Space for privacy (2)

The Digital Shelter Kit contains self-adhesive tape -with "digital shelter stand inside the line" printed on it, a mobile phone jammer and an instruction booklet.

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Once the location is chosen, the tape is stuck in place and the mobile phone jammer activated. An electronic space is created by the demarcation of the boundaries of the mobile phone jammer by the taped rectangle. This proposal suggests the potential of electronic spaces by creating a shelter that prevents mobile phone signals from penetrating its boundaries.

This kit is part of Digital Shelter, a PhD project by Pedro Sepulveda-Sandoval, that explores how critical responses to the surveillance and telecommunication systems in the city can inform the development of aesthetic possibilities for electronic spaces.

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Cities across Germany are being equipped with electronic jogging paths to beam runners' heart beats to a computer.

Joggers wearing a heart rate belt to send signals to solar-powered radio receivers, will have a "running account" at a computer in Munich, which will analyse their data over months or years.

"Good results" should win the runners discounts on health insurance premiums, which amount to a compulsory 14 per cent cut of salary.

Via The Telegraph.

Japanese software company SGI has developed a mannequin robot that can strike a pose for the nearest person by sensing his or her position - and spy on who s/he are and what s/he's buying.

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"It makes the product the mannequin wears look more attractive, increasing consumers' appetite to buy," explains robot designer Tatsuya Matsui, who heads Flower Robotics.

Palette uses motion-capture technology to replay the movements of supermodels.

Its maker plans to program it to judge the age and sex of shoppers and identify the bags they are carrying and pass along the information to stores for marketing purposes.

Palette has no face as "consumer attention would be diverted to the face if there were one," said Matsui, noting he wanted customers to focus on the clothes or jewellery the mannequin wears.

Palette is available in two versions - the whole-body without legs or upper torso models for jewelry displays. The designer intends to make a Palette with legs along with male and child models.

Via IOL.

Microchips inserted into the new bins in Croydon (S.London) may be adapted so that the council can judge whether residents are producing too much rubbish.

If they are, they may be visited by officials bearing advice on how they might "manage their rubbish more effectively".

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In the shorter term the microchips will be used to determine how many bins the refuse collectors have emptied and how many have been missed.

While the move will be welcomed by environmentalists, Andrew Pelling, the Conservative who represents the area on the London assembly, has been quoted as saying: "The Stasi or the KGB could never have dreamed of getting a spying device in every household."

He believes the technology might yield information which could be misused.

"If, for example, computer hackers broke in to the system, they could see sudden reductions in waste in specific households, suggesting the owners were on holiday and the house vacant."

Via The Guardian.

Related: tags on trash.

Brittan Elementary School, the only grade school in a California rural town, is requiring students to wear FRID badges that can track their every move. Teenagers must wear those identification cards around their necks with their picture, name and grade and a wireless transmitter that beams their ID number to a teacher's handheld computer when s/he passes under an antenna above classroom doors.

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The system was imposed, without parental input, to simplify attendance-taking, reduce vandalism and improve student safety. Bar codes could eventually be added so that students can use them to pay for cafeteria meals and check out library books.

The superintendent of the district told the parents who are concerned by privacy that their children could be disciplined for boycotting the badges -- and that he doesn't understand what all their angst is about.

The badges were developed by InCom Corp., a company co-founded by the parent of a former Brittan student. The company has paid the school several thousand dollars for agreeing to the experiment, and has promised a royalty from each sale if the system takes off.

Via MSNBC.

A recent patent application from Hewlett-Packard labs describes a system in which digital cameras would be equipped with circuits that could be remotely triggered to blur the face in any images captured by the camera.

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The technology would address privacy concerns without resorting to more draconian measures such as banning cameras.

The patent covers technology that would have to be incorporated both into cameras and the "image inhibitor modules" that would signal "No photos of me, please," plus a system for registering inhibitors with cameras. The in-camera technology includes sophisticated image-analysis software to selectively identify faces so they can be obfuscated.

The company had no current plans to commercialize the technology.

Via Picturephoning.

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