Archive for the ‘art’ Category
What’s a FabFi?
FabFi is an open-source, FabLab-grown system using common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles. With Fabfi, communities can build their own wireless networks to gain high-speed internet connectivity—thus enabling them to access online educational, medical, and other resources.
FabFi is a user-extensible long range point-to-point and mesh hybrid-wireless broadband transmission infrastructure. It is based on the simple idea that a network of simple, intelligent, interconnected devices can create reliable networks in unstable environments. We use simple physics to make low-cost devices communicate directionally for very long distances (physics is cool!), and flexible configurations to adapt to a large variety of conditions.
For extreme conditions, we mount commercial wireless routers on fabbed RF (Radio Frequency) reflectors with a wire mesh surface that redirects the RF energy. Reflector gain depends on the materials used and the size of the reflector, but has been measured as high as 15dBi with some of the current designs.
A single wireless link in the FabFi system consists of two reflectors with attached wireless routers. Similarly, two routers can be linked with a wired connection. A single router can be linked to both wired and wireless connections at the same time. The system is configured for individual links to be combined in numerous ways, creating links that cover very long distances or service many users in a small area. A key component of this linking is called “meshing”. A mesh network is one where any device can be connected to one or more other neighbor devices in an unstructured (ad-hoc) manner. Mesh networks are robust and simple to configure because the software determines the routing of data automatically in real-time based on sensing the network topology. Traditional mesh networks are limited in scale because they rely on single radio, wireless-only connections and omni-directional antennas. By using directed wireless links and wired transfers whenever possible, the Fabfi system is optimized for building very large-scale static (as opposed to mobile) mesh networks. With Scale comes the potential for robust digital communities within a region without dependence on high-bandwidth local uplinks, which are expensive and unavailable in many places. Check out the animation for a little more detail (2MB, might take a while to load):
How Reflectors work
FabFi reflectors use the property of parabolic shapes (Y=cX^2) that a when a vector travelling perpendicular to a parabola’s directrix hits the surface of the parabola it is reflected to the parabola’s focal point. (see Mathworld for more on this…) By attaching a RF reflective material such as window screen or chicken wire to a frame that forms the shape of a parabola in three dimensions and then attaching our wireless router to the reflector at the focal point we can precisely concentrate and direct the RF energy coming from the router in transmission and efficiently collect RF energy from the paired router in reception.
An essential component of the FabFi system is it’s flexibility to be implemented with whatever materials are locally available. All that’s required is the ability to print out a 2D design file and create the pieces out of whater material you can find. If you have a Fab Lab, you can use a laser cutter or CNC wood router to create reflectors directly from wood, metal or acrylic, but there’s no reason they can’t be molded from clay, carved from stone or chiseled out of a block of ice as long as there’s a way to attach a metallic RF reflective surface to the front.
Three different reflector designs were implemented in Jalalabad during the inital deployment in January 2009: a large 4′ wooden version, a 2′ wooden version and an 18″ acrylic version. Reflective surface materials included chicken wire, woven stainless steel mesh and window screen.
Needs in the field subsequently drove the development of modified reflector designs with integrated weatherproofing and and fastner-less assembly. These new designs debuted in the summer of 2010.
It was not long afterward, however, that network users began designing and building their own reflectors out of locally sourced scrap materials. While still in need of significant refinement, these reflectors are clear physical signs of technology transfer and local human-capital development in the technology domain. They also cost less than $3US!
Routers and Firmware
FabFi uses an open source 3rd party firmware called OpenWRT on all of its routers. Taking advantage of OpenWRT’s linux-based flexibility, FabFi devices can run a wide range of network monitoring and self-diagnostic tools. The current system supports real-time network monitoring, local web caching centralized access control, user management and usage tracking (for billing). All of this is performed on devices costing $50-$100USD. Automated configuration has been steadily improving since the bygone days of the FabFi 1.0 release. We now support multiple routers across multiple fabfi distributions, and have the ability to configure networks with 802.11n speeds.
