The Weekly – 6.28.12
This week we look at wireless networks, Google’s announcements that intrigued me, NASA freaking out, our little shindig in NYC to highlight technology that is more human-centric, and a breakthrough in medical tech to allow people to breathe without breathing. Yes, that is correct.
People who know me know I am obsessed with wireless data transmission. In fact, I led the charge to blanket cities with WiFi five years ago (hello Portland, OR!). It was an epic fail, btw. That being said, there are a few problems with wireless that must be overcome. First, there is only so much spectrum and the laws of physics change for no one – meaning if everyone is video Skyping on their Apollo phone in a neighborhood, there is going to be some major network congestion. Unless…these guys are right. This is a HUGE deal.
Second, there is actually more spectrum available for use since the transition to digital television. All this beautiful 700Mhz “White space” has been opened up. Why is it good? The lower the frequency, the farther the signal can reach (a 10km radius versus a 300ft radius for WiFi) and through more types of building materials. WiFi operates at 2400Mhz, while white space operates at a quarter of that. After literally 5 years of wrangling with the FCC, Super WiFi (needs a brand guy) is launching this year on a few college campuses and eventually spreading to rural America. But importantly, it’s could be a boon for devices as our cellular networks become increasingly crowded with Google Hangouts in Google Glass…
Third, and this isn’t strictly wireless, but the amount of data we’re pushing thru the tubes is just staggering. Cisco reports that by 2015, “we’ll be hitting 966 exabytes (nearly one zettabyte) for the full year. That will be the equivalent of all movies ever made crossing IP networks every four minutes.” A ZB, just for giggles, is equivalent to a great wall of China made out of 32GB Microsoft Surface tablets. ARM or x86 – doesn’t matter 😉
Jump cuts, furrowed brows, cheesy animations – no, I’m not talking CSI, I’m talking about the “Seven Minutes of Terror” video NASA put out describing the absolutely awesome landing sequence for the upcoming Mars rover. You must watch, if only to see NASA scientists doing their best Gary Sinise impression.
We had an idea back when we were contemplating how to launch Metallica. One of the ideas kept on growing was to position Bing (at least with our little influential audience) as the ‘more human’ of the engines. That led to us creating a partnership where I got to talk to my geek friends and ask them about what technology they liked that was conforming to people rather than the increasing trend of humans having to adapt to technology. After a great online run with videos from preeminent thinkers we also had held a competition for the world to tell us about innovations that helped humanize technology. The results from our celeb judges are on the website but the culmination of the event happens this weekend in NYC at the http://www.forhumankind.org/ expo and science fair. All the coolest tech, all in one place. Reporters and bloggers are already lining up to cover this bad boy. More next week…
Ok, I usually take to this page to give G some jabs but this week they’ve had a couple of breakout launches. First, Google Now (GO BRANDING TEAM!) is really a great tech demo that actually solves a problem we’ve been showing in demos for I don’t know how long. Namely, your phone knows you have to be somewhere at 5pm. It knows you are not at that somewhere now. The question it asks? What is the best way to get there and how long will it take – and then proactively tell you about it. Pretty badass.
Second, Google Glass (and prob the best product intro EVER). Yes, despite the fact that I shy away from buying competitors products, this is just to epic to ignore. I can’t even imagine all the fun I’ll have coding these up. I like to call them Terminator Glasses, because to geeks it makes sense and to my mom it freaks her out (about Google). A really beautiful piece of Wired-esque journalism on the history of wearable computing is here at the Verge.
Cooler (literally) Lightbulbs
My buddy at Babson made his first mint with IdeaPaint that turns any wall into a whiteboard. It is a great story of a crazy college kid having no idea what he was doing but had the gumption to get it done anyway. Now, he’s on to some new stealthy lightbulb tech. Who knows what he will come up with this time but I hope it involves two unrelated items being mashed together to make light.
Last, in MedTech
Some meds in Boston have figured out a way to build injectable oxygen particles that can be fed directly into the bloodstream when normal respiration is obstructed. If you have a heart beat, you have oxygen. Could potentially save millions of lives a year and was developed after a doctor lost a little girl due to lung hemorrhage and thought “huh, there’s got to be a better way”. And now there is.
And that is a beautiful end to The Weekly.