There are many reasons to love mobile technology: it’s convenient, it’s accessible and it’s improving all the time. Nokia is only one of the companies that are hard at work perfecting innovative initiatives that they hope will revolutionise mobile technology, making it even more indispensable than it already is.
According to an article by Daniel Langendorf on Read Write Web, the latest thing to hit cell phones is the incorporation of billions of sensors that will make reporting on everything from traffic to the weather more interactive.
Bob Iannucci, chief technology officer at Nokia, has let the cat out of the bag regarding several of Nokia’s projects that use mobile sensor technology. One of these projects was carried out with the help of 150 students from the University of California, Berkeley. During the course of the project, Nokia placed 100 N95 smartphones into the student’s cars and used them to gauge real-time traffic. The idea behind the initiative is to use mobile sensors to collect data from thousands of motorists in any given area, which would then be analysed and interpreted, and the results sent back to the recipients. That way, your phone will be able to warn you of upcoming traffic problems specific to your route, and provide you with a viable, hassle-free alternative.
Another initiative proposes to use cell phones with barometric sensors to help meteorologists gauge changing weather patterns, and to provide up to the minute weather reports with pin-point accuracy. The theory is similar to the traffic initiative, in that data will be collected from millions of cell phones around the world, in order to provide a unique view of global climates. This would also have a profound effect on determining the state of the planet and could be instrumental in planning environmental interventions.
On a more surreal note, the MobileLab at the University of Texas in Dallas are looking into “the use of mobile devices in augmented reality”. According to Dean Terry, who is the director of the MobileLab, cell phones could soon be used to leave behind “virtual artefacts” for others to find. Imagine what it would be like to walk into a museum, art gallery or theatre and be able to view comments left behind by other patrons on your cell phone. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, perhaps you would prefer recommendations for restaurants that you’ve always wondered about. These ethereal communications could be in any form, pictures, video, audio or text.
Bob Iannucci sees a future where cell phones will be used in ways that extend far beyond simple communication. As he says, “The ability to move information changes societies and livelihoods.”