

Essentially an iPhone dock that sits on your face like a pair of glasses, “Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display” details a headset that contains a stereo display and either a camera or a window for your phone’s camera. Also included in the patent application is a microphone, speaker, batteries, and an accelerometer for detecting the user’s head movements. Something like this would be great for augmented reality applications — and something like this would make ever getting a date that much more difficult.

At first sight it does look horrible, it is however a first step that innovation and companies are taking towards Wearable Electronics and Augmented Reality devices as a consumer electronic device.

4 - CLIP MECHANISM +

For people who are more interested in the technical nitty gritties you can head out here. Well I am excited about this, cos one of my most read posts of all time is actually Nokia Mixed Reality, where Nokia demoed a device that did the same; this means that you guys are also interested in this. Check out the video below again:

Well I know that this is not something that people will buy immediately, but will definitely pick up like the mobiles, or the smartphones, or at least I hope. Heres wishing luck to Apple 🙂

Augmented Reality Apps that I want to see today !

and How long it might take in reality.

[tweetmeme] Everyone remembers the movie Terminator 2, where Arnold gazes around his surrounding to find a lot of information about his environment which he uses to make appropriate decisions. The viewer is told about this awesome gadget when we are allowed to view through his eyes per say. Augmented Reality is demoed sort of for the first time, commercially.

Engineers, designers and futurists have been trying to make it a reality along with making demos of how it is going to look like. Based on what we have been seeing in the past few months, it is clear that it is possible and the feasibility and working details need to be worked out. Various smartphones have started offering clunky AR apps that show you things like restaurant reviews when you point your camera at a store’s facade. But with all the crazy technology already on today’s market, we’re saying that’s not enough! Here are some applications we want to see today.

1. Augmented Reality Gaming :

The experience of gaming is to take an awesome overhauling through Augmented Reality, there are a few demos available on YouTube. With the advent of the Playstation EyeToy as well as Microsoft Project Natal the gaming industry is reaching a point where they are not only happy to embrace the technology but also make it awesome.

I Want to have awesome gaming experience like first player shooter games to be available now. But seriously I think this can be made completely available after the invention of good AR spectacles or the contact lens (See below)

2. Augmented Reality Windscreen for the Car

Yes I did write about how GM is working its way forward to getting this feature enabled in our cars. But having this instead of a normal screen is so much more cooler, getting all the information that you would need while driving around is a great feeling along with making life so much more simpler.

Driving around to not only not loose your way, but be guided to emergency services when you are lost for direction is also an advantage of Augmented Reality.

GM / Siemens already have prototypes available, so this might be available in the next 2 years on a large scale.

3. Door Peepholes with embedded AR

Augmented Reality in doors can enable to have a look at the person on the door, making it safer to check on the person. When someone knocks on our door, we want to know not only if they look like a murderer, but also their name and age. This could be possible using a facial recognition camera built into the peephole. While we’re at it, why not a quick popup of our visitor’s Facebook profile or their most recent tweet? In an AR world, ain’t nobody taking us by surprise!

We already have Business cards which make use of Facial Recognition for identifying people. This needs to get extended. Lets hope that this happens soon and the product can be available in two years tops.

4. Augmented Reality Maps

Be it the Pandora of Avatar, or just Lakshya from Bollywood, 3D maps are cool. Not to mention the fact that in the age of combat preperation and planning they provide an added advantage to be able to see the actual scene where you would be able to go. Add to it, Google Maps, Sketchup and the Google Map Builder. You have all the information available to make a 3D map of most of the  places.

This technology will not only help combat, but will be able to provide support in terms of relief as well as interesting addition to the classroom as well. I would say this should be available now, as the technology allows it to be possible.

I guess I will do more of these applications in the part 2 of this post. Look out for it 🙂

Pimp up your car with the new AR Windshield

I love technology, Augmented Reality is a favorite technology of the future and like a lot of people around the world I am insistent that it is going to be as big as technology can get. Companies are slowly realizing the potential of this platform as not just a great marketing and advertising tool, or a toy, but a definitive tool to help bridge the virtual and real world. Proof of the above statement is now car manufacturers are looking at making the technology available through Heads Up Displays on the windshield. Yes you read that right, AR is coming soon to a car near you. Well beofe we see what is available, lets see what it can look like ?

General Motors has been working with several universities to develop a working next-generation heads-up display that turns an ordinary windshield into an augmented reality information dashboard. Such a system can improve safety and advance knowledge behind the wheel, visually identifying important objects in physical space like road signs and the edges of the road you’re on in conditions of poor visibility. It can even bring GPS functions right into the dashboard by outlining the exact building you’re going to.

