Thursday, May 31, 2007

Immersive Media - Street View Technology

Google Mapplets - Developers Demo

Google Gears - Offline Functionality for Web Apps

Entropia Universe Enters China to Create the Largest Virtual World Ever

"One of the World's Largest Virtual Economies Partners With Chinese Cyber-Giant to Create a New Network Capable of Handling 7 Million Concurrent Users and $1 Billion in Commerce Annually

Entropia Universe, the safest virtual world utilizing a real cash economy, has been chosen by the Beijing Municipal People's Government supported online entertainment company Cyber Recreation Development Corp. (CRD) to create a cash-based virtual economy for China. The landmark deal was negotiated for almost a year and will bring an outside virtual world into China for the very first time. Entropia Universe was chosen over several other proposals, including one by Second Life.

The new project will permit up to 7 million concurrent users logged into the virtual universe with an overall aim to attract some 150 million users from all over the world. Entropia Universe, a three-dimensional universe on the Internet intended for entertainment, work, commerce, community building, culture, and much more, is expected to generate over $1 billion annually in commerce from this partnership."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Google Maps Street View

First 4D Virtual Human Created, Dubbed CAVEman

"Scientists at the University of Calgary have created the world’s first complete object-oriented computer model of a human body. Recently unveiled, the 4D human atlas, dubbed the CAVEman by the team who created it, allows scientists to literally get inside their experiments by translating medical and genomic data into 4D images."

"CAVEman resides in the CAVE, a cube-shaped virtual reality room, also known as the “research Holodeck”, in which the 4D human model floats in space, projected from three walls and the floor below."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wirecard Explains How Virtual Banking Will Work

"The virtual banking world now has the backing of an actual bank. German bank Wirecard is among the four investors that recently purchased banking licenses issued by the virtual community of Entropia Universe."

"Only real life banks are able to offer a unique set of new and exciting but also trustworthy and secure services to the users of virtual worlds," Marsalek said. "The future growth and reputation of virtual worlds significantly depends on the sustainability of the services provided to their users and we believe that real life banks, such as Wirecard Bank, can add substantial value to the overall game play experience."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Near field communications is the talk of the ID world, but what will it take to turn the talk to action?

"Every time you turn around you see an NFC pilot program cropping up somewhere in the world. What you haven’t seen are many full-scale commercial rollouts. In fact, those could be counted on one hand. Sure, near field communication technology is still relatively new – but in a world where new innovations quickly become yesterday’s news, could NFC be starting to show its age?"

Step into the open ocean



If your using Firefox then goto the TED website to watch the video

Flexible, full-color OLED

"On May 24, Sony unveiled what it is calling the world’s first flexible, full-color organic electroluminescent display (OLED) built on organic thin-film transistor (TFT) technology."

Battle at Kruger

Space Tornado -- Physicists Spot Interstellar Shock Wave Using Spitzer Telescope

"The spirals of a 'space tornado' may be the first step in the formation of a new star. The structure, observed with NASA's Spitzer infrared telescope, is a shock wave created by a jet of material slamming on a cloud of interstellar gas and dust at more than 100 miles per second, heating the cloud and causing it to glow. Physicists say the jet may have been generated by magnetic fields."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

google earth: Principado de Mónaco


This weekend we have the Monaco Grand Prix and for anyone wanting to check out the local area and the route of the track in Google Earth download the KML file by APG from the Google Earth community (You will need to install Google Earth which is free and is part of the Google Pack). Originally posted in 2004 this is one of the first collections of placemarks that really took advantage of Google Earth to show related information of an area and was a real eye opener for me at the time.

See the post in the Spanish Google Earth blog which reminded me of this set of placemarks.

Panoramic 360 Movie


Over at map.movin360 the folks have created a panoramic video driving from Strecke Hauptbahnhof to Potsdamer Platz. The video is linked to Google maps so you can watch the progress and as it is a panoramic you can view any point of the journey from any angle. Go play, it's good...

The civil war in four minutes

ABC's virtual site 'griefed'

"ABC Island, the third-most-visited commercial site in the online game that has more than six million members globally, was found as a 'bombed, cratered mess' yesterday.

Craig Preston, head of technology for ABC innovation, said only the digital transmission tower was left standing on the island, which cost the ABC tens of thousands of dollars to create."

Maldives opens first virtual embassy on Second Life

"The Maldives Tuesday became the first country to open an embassy in the virtual reality of Web-based Second Life, a fantasy world inhabited by computer-generated residents, the Maldives mission to the United Nations in Geneva said.