In developing places, reliable power is an ongoing challenge. Conveniently, all of our currently supported devices will run on 12VDC, and can be easily powered directly from a car or small engine battery. A car battery and a couple of inexpensive chargers function as reliable UPS devices on two major distribution hubs in the Jalalabad network, powering a bank of routers for nearly two days without city power. In Kenya, we have designed a “node in a box” that provides UPS, mounting and weatherproofing to every node in the network, supporting mains or solar power. Future development is planned for a bare-bones 12V-12V UPS that can be integrated into installations by plugging the provided 100-240VAC switching power brick into the fabbed UPS and the UPS into the router. Wind and other locally harvested powered charging circuits are a parallel FabLab project.
The Fab Future Despite te cobbled-together aesthetic, Fabfi has proven incredibly reliable in Afghanistan’s harsh climate (it reaches 130degF in Jalalabad in the summer with regular sandstorms). Beginning in the summer of 2010, we have expanded the fabfi system to provide direct wireless access to client devices and have been running a community-scale wifi ISP. In more than two years of deployment, we can still count the hardware failures on one hand. To our surprise, the biggest challenge so far has been uplink bandwidth. While many countries tout “mobile broadband” as the solution to universal access problems, the ground truth in most places is that mobile devices alone do not provide sufficient performance (or affordable enough prices) to be viable without some help. In Kenya, fabfi provides a value added service to communities where mobile connectivity is the only means of access by decreasing the data throughput per user and making it possible for providers to buy bandwidth in bulk.
If your the kind of guy that likes to “figger things out” and never have to be anywhere on time, perhaps one of these ultra-geek (yet cool) watches should be on your shopping list.
01 The One Lightmare Men’s LED Watch
The outer circle of lights represents the hours. The inner circle represents every 5 minutes. The row of 4 singles LEDs in the center of the dial is the single minutes. Add them all up, and there you have it.
$169 @ WatchCo.com
Abacus Series 2 Men’s Watch
What other watch indicates the time by the position of a small ball? This ball moves to and fro across the face of the watch with the flow of the wearer’s arm movements; but as soon as the ABACUS reaches a horizontal position; the ball moves as if by magic – or at least by magnetism – to the right”point in time”.
$225 @ Kenmar Watches
Buffalo Rage Men’s Watch
A casual analog men’s watch. Features a black genuine leather band , black stainless steel case with a black dial. This watch is nickel allergy free, scratch resistant mineral crystal. Water resistant to 30 meters.
$98 @ Amazon
Storm Circuit Watch
The Circuit Watch uses a pair of tall stacked LED segments to illustrate the current time. The bars on the left show the current hour, while the bars on the right display appear to be split into two sections, one which displays tens of minutes and the other which shows individual minutes. Found @ Technabob
$225 @ Storm
Dakota “The Matrix LI” Men’s Watch
“Atop the face sits the hours, while minutes (in increments of five and a single 1-4 slot) are listed beneath; put simply, bars on the LCD are lit above the corresponding number(s) as the day whisks away”
Discovered @ Engadget
$70 @ Kenmar Watches
Fossil Starck Watch
This digital style watch displays the time in a unique fashion. In a ring shaped display, the hours are displayed as numbers while the minutes are displayed in segments. As time goes by, the segments build making a complete ring every hour. The center is completely see through and the pusher is located on the case back to create this sleek styling.
$125 @ Amazon
Horological Machine No. 2
This cool watch features an “instantaneous jump hour, concentric retrograde minutes, retrograde date and bi-hemisphere moon phase.” Uhhh ok
Found @ Boing Boing
Jean d’eve Sectora Automatic Watch
The hour and minute hands move vertically in a fascinating ballet on this watch. As soon as hand completes its cycle it springs back to starting point.
Laurinda Spear Free Time Watch
“The cycle of life, with a beginning, middle & end is synchronized by the 3 rings and guide us along our path to openings where time limits are set free. Our journey through time, passes the story of our past & present, to a hopeful future”
$90 @ Unica Home
LIP Mythic Jump Hour Watch
This men’s watch features three separate discs for hours, minutes, and seconds spin exposed on the dial lining up in the viewing window located on the left side.
