Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Friday, May 14, 2004

Urban Atmospheres/Urban Probes

Mobile communications and computing devices are changing the ways we behave in cities too rapidly for traditional research and development methodologies to keep pace. Eric Paulos, a research scientist at Intel’s Research Laboratory in Berkeley, California, launched the Urban Atmospheres and Urban Probes projects not just to explore social uses of emerging technologies, but also to test new ways of pursuing socio-technological research.

Paulos notes that the most powerful portable devices and wireless services have only begun to emerge -- who would know that better than an Intel researcher? -- and that 2007 will mark the first year in human history when city-dwellers constitute a majority of the population. For these reasons, Paulos believes the time is right for research that not only seeks to understand, but to intervene, not only to measure, but to provoke. During this interregnum, while the social forms, technology applications, cultural practices, industries and research disciplines have not yet solidified into recognizable concrete forms, research has the potential to influence these aspects of technology as well as the chance to study them. (More)
(via No Sense of Place)

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