The Maldives thus pips Sweden to the post; the Scandinavian country had hoped to be first off the block when it opens its own virtual embassy May 30."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New easy-to-use and safe NFC-enabled services from Elisa

"Elisa is the first operator in the Nordic and Baltic countries to test Near Field Communication technology (NFC technology) where a SIM card is used as a security platform. SIM card, provided by digital security leader Gemalto, enables safe transactions and payments, and makes it possible to transfer services from one telephone to another."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Innovision's Topaz winner's choice at European NFC Competition

Topaz(R), designed and developed by British firm, Innovision Research & Technology, was used by the overall winner of Track B - 'Most Innovative NFC Proposal of the Year 2007', at the first European NFC Competition held last month as part of the NFC Developers Summit at the Wireless Information Multimedia Application (WIMA) 2007 event held in Monaco.

Topaz, mandated last year by the NFC Forum as the Type 1 Near Field Communication (NFC) tag, has proved to be a popular choice at the first European NFC Competition and was the tag of choice for the track B winners the 'Seeing Eye Phone', an innovative use of NFC by the Technical Research Centre of FInland, VTT.

MasterCard announces strong Q1 growth in APMEA

"Payments solutions provider MasterCard scored in Taiwan in the first quarter with the introduction of PayPass for mobile phones with near-field technology (NFC) - a first in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, the company said in its latest report."

RFID in Japan: SuiPo

NFC posters at JR Shinjuku Station


More info and pictures here

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

MNOs, Brands and Media Owners Wake up to Smart Posters


"Glue4 have launched a full personalised Smart Poster service, including handsets, deployment, operation and the analysis of user data, harnessing the untapped potential of mobile and outdoor marketing.

Fully interactive NFC smart posters include a range of advertising media tagged with the next generation of wireless technology. The chip passes information and services to viewers on demand, in this case through their NFC-enabled mobile phone. This could be mobile top-up, handset configuration or fault fixing. In addition, the information could be a link to any partner brand’s product details accessed through the mobile internet or a money-off voucher. Brands could also use the interaction to encourage viewers to vote, buy tickets, pass on information virally etc."

Video of Dr. Neil Garner talking about smart posters, token styles and how the market for innovative applications for RFID tags is just beginning.

Opera Mini - Introducing beta program for upcoming version

Opera Mini is a free mobile Web browser designed to bring the real Web to the world's mobile phones. The free Opera Mini mobile Web browser launched worldwide in January of 2006, and is available both as a free download from www.operamini.com as well as through pre-installments on selected handsets from leading operators and handset manufacturers such as T-Mobile and Nokia. As of April 30, 2007, 15 million people had downloaded and used Opera Mini to browse the Web.

Enhanced navigation is the next step in the evolution of mobile Web browsing. That's exactly what Opera's developers are exploring for the next version of Opera Mini. Opera Software invites everyone to sign up for testing the beta version of the upcoming Opera Mini. Please submit your email address here. Testers will be notified by email at a later stage and asked to submit their views of the Opera Mini beta via an online form.

Ten more years of technology

"Ten years ago there was a biometric ATM installed (in Swindon, my home town and the payment city of tomorrow). Ten years ago we had already started using credit cards on the Internet. Ten years ago we were already talking about mobile payments and the strength of the customer proposition around the GSM handset: many people thought that would be the next big thing, remember?"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hybrid World Lab slides

"This week at the Hybrid World Lab at Mediamatic, Timo gave five presentations related to NFC, physical, tangible, social interactions and design methodology."

Designing between things, places and people (pdf)
Introduction to NFC phones (pdf)
Physical hyperlink technology (pdf)
Tangible and social media & Mobile social software (pdf)
Context, scenarios and prototyping (pdf)

Some more slides from the Hybrid World Lab by Nicolas Nova

High-Tech Solution Catches Old-School DVD Thieves

"Meanwhile, NXP, a leading promoter of near-field communication technology, is betting that RFID-enabled optical disks will boost NFC's penetration. Optical disks can use either high-frequency (13.56-MHz) or ultrahigh-frequency (915-MHz) RFID inlays. NFC technology taps short-range HF RFID tags. Reynaerts said consumers might one day use an NFC-capable mobile phone to purchase antitheft-enabled DVDs integrated with HF RFID inlays.

Under that scenario, he said, a consumer might receive a promotional pack of 10 DVD disks from a service provider and decide to watch only three of the films. The consumer would use an NFC-enabled mobile phone as a scanner to activate the selected disks and would return the rest."