$395 @ Watchismo
Nooka ZOT V Watch
The Nooka Zot-V watch also has some nifty features: a chronograph for timing your poker games, and an alarm to get you up in the morning. The 12 dots represent hours (months in date mode) and the row below counts minutes.
$265 @ Nooka
Ora Unica watch
“The hour and minute hands are represented by a single line drawn on two circular faces, which turn one inside the other. Both faces together resemble a graphical gesture, a doodle that changes as time passes.”
Found @ Yanko Design
OTIUM [du:z] Watch
Look – clockwise – for the last slit in which the ball is in the extreme outside position: You have got the hour. As usual you can read the minute by the little sweeping hand.
Check it out @ the Otium website
RAZOR BLOCK – 01 THE ONE / Binary LED Watch
This watch features 10 white LEDs on a round dial…enclosed in a square, frosted black polycarbonate block. The top row of LEDs apparently represent the hours and the bottom the minutes. You got me!?
$169 @ LED Watch Superstore
Watch This – Reveal Watch
This mystifying watch reveals the current hour and minute through a looking glass while the past and the future fade to gray. It’s an analog watch that reads in digital format.
$110 @ Uncommon Goods
Tokyo Flash Barcode IP LED Watch
The 1st two columns show the hour. In column 1 each light equals 5 hours, in column 2 each light equals 1 hour. The 2nd 2 columns show the minutes. In column 3 each light equals 10 mins, in column 4 each light equals 1 minute.
$209 @ Tokyo Flash
Alessi “Look No Hands” Watch
The rotating disks are the basis for telling time. In the unique design, the current hour and minute appear in two distinct openings that rotate around the face of the watch, revealing only a small part of the art work at a time.
$85 @ Buy.com
Tokyo Flash Twelve 5-9 Q Watch
“Moving clockwise from the top of the display, the first two lines of LEDs indicate the hours 1-12, each lit LED indicating one hour. The third line of LEDs indicates minutes up to 50, each lit LED indicating 10 minutes. The final two lines indicate single minutes 1-9, one LED representing each single minute.”
$152 @ Tokyo Flash
URWERK UR-202 AlTiN
“Revolving Satellite Complication The UR-202 features URWERK’s patented Revolving Satellite Complication with telescopic minutes hands. The Revolving SatelliteComplication displays time using telescopic minutes hands operating through the middle of three orbiting and revolving hours satellites. The telescopic minutes hands precisely adjust their length to follow the three sectors marking the minutes: 0-14, 15-44, 45-60. Extended, they enable the UR-202 to display the time across a large, easy-to-read dial. Retracted, they allow for a very wearable and comfortably sized case.” Can’t find a price…guessing it’s a shit-load.
A big concern on top of urban transportation planner’s mind is how to speed up the traffic: putting more buses on the road will jam the roads even worse and deteriorate the air; building more subway is costly and time consuming. Well, here is an cheaper, greener and fast alternative to lighten their mind up a bit: the straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District .
Proposed by Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd, the model looks like a subway or light-rail train bestriding the road. It is 4-4.5 m high with two levels: passengers board on the upper level while other vehicles lower than 2 m can go through under. Powered by electricity and solar energy, the bus can speed up to 60 km/h carrying 1200-1400 passengers at a time without blocking other vehicles’ way. Also it costs about 500 million yuan to build the bus and a 40-km-long path for it, only 10% of building equivalent subway. It is said that the bus can reduce traffic jams by 20-30%.
Here is the presentation by Song Youzhou, chairman of Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment Co., Ltd.
“What you can see from the video is traffic jams, what you can hear is noise, and there is also invisible air pollution. At present, there are mainly 4 types of public transits in China: subway, light-rail train, BRT, and normal bus. They have advantages and disadvantages, for example, subway costs a lot and takes long time to build; BRT takes up road spaces and produces noises as well as pollution to the air. How to develop environmental-friendly public transportation? Straddling bus provides a solution. Let’s watch a demonstration.