According to Technology Review, to turn the entire windshield into a display, GM used a special type of glass coated with red-emitting and blue-emitting phosphors–a clear synthetic material that glows when it is excited by ultraviolet light. The phosphor display is then activated by tiny, ultraviolet lasers bouncing off mirrors bundled near the windshield.  Three cameras mounted on the dashboard track the driver’s head and eyes to determine where she is looking.

The HUD windshield uses night vision, navigation and camera-based sensors to gather data relevant to your surroundings as you drive, and ultraviolet lasers project corresponding images onto the windshield surface. GM says to look for this system being incorporated into its vehicles in the near future.

Green Parking spots, the need of the hour.

Cars have increased over the past few years and along with them the services that are required to cater to the car market. The biggest of these is Parking Lots. Parking lots are not only a ugly blob on the landscape, but ecologically they replace in most cases the environment around that area with tarmac and then infuse the area with more car exhaust smoke killing anything that has a chance of growing around the area as well. With more and more people getting aware about the budding environmental issues, companies and designers are continuously thinking of new ideas that promote the use of clean energy. Industrial designers have always dreamt about the possibilities of solar-powered parking lots that not only recharge with clean energy but also generate electricity for lighting purpose. Car parking lots of the future are definitely going to be much more than just storage areas for our vehicles. The image of the Volkswagen Automated Parking system sparked the interest to find similar or better green parking designs around the world. Here we have some of the best green car parking concepts. The list also includes green car parking lots that have already been set up at some places. A note, most of the designs are from the Think Outside the Parking Box competition organized by Designboom and Nissan.

Volkswagen factory Automated Parking system

This is a picture that is circulating the internet for a very long time, and for the most part I thought it was a render of a parking solution which is a bit futuristic in design. I was bowled over to see that this is actually in use and it makes use of only 20% of the space of a conventional parking space for similar capacity. The robotic sorting and storage system is a remarkable engineering marvel. I would love to see a lot more of these in the world, at least in Dubai as parking is a nightmare here. Add to that, its ecologically friendly also.

Japan

If at all there was a country in the world that is synonymous with innovation it would have to be Japan. They take the quote, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions” to the extreme next step. All over Japan there are awesome examples of how car parking is handled in the city. Here are some pictures from the interwebs. Select few are displayed here : http://www.pbase.com/selsadek10/parking_in_japan

Green P parking system:

Designer: Algis Berziunas and Laima Rimkute

The concept is based on the decentralization of parking systems into many smaller spots that can be placed in unused spaces such as under flyovers and bridges. The Green P system also includes a lighting system that can replace or supplement ordinary road lights by charging them with solar energy generated by panels installed on the Green P’s roof. Check out some of the renders below :

More on a city wide

The Eco Parking lot:

Design: Green Corridor

Bringing environmental technologies and green design practices under one roof is the Eco Parking Lot. The stylish design will incorporate green plantation and stormwater remediation technology making it more efficient while maximizing greening potential. This visual treat with special student parking will benefit the Community and city of Windsor. The Eco Parking Lot will utilize environmental technologies and green design practices to create a hardscape that is practical and innovative. The surrounding community will benefit from the additional planting, stormwater remediation technology and designated student parking. The stylized layout of the parking lot acts to make parking more efficient while maximizing greening potential within the lot. As another aesthetic marker for the Community and city of Windsor, the Eco Parking Lot will utilize current dormant space to provide a welcomed service for its users and neighbors.

The Solar Forest Concept

Designer: Neville Mars

As the name suggests, this concept brings trees like structures into action. The Solar Forest Concept consists of trees that are made up of photovoltaic leaves, whose sole purpose is to collect solar power. At the truck of each tree is a power outlet that is used to charge up electric vehicles. Apart from providing charge, the photovoltaic leaves also gives shade to the cars. Instead of having parking lots filling the urban landscape, the Solar Forest offers shade, free EV charging, solar energy generation while simultaneously greatly improving the appearance of the urban landscape. Check out the YouTube video below:

90 degrees vertical parking system

Designer: Baita Bueno

The 90 degrees vertical parking system, one-of-a-kind parking concept parks your car vertically. While you tuck your vehicles into the parking lot, the panels on the flip-side pursue the solar vigor to energize the reclining motor or just keeps piling on for some better use in future. Along with power generation, the unique system allows three cars to park vertically where normally a single car is parked. I remember vividly the scenes from iRobot starring Will Smith. They had these shown, was really impressed. Again, now since this might be coming to life it will be an awesome addition anyway. More pics below:

The Solasis Light Tower:

Designer: Klaud Wasiak and Yongbang Ho

Here is a concept offshore parking area that generates solar energy to recharge electric cars and add valuable juice to the grid. This renewable energy generating parking lot is equipped with a solar power concentrating tower that uses the windshields and hoods of cars as sun tracking and concentrating mirrors. Drivers of the vehicles will also have the option to either use the underground metro line to get back to the city center from the offshore location or walk into the city.