MIIKOH Partners with TWINLINX to Create New Smart&Secure RFID Chip

"Smart&Secure RFID tags address the physical security issues inherent in RFID applications today,' said Jacek Kowalski, founder and CEO of TWINLINX. 'TWINLINX is committed to furthering the successful adoption of RFID across the market, which will require the use of tamper-indication to prevent product theft and counterfeiting."

European consortium created to foster NFC interoperability : Contactless News

"Europe is looking to get a head start on creating an NFC ecosystem, thanks to the recently announced creation of a new consortium with the unlikely acronym, StoLPaN."

UPEK Joins near Field Communications Forum

UPEK, Inc., the world’s leading brand of fingerprint authentication security solutions, today announced that it has joined the Near Field Communications (NFC) Forum, a non-profit industry association that promotes the use of NFC short-range wireless interaction in consumer electronics, mobile devices and PCs, as an associate member."

thisplacement : Bowl

"“Bowl” is a project looking on containers in the home as possible touchpoints for NFC-technology. The project investigates how specific objects and behaviors in the home can be utilized as interfaces for digital technology. It focuses on bowls, both as containers and as devices for sharing and presenting."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes Adds Geo Data Support

"Yahoo! Pipes, the graphical, web-based RSS re-mixer (Radar post), has significantly increased its geo support. They now provide a map output that plots your data on a Yahoo! supplied map. Pipes will also export geocontent in KML, which means that Pipes content can be used in Google Maps and in Google Earth. It also means that Pipes will start to appear in the increasingly important geoindex of Google."

3D City - Map View

One more from digital urban showing the detail of the 3D buildings in Virtual Earth

Brighton and Swindon Flythough



Movie clip of the first UK 3D cities in Microsoft's Virtual Earth. More info over at digital urban

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First Ever Virtual Banking Licenses

A quick update, the identity of the owners of the virtual banks in Entropia are:

* Avatar Janus JD D'Arcwire, representing a real life bank
* Russian Internet Payment Provider MONETA.ru
* Entropia celebrity and famed virtual night club owner Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs
* Famous cross-world virtual celebrity and entrepreneur Anshe Chung
* The anonymous "Jolana Kitty Brice"

So it looks like a real bank (against all expectations) has joined the fray. Not sure why the secrecy though, time will tell.

The virtual Entropia Universe banks will work similarly to real world banks. Initially, they will be provided with secure systems enabling them to lend money to participants and collect interest, design and name their own virtual bank building(s), utilize the extensive advertising opportunities available, and make their own personnel available through avatars that can interact with and provide service to other avatars. In order to get the virtual banks operational, each winner must add $100,000 as operational capital. As the only virtual universe whose currency has a fixed exchange rate with the US Dollar, Entropia Universe is providing a means for interested investors to be proactively involved with a real economy on a financial and creative front. The funds acquired in Entropia Universe can easily be withdrawn into real life cash.

With over 580,000 registered accounts, Entropia Universe had a 2006 turnover of over 360 million dollars. MindArk PE AB's Business Development Director David Simmonds enthused, "We are thrilled to welcome these five new partners to Entropia Universe. As we continue to set records in the virtual realm, the next two years will be a prosperous, successful time for all parties involved." MindArk CIO Marco Behrmann continues, "This further proves the Entropia concept of having a secure, reliable, and stable economic environment for doing business. The five banks will have integrated services within the mechanics of Entropia Universe and will not just be virtual advertising spots." More information about the virtual banking licenses is available here.


About the Winners

MONETA.RU is an Internet payment provider that was established in Russia in 2005. The website of the company is www.moneta.ru. The company's main goal is providing the most secure and comfortable online payments for its customers -- merchants and online shoppers -- on the Russian and CIS market. At the moment MONETA.RU is experiencing a rapid development due to being a payment gateway that aggregates all the most popular payment systems and solutions available on the Russian market and therefore providing the most powerful payment tool for merchants. Online shoppers use MONETA.RU as an e-wallet and enjoy the most complete list of available deposit and withdrawal options. All transactions are processed with the maximum speed and comfort, and are protected by the cutting-edge security system of MONETA.RU. The company's development strategy lies in orientation of partnerships with foreign companies. MONETA.RU is the first and only Russian processor of online payments which was purposely founded to assist overseas companies with entering the Russian and CIS market and sharing its enormous potential.