The straddling bus combines the advantages of BRT, it is also a substitution for BRT and subway in the future. As you all know, the majority vehicle on the road is car, the shortest vehicle is also car. Normally our overpass is 4.5-5.5 m high. The highlight innovation of straddling bus is that it runs above car and under overpass. Its biggest strength is saving road spaces, efficient and high in capacity. It can reduce up to 25-30% traffic jams on main routes. Running at an average 40 km/h, it can take 1200 people at a time, which means 300 passengers per cart.
Another strength of straddling bus is its short construction life cycle: only 1 year to build 40 km. Whereas building 40-km subway will take 3 years at best. Also the straddling bus will not need the large parking lot that normal buses demand. It can park at its own stop without affecting the passage of cars. This is what the interior looks like: it has huge skylight that will eliminate passengers’ sense of depression when enter.
There are two parts in building the straddling bus. One is remodeling the road, the other is building station platforms. Two ways to remodel the road: we can go with laying rails on both sides of car lane, which save 30% energy; or we can paint two white lines on both sides and use auto-pilot technology in the bus, which will follow the lines and run stable.
There are also two ways in dealing with station platform. One is to load/unload through the sides; the other is using the built-in ladder so that passengers can go up and to the overpass through the ceiling door.
Straddling bus is completely powered by municipal electricity and solar energy system. In terms of electricity, the setting is called relay direct current electrification. The bus itself is electrical conductor, two rails built on top to allow the charging post to run along with the bus, the next charging post will be on the rails before the earlier one leaves, that is why we call it relay charging. It is new invention, not available yet in other places.
The set here is super capacitor, a device that can charge, discharge and store electricity quickly. The power it stores during the stop can support the bus till the next stop where another round of charging takes place, achieving zero toxic gas throughout the process.
About the ultrasonic waves put forth from the end of the bus, that is to keep those high cars or trucks away from entering the tunnel. Using laser ray to scan, cars get too close to the passage will activate the alarm on the bus end. Inside the bus, there are turning lights that indicate a the bus is intending to make a turn to warn the cars inside. Also radar scanning system is embedded on the walls to warn cars from getting too close to the bus wheels.
Nowadays many big cities have remodeled their traffic signaling system, to prioritize public buses, that is to say when a bus reaches a crossing, red light on the other side of the fork will turn on automatically to give buses the right of way. Our straddling bus can learn from this BRT method. The car can make the turn with the bus if that is the direction it wants to go too; if not, the red light will be on to stop the cars beneath while the bus take the turn.
The bus is 6 m in width and 4-4.5 m high. How will people get off the bus if an accident happens to such a huge bus? Here I introduce the most advanced escaping system in the world. In the case of fire or other emergencies, the escaping door will open automatically. I believe many of you have been on a plane. Planes are equipped with inflated ladder so people can slide down on it in emergency. I put the escaping concept into the straddling bus. It is the fastest way to escape.
The bus can save up to 860 ton of fuel per year, reducing 2,640 ton of carbon emission. Presently we have passed the first stage demonstration and will get through all of the technical invalidation by the end of August. Beijing’s Mentougou District is carrying out a eco-community project, it has already planned out 186 km for our straddling bus. Construction will begin at year end.
Now that you have all the contacts online, have you ever wondered what do to with those voluminous old telephone directories? Can they be put to some creative use? Check this out what Alex Queral did? The results are mind boggling. Getting something extraordinary out of the ordinary. If at all we broaden the horizon of our thinking, we can do great wonders.
Philadelphia artist Alex Queral has got a creative use of the old phone books; he turns them into works of art. His choice of medium is quite unique, yet ordinary which results in three-dimensional quality that enhances the portraits as an object as opposed to a picture. It all started many years back when he was looking for wood to make a sculpture and he noticed a huge pile of phone books on the pavement, and he decided to use them as his new medium. And the results are really impressive. He creates two phone-book sculptures a month, and then paints them with transparent acrylic paint to distinguish the portrait from the pages. And most importantly, he makes sure that the background stays untouched to reveal the original source with its readable list of names and numbers.