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January 2014

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 jan 2014

Big data and analytics is finding applications in businesses and governments for better decision and policy making. Stephen Wolfram is talking about 'personal analytics' (converting life into packets of personal data) as the next big thing and introduced an app on facebook based on this principle. On the same line researchers and thinkers are proposing that cities can also be considered as sources of data and information that can be utilized for better urban planning and development. This concept of 'quantitative urbanism' is finding support from leaders in software, consultancy and infrastructure industries. According to Assaf Biderman of MIT, this science will assist in making the cities 'more human'. In 2003 research team led by Geoffrey West of Santa Fe Institute collected large data sets of select urban centers and obtained information on various parameters from multiple sources and put them into a single database. The results reduced the life of a city to a mathematical rule - 'unified theory of urban living', similar to what Max Kleiber showed in the form of zoological rules that suggested that all forms of life follow the same equation that combines size, energy use and life expectancy. But cities don't follow Kleiber's law exactly - they don't slow down when they become bigger in size. On the contrary they accelerate, becoming more productive, creative, efficient and sustainable. Other model of urban thinking utilizes mathematics of complexity which views the city as a combination of networks and information. But this data intensive approaches on thinking about cities may not be sufficient & complete and other ways of looking at the city must be considered too. Read on...

New Statesman: Architecture - What does Big Data mean for our cities?
Author: Leo Hollis

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jan 2014

Wearable technologies are finding prominence in the human-centered technology ecoystem with devices like smart watches, smart glasses, smart textiles etc. The article provides an interview with Oliver Stokes from PDD, a design consulting firm, where he explains the current and future prospects for the wearable and embedded devices. He mentions that more advancements are required in wearable technologies so that they blend seemlessly in human ecosystem without specifically affecting their body language and social behavior. Moreover healthcare is one of the areas where these technologies will get early adoption. Smart textiles, in addition to healthcare and fitness, may find use in fashion clothings where they can change color and patterns providing them more versatility or they can be used in cars for shape and color variations and changes. Considering the present research advancements, smart textiles will find commercial use in 5 years. Read on...

Shiny Shiny: Forget smart watches, are smart textiles and implants the future?
Author: Ashley Norris

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