Bank NEVERDIE, The Gamers' Bank™, is one of the first financial institutions to exist entirely and only in Virtual Reality. Founded in Entropia Universe, Bank NEVERDIE is operated by famous gamer Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs, expanding upon a diverse virtual entertainment brand that includes the Club NEVERDIE asteroid space resort, shopping mall and nightclub, the NEVERDIE Mega Championship stadium, a virtual arena for sporting events and live concerts (currently under construction), Phasm Forest and Kingfisher Beach. In addition, Jon "NEVERDIE" Jacobs is involved in the "MMOWC" Massive Multiplayer Online World Championships, an annual global event to find the Best Online Gamer in the World, and the VWAwards: The Virtual World Awards, a virtual red carpet event that honors creativity across all platforms in virtual reality, and www.RealityPort.com, a web based portal into virtual reality.

Since 2004, the Anshe Chung Studios (ACS) has been the global leader in virtual real estate development on open virtual world platforms. Originally founded by Anshe Chung as an entirely virtual business in Second Life, it has evolved into a real company with more than 60 full-time employees turning over millions of dollars per year with virtual real estate, content development and virtual financial services. In 2007, ACS received high profile venture capital investment and has begun to branch out into additional virtual worlds. Besides thousands of virtual world residents and pioneers, ACS features key clients such as Fortune 100 companies, churches and governments, whose entry into virtual territory has been designed and developed by ACS.

About Entropia Universe

The heart of Entropia Universe is a distant planet named Calypso, which encompasses two continents with animal-filled wildernesses and large expanding cities that offer a variety of entertainment and social interaction for its participants. In Entropia, participants can create their own persona, or avatar, via a character generation system, and then have the option of choosing a suitable life and virtual existence for their avatar. Characters are able to enter the evolving worlds of Entropia Universe, which are full of unexplored and uncultivated lands. Participants can join a community or even create a civilization of their own. Entropia offers a new avenue for individuals to pursue dreams, fantasies, and adventures in an astoundingly 'real' virtual universe.

In December 2004, Entropia Universe set a world record, certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, when it sold a virtual Treasure Island for $26,500 USD as the largest virtual dollar amount spent, to 22-year old Australian David Storey, a.k.a. "Deathifier." In October 2005, the sale of an asteroid based space resort for $100,000 USD to famed gamer, Jon 'NEVERDIE' Jacobs, set a new record for the most valuable virtual item.

Entropia Universe is a registered trademark of MindArk PE AB. MindArk supports and monitors the services and maintenance of the Entropia Universe site. MindArk began in April of 2003 in Sweden, and has expanded to have partners throughout the world. Entropia Universe was launched in 2003 and has reached over 580,000 registered accounts. MindArk offers the Entropia Universe software to users free of charge with no monthly costs or associated subscription fees. For more information or to download the free Entropia Universe software please visit www.entropiauniverse.com. For more information about Entropia Universe's developer, MindArk, please visit www.mindark.com.

Monday, May 07, 2007

RFID's "Lack of Maturity" a Good Thing

"One interesting concept, demonstrated by RFind, was a new approach to RTLS. Rather than having tags periodically report their position to readers spaced at regular intervals, a tag entering the area would communicate with other tags (embedded in the ground and on other objects) to determine its relative position. The 'new' tag would then broadcast its location data to a single access point then shut down until its location changed. "

Read more RFID Connections

A graphic language for RFID

"RFID is being used for an increasing number of interactions with everyday infrastructures. From travelcards, keyless entry, passports and micropayments to content downloads, smart posters and digital wallets on mobile phones. Attempts have been made to represent these interactions graphically from isolated groups in academic, commercial or technical contexts. No clear or definite language has emerged."

Contactless infastructure is enabling rapid adobtion of NFC

"Frost & Sullivan research suggests that one third of all mobile phones will be NFC-equipped in a span of three to five years and 2008 will be the tipping point as far as commercially viable volumes are concerned. Certain uses of NFC will only make sense if there is adequate infrastructure, that is, enough NFC-enabled phones and NFC forum-compliant devices to support it according to the report."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Power station harnesses Sun's rays

"A concrete tower - 40 storeys high - stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside.

The tower looked like it was being hosed with giant sprays of water or was somehow being squirted with jets of pale gas. I had trouble working it out.

In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Virtual bank sells for $99,900

Over in Entropia today 5 licences being auctioned for the world's first virtual banks expired with the highest bid at $99,900 going to a currently unknown avatar Yuri.

Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs who paid $100,000 for a Virtual Space Resort built upon an Asteroid with a nightclub, multiple hunting areas, a stadium, and a 1000-room hotel was one of the winners of the auction and provided live streaming of the auction from his virtual nightclub. (Once the bidding was over he cued up Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd and Money's to Tight to Mention by Simply Red)

Another winner was Baroness Anshe Chung who maybe is the same as the first virtual world millionaire in Second Life.

All told the five licences fetched $403,961:

Bank 1 - 999,000 ped Yuri iNTellect Efremov - $99,900.00
Bank 2 - 950,001 ped Jolana Kitty Brice - $95,000.10
Bank 3 - 900,002 ped Jon NEVERDIE Jacobs - $90,000.20
Bank 4 - 590,608 ped Janus JD D'Arcwire - $59,060.80
Bank 5 - 600,000 ped Baroness Anshe Chung - $60,000.00

Phones are better than cards

"As a mechanism for retail payment, mobile phones have it over plastic cards: a card is merely a receptacle for the consumer's data, whereas a phone can initiate a payment or accept on, can act as a channel for the customer and can manage payment-related data."

Demonstration of NFC from Master Card on Flickr

Link to photos

Zigbee Vs NFC

Zigbee is giving NFC a run for it's money

ZigBee mobile devices include mobile telephones and personal digital assistants with embedded ZigBee technology or using a ZigBee SIM card. These devices act as a mobile terminal and/or as a sensor control device anywhere there is a ZigBee network or ZigBee
access point. Potential applications currently in development include:

* Secure Mobile Payments: Mobile users pay for goods and services by waving handset in front of scanner and entering a pin number

* Information Delivery: Users receive news, downloads, (messages, ring tones, images, etc.), advertisements from network operators or localized information such as weather, traffic updates and movie show times based on their current location or neighborhood

* Health Care Monitoring: Continuously monitored health data is recorded on a handset and transmitted to the patient's doctor. In an emergency situation, such as the absence of patient response or alarming vital signs, the mobile device can be programmed to immediately alert emergency services

* Peer-to-Peer Small Data Sharing: Small files such as ring tones, images, address book contacts and other information provided by telecom operators is shared easily between two ZigBee-enabled mobile devices


Download the full press release: Zigbee Alliance Members Connect With Telecom Market (pdf)

First Data makes strategic investment in NFC outfit Vivotech

"First Data has led a series C funding round in US contactless payments outfit Vivotech.

The scale of the funding was undisclosed. First Data has also committed to use Vivotech's Near Field Communication (NFC) terminals, wallets and over-the-air provisioning for mobile commerce."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rare - and oh so beautiful - F1 car comes up for sale


"The first ever Lotus 72 Grand Prix car, as campaigned by both John Miles (Team Lotus) and double World Champion Graham Hill (Rob Walker Racing) in the 1970 season, has been consigned by H&H Sales for its July 25 sale at Kempton Park Racecourse."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MyMap results in Google Earth


While playing around with Google Earth doing some research for a new blog on Google Earth in Spanish I found that the Google MyMap results are now being displayed in Google Earth.

As you may recall you can create your own set of placemarks in Google Maps using the MyMaps feature.



The default name for a new set of placemarks in MyMaps is My Saved Places, so a start is a quick search for that plus a location in Google Earth which should return a few results to play with.

Next you need to scroll down the results, past the spam and get to the web results.



Choosing one of the results shows the placemark on the map. Note the address points back to the MyMap URL.



Clicking on the link in the placemarks info bubble pulls the whole placemark collection into Google Earth and puts them in My Places|Temporary Places.

You can now view the whole collection in Google Earth. Very neat.

Retail Locations Using RFID Technology in Dressing Rooms

Retail Locations Using Automated RFID Technology to Close the Sale by Providing Product Information to Customers in Dressing Rooms:

"Other notable areas reported include the use of smart shelves; Hot Spots and kiosks; RFID handhelds used by store associates; dressing rooms outfitted with RFID readers; and self-checkout. Pilots by retailers are on the increase, with other consumer-oriented industries implementing, such as museums, sports facilities (e.g. ski resorts, golf courses, etc.), and sporting events operators."

near future of mobility

"Are you not designing lots of new things that will just add to our information overload?
The NFC/touch based interaction issue is attempting to reduce our reliance on visual information overload. We are currently in the middle of a bleeping, distracting, attention seeking device-era, and I’m quite hopeful that in the near future our devices will become less noisy and more respectful of our time and peace."