Solar parking Concept:

Designer: Nejur Andrei

Romanian designer Nejur Andrei’s Solar Parking Concept is an impressive perception, for it offers a dual solution to parking and charging of electric vehicles as well. What the design proposes is the wireless transmission of charge from the solar canopy to the charging coil embedded in the asphalt and later, to the car battery.

After sensing an electric car parked, the parking system automatically starts the wireless charging process. The underground battery pack passes this charge on to the multiple charging coils just below the parked car and from here, a receiving coil integrated under the car sucks that charge up. Once the car’s battery is full, the sensors embedded in the asphalt stop the charging process.

Solaire Parking Canopy:

Design: Solaire Generation

Solaire Generation proudly revealed the Solaire Parking Canopy at the Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco, CA. This innovative creation is a modular system that converts the underutilized open parking lots into power plants by providing ingenious structure for PV solar panels. Solaire Generation aims to revolutionize the solar parking lot market with its innovative design. The key features of the Solaire Parking Canopy include Outputs high energy regardless of geographic orientation, Acts as a grey water system, Well-suited for all solar panels and films, Solid steel decking, Dual charging facility – electric and fuel, Establish pioneering advertising space,

This multi-featured unique creation makes Solaire Generation America’s leading provider of solar parking canopies. Apart from the canopy, the company has also developed the Solaire Tree. The solar powered tree shaped structure has a seating at the bottom that could act as a wireless and solar charging station.

Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure:

The building does meet or exceed many of the US Green Building Council’s LEED guidelines. A solar photovoltaic array on the roof provides shade for top level parking and on-site renewable energy. The materials used in construction were recycled and finished with low-VOC paints and finishes. The building envelope utilizes low-e glazing to decrease heating and cooling loads and the mechanicals are energy efficient. A storm-drain water-treatment system helps reduce tainted runoff from directly entering the hydrosphere and greywater harvesting provides for landscaping and on-site facilities.

The Santa Monica Civic Center garage provides 900 parking spaces throughout six above ground stories and 1 ½ below ground levels. Of those 900 spaces, 14 (or less than 2%) are devoted to electric vehicles with public electrical outlets. There’s also free bicycle storage available to “encourage alternate transportation modes.”

Dell’s headquarters parking lot

Any of us who have left their car in a sunny parking lot for a few hours and returned to an oven-like interior know that there’s a lot of wasted energy right there. To make matters worse, we usually then crank up the A/C to compensate, increasing the environmental damage.

Well, here’s a clever way to leave cars in shade and generate electricity at the same time: A solar-power-gathering parking lot. Above is a shot of a “Solar Grove” built by Envision Solar for Dell Computer’s corporate headquarters in Texas. The panels not only generate juice for the facility, but are also connected to two CleanCharge stations that electric vehicles can plug into. Check out the concept video below:

Romag’s PowerPark canopy

The PowerPark canopy at Romag’s headquarters in Consett generates enough juice to power the EVs parked under it. It is capable of producing 1.5kW of peak power in optimal conditions. It has been designed to be linked to the National Grid, so any power generated but not pumped into an e-car can be utilized in a more efficient manner.

Innovation to help the Blind read novels

Everyone knows that the best way or the only way that the Blind read is through their hands using the very innovative and universal standard Braille. There is however a big problem considering the fact that all books need to be specifically made for the blind to read. And doing a quick search on the interwebs will let you know that the choice for reading for these fellow men and women is not that great. I guess if you can single out the one quality of a person that makes them human, its Choice. So in a way the fact that technology is not available for people to get this choice is a failure of technology, right. Guess some people did think about it and well here are few concept gadgets to help break that shackles.

The technology’s already here, we just need a venture capital firm and a determined entrepreneur to make it happen. A foursome of designers — Seon-Keun Park, Byung-Min Woo, Sun-Hye Woo and Jin-Sun Park — have banded together to create the above pictured concept, an e-reader for those with limited or no vision. Their Braille E-Book concept theoretically relies on electroactive polymers in order to change the surface’s shape as pages are turned, and while we fully expect the battery life to suffer due to all the necessary commotion, it’s definitely a start that needs to happen.

Simple in design, the device uses electroactive polymers, which change shape when voltage is run through them, forming the raised braille letters. Since the traditional paper braille books for the blind are roughly double the size of normal books, this could be a muscle-saver for those of us who are unseeing or partially sighted.

Apart from the Design from Yanko Studio there is the Haptic Reader another similar device which has more illustrations like how to use the devise as well. Check out he pics below.

Via Yanko Via Engadget