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21 July 1
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Flipboard – your social media magazine on iPad

Under - Design, Media, Technology, Usability

I’d say that the guy in this Flipboard video is boringly serious or seriously boring but I like the way he talks! It’s the second video in past few weeks that I see him in, both about geeky products. The first one was about Square mobile payment system that I mentioned earlier.

And yes, the Flipboard. It’s a crossover between social media and a digital magazine. Just checked the application on my iPad and I too, like many others, liked it very much. Flipboard taking online social media out of its mould into mobile social media, we would see this kind of apps becoming a norm soon. This is something that I highlighted in detail a while ago under ‘Future of Web Design’.

Flipboard

Read more about it here.

Square mobile payment system

Under - Advertising, Industrial Design, Media, Technology

Square mobile payment system

This was evident as mobile platform becoming more accessible. We have seen iPad replacing hotel menus so why can’t the same device be used for paying the bill!

Introduced by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey back in December last year, Square payment system makes it possible to accept payment cards on any (internet enabled mobile) device with an audio input jack.

Culture, identity, and media

Under - Geography, Media, Miscellaneous, My Musings
A young mother and child in Hongtso.

Photo source: Claire (http://picasaweb.google.com/Hattoc/BhutanNov09Top100#)

I was watching a documentary on the telly the other day on Bhutan about the challenges people facing there having their country opened to the world and their GNH (Gross National Happiness) preference over GDP and asked myself a conflicting question: should media be censored or even banned to save cultures and societies?

To be honest there’s no definite answer to this and if so then it can’t be generalised. To me our identities come from cultures that flourish in our societies, and societies form civilisation that changes from geographic region to region with our planet’s curvature.

When we talk about preserving something we accept the fact that it is in danger or endangered. In my 36 years of life I’ve seen the impact of globalisation (along with some positive aspects) eating up people’s individuality, their identity, their cultures, beliefs, languages and their whole way of life in general from Australia to America and from Africa to Europe. As human beings our cultural differences are like our faces that are different from each other for a reason – to mark our physical identity and individuality. Our differences are the colours of this world.

Through the blessing of the media in our age we see popular cultures heavily influencing not so popular cultures by all means and, if a culture tries to protect itself by distancing itself from the mainstream then it is very negatively branded. I fail to comprehend why it is an issue? Why accepting someone’s individuality is difficult as long as it is not intrusive?

Political mumbo-jumbo aside I’d support the idea (if it actually exist anywhere) of screening the media – not to deny it access, but to preserve its intended and unintended audience from its negative influences especially when we see how polarised and politically influenced it is. I’m not the one to define media’s negative influences here but, like any medicine, there are side effects therefore the target audience is the one to decide about it freely and we need to accept and respect it.

13 July 3
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Quadrocopters are coming …

Under - Industrial Design, Inspiration, Technology
Control of multiple quadrotor robots to cooperatively transport a payload

Control of multiple quadrotor robots to cooperatively transport a payload

Every now and then we get to see a video of these quadrocopters from the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab performing new precise manoeuvres in a cooperative logic. The technology becoming mature as the time is passing and the practical use of such devices (or systems) in future is not very far – military or civilian.


Cooperative Grasping and Transport using Quadrotors

Micro Autonomous Systems Technologies (MAST) is a collaboration with University of Maryland, University of Michigan, BAE Systems and Army Research Laboratories. Our vision is to develop Autonomous Multifunctional Mobile Microsystems (Am3), a networked group of small vehicles and sensors operating in dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments. While individual units may be specialized, Am3 will be multifunctional because of its heterogeneity, the ability of individual units to automatically reconfigure and adapt to the environment and to human commands, and its distributed intelligence.


Aggressive Maneuvers for Autonomous Quadrotor Flight

Slice of Life

Under - Inspiration, Photography

A perfect moment of everyday life from Cornwall Road corner (London) captured by Tina Gao.

Slice of Life by Tina Gao

Slice of Life by Tina Gao

The Waterloo neighborhood behind my university campus looks like a Dickensian village. There’s something quite romantic about the intersection near a popular bakery that comes alive in the afternoon, as students leave class to head for the pub, parents bring their kids home from school, and workers nip into the bakery for a few slices of lemon chiffon cake to bring back to their families.