Friday, September 28, 2007

Chicago's OEMC and IBM's Smart Surveillance System

How many times do you drive in circles looking for a parking spot on a Saturday night? How many of us have left our purse, backpack or suite case sitting on the backseat of a car? In today’s ‘go go go’ lifestyle a lot of commuters not only take a brief case, backpack or a personal bag but also a gym bag, miscellaneous errand stuff, extra clothing if we have plans that night or a bag of stuff to donate to Salvation Army – and it sits on the back seat or in the trunk of our car for eight plus hours. Such things go unnoticed in big cities every day but that may change and you may need to keep your car box and bag free in the future.

Chicago looks to be a pioneer with a new video surveillance system that would recognize such behavior as anomalies and alert authorities to take a closer look. They’re working with IBM who is developing a futuristic video surveillance system designed to scan the city streets looking for anything suspicious and everything from bombs to traffic jams. Operation Virtual Shield is intended to give the city's emergency response coordination agency the ability to remotely keep track of emergencies in ‘real time’. For the past few years Chicago has been rolling out thousands of video surveillance cameras linked by fiber-optic cables. However, the new technology is based on IBM’s Smart Surveillance System, where the software could recognize a package that had been left in a public park or a car parked where no car is supposed to be, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman with Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).

One key factor to the success of the project is Firetide, an IBM business partner whose wireless network infrastructure supports a wide range of fixed and mobile wireless public safety applications including covert and overt video surveillance, traffic control, VoIP communications, and rapid database access. Firetide's wireless technology is instrumental in allowing the city to deploy a large number of additional cameras in the exact locations required. Firetide's unique technology allows real-time video to be transported wirelessly, thereby saving taxpayers millions of dollars in wired infrastructure costs. IBM is also testing mobile technology utilizing Firetide's infrastructure to allow first responders access to the video system via mobile vehicles such as police and fire.

According to Sam Docknevich, a Digital Video Surveillance National Practice Leader with IBM, IBM is now talking to different metropolitan cities about utilizing similar projects as IBM’s Smart Surveillance System.

About the City of Chicago The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC)

The Office of Emergency Management & Communications (OEMC) manages and operates the city's public safety communications systems that coordinate the response of police, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) resources giving police and fire personnel, on the street, valuable information to help them respond quickly to emergency situations.
The OEMC's Emergency Management Team acts as the coordinator for the City's efforts to develop, plan, analyze, implement and maintain programs for disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. The Emergency Management Team is also responsible for directing the activities of City departments and other agencies at disaster scenes.


IBM software to scan Chicago streets

IBM Smart Surveillance System

Learning to live with Big Brother

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The World’s Largest Chocolate Fountain

Not technology but it is unusual.

Pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury has created the world's biggst chocolate fountain.The fountain is 27 feet tall and it pumps 2,100 pounds of melted white, milk and dark deliciousness at a rate of 120 quarts per minute. Location: Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get More Frozen Custard By The Sound of Your Voice

Demitrios Kargotis unwrapped his Mr./Dr. Whippy machine at the Ars Technica festival in Linz Austria. Mr./Dr. Whippy is a self-serve frozen custard machine that scoops out portion sizes based on the amount of misery it detects in a voice-stress analysis. The sadder you are, the more ice-cream you get (the more ice cream you need.)

The project, developed by Demitrios Kargotis, was partly funded by the Royal College of Art-Platform 11. Technical Assistance: Bjorn Franke. Images courtesy of Noam Toran. A few more taken in Linz.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Future Of Parking Meters

SOURCE: (Business 2.0)

The new PVM parking meter will allow for payment by credit card and extra minutes without having to return to your car. 50 percent of parking fines go unpaid, according to one San Francisco study, so city halls have been on the lookout for a more convenient - and effective – parking meter.

Fred Mitschele is has designed the new generation of parking meters. Not only does his Photo Violation Meter allow you to swipe a credit card rather than hunt for quarters, but it will also call your cell phone when your time is up and give you the option of putting additional minutes on the meter via your cell phone.

"It really restores fairness to the whole system," says Mitschele, CEO of Photo Violation Technologies, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mitschele has partnered with IBM (Charts, Fortune 500) to finance a $1 million trial. About 300 PVMs are currently installed in Niagara Falls, San Francisco, and Vancouver.

If all goes well and the cities buy the PVM when the trial ends in July 2008, Mitschele anticipates making as much as $200 million in five years. Scofflaws, beware: If you fail to pay, the PVM will snap a photo of your license plate.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Realistic Robotic Human

Zou Ren Ti runs the Xi’an Superman Sculpture Research Institute (XSM) in China which develops realistic robotic human displays for museums and exhibitions.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Transparent Toaster

This transparent toaster allows the bead toaster to see the bread while it’s toasting so you're never surprised by toast that comes out too dark. You can see it being burnt as it happens! The transparent heating glass featured is the basis for the product but apparently the glass does not currently get hot enough to toast bread. So the picture is a teaser only.

There was a Black and Decker toaster a while back that was similar to this, only it didn’t look nearly as cool. Plus I don’t believe it had a usb port what’s up with that? The difference between neatly brunt toast and smoke alarm toast is how long the usb cord is.

Concept by Inventables Concept Studio.