The Human-Human Interface

Power for the Mesh

Personal Infrastructure

I have been tracking mobile and small footprint power sources as a key infrastructure piece of the self-aware networks arising through the interplay of wireless sensors, RFID chips and wi-fi networks. This company specializes in ultra-thin lithium batteries powering everything from wireless sensors to implantable medical devices.

“Infinite Power Solutions (IPS) announced today that it raised $34.7

million primarily to build new facilities for high-volume manufacturing of its

LiTE*STARTM thin-film batteries. Proceeds from this deal will also be used to accelerate

business development and continue innovation of future battery technologies.”

More Microcredit

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

Just got a fundraising appeal from this outfit. Looks good.

FINCA’s mission is to provide financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living.

Does It Scale


The muni wi-fi movement has attracted companies that have a bigger agenda. FON is looking to combine wi-fi networks to create a nationwide footprint. My question always is, if they attract enough users, is there enough free spectrum to support this kind of venture. Does it scale, or do only the spectrum owners have the necessary bandwidth?

“Joanna Rees, chairman of U.S. operations for FON…”There are 400 million Wi-Fi connections around the world. If we could get all of them to become part of the FON community and share their Wi-Fi, we would have ubiquitous coverage around the world today.”

Emergency Alert For Sale

Personal Infrastructure

Location based services – optional for the provider in this deregulatory world, but is there a business model? Hmm.

“In this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) seeks nominations for membership on its Commercial Mobile Service Alert Advisory Committee (Committee). The purpose of this committee is to develop recommendations on technical standards and protocols to facilitate the ability of commercial mobile service providers to transmit emergency alerts to their subscribers to the extent such providers elect to do so.”

Nobel Prize for Infrastructure !

Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

I have highlighted the Grameen Bank before for providing a practical way to extend telecommunications infrastructure in developing nations. More than 50,000 villages worldwide have been reached by Grameen.

“Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh and the Grameen Bank have been jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Yunus, an economist, founded the bank, which is one of the pioneers of micro-credit lending schemes for the poor, especially women, in Bangladesh.”$.html

Here’s the telecom-specific venture of Grameen.

“Grameen Telecom (GTC) is a company dedicated towards extending the benefits of the information revolution amongst the rural people of Bangladesh. Currently GTC provides the GSM 900 cellular mobile phones to the villagers. Our corporate vision is to provide telecommunication services to the 100 million rural inhabitants in the 68,000 villages in Bangladesh.”


Network Infrastructure for the Neurosphere

I’ve covered Zigbee in past postings. Z-Wave is a competing standard (actually, a proprietary approach) that allows a user to discover Z-wave-enabled controllers around the home. At the recent CEDIA expo of high end consumer electronics, I saw Z-wave lighting (controllers inside the face plate for the wall switch), thermostats, garage door openers and window shades. (I’ve been manually opening and shutting shades over the course of summer days trying to keep air conditioning needs lower – automation would make a big difference.) There are systems that allow the user to open the garage door which signals a pre-set of other settings – heating, lighting – to turn on when you get home. Other systems allow remote Web access to your home controls (don’t give out the password!) I especially like the “self-organizing” bit in this material.

“Zensys is a leading provider of wireless networking technology for control and status reading applications. Our Z-Wave™ technology is an RF based, two-way; mesh network, communications protocol that enables everyday devices to be controlled and monitored wirelessly. Zensys offers a family of low-cost, low-power, integrated MCU/Transceiver chips embedded with Z-Wave, as well as a suite of development tools and services making it easy for companies to develop wireless products for residential and light commercial applications including lighting and appliance control, energy management, access control, security, and building automation.

Z-wave is self-organizing – each node discovers each other, self-healing by routing around dead spots. Each node does not store topology information – important in a network w scarce resources.

Is command – based – requires short acquisition time.”

The Kids Are Alright

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

I have had Neurosphere criticized by privacy advocates as the Panopticon, good only for evil surveillance purposes. This story indicates that kids are more attuned to the benefits, not merely the risks.

“AlwaysOn: What do you think of the phenomenon of being seen and seeing others on the Web? I think this passion to express yourself on, say, a MySpace profile is a generational thing. It’s becoming central to the new social lifestyles of young people.

Ross Levinsohn: I think it’s a sociological thing. The difference in generations is that young people are now programmed. Parents don’t want their kids roaming, so kids have gravitated to the Internet. Instead of going to the mall or the roller rink (as we might have done), they’re going online—and as a result, they’re expressing themselves differently. MySpace has benefited hugely from this trend: People are using their MySpace pages to express themselves. This represents a really interesting sociological change—and one that’s good for some and challenging for others.

Tip o the Neurohat to the AlwaysOn Daily email newsletter.

The War on Ourselves Continues

Wholeness and Virtual Communities

Today’s New York Times:

“The great problem is that Al Qaeda has moved far beyond being a terrorist organization to being almost a state of mind,”

I wrote about this in my book Neurosphere:

“The war on terrorism as proclaimed by President Bush is the incipient form of conflict within a neurosphere, not across borders but within the skin of a single global entity. The war will not be confined to Afghanistan, or Iraq, or any small collection of countries. The Al Qaeda network is said to operate within more than 60 countries. It is a stunning fact that they operated most successfully in Florida, a state it will be hard for Mr. Bush to declare war upon. And it seems increasingly clear, after a year of war, that the supply of fresh recruits to the terrorist cause continues to grow.”

Sadly, nothing has changed in the ensuing four years, certainly not in the Bush Administration’s stupid inability to fight this war as anything different from any other game of cowboys and Indians. It is not even about more sophisticated intelligence capabilities to “find” the bad guys. The enemy is truly within – within the borders of the U.K., probably still within the U.S. Bush’s svengali Karl Rove keeps him on a message that makes sense to 51% of the population. Cheney and Rumsfeld keep a defense strategy going that does enriches Halliburton and other contractors and keeps political support coming in from that sector.

What’s still missing is a strategy from the opposition that goes beyond “out of Iraq”, something that reaches not only the strains of thought within fundamentalist Islam, but also the strains of thought within Christian fundamentalism that keep support for Bush’s “us or them” strategy going. A strategy that understands how group minds grow and develop and, so far, fail to truly evolve.

Neural Prosthetics from Honda

Personal Infrastructure

News from a nice portal site on assistive technology.

“Yukiyasu Kamitani and associates from the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, together with researchers from the Honda Research Institute in Saitama, have demonstrated a robotic hand that can be controlled solely with the power of brain…The robotic hand’s movements are based on real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of a person’s brain activity. It bears close resemblance to real hand in the way it performs. This assistive technology solution is a milestone in the progress towards prosthetics and computers solely controlled by thought.”

Direct Electrical Stimulation of the Brain

Personal Infrastructure

Not a neural prosthesis approach, but still building knowledge about the electrical nature of the brain and how enhancing or disrupting existing electrical patterns leads to behavioral changes.

“Dr. Mayberg: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most effective treatment for major depression, particularly in patients who fail to respond to standard treatments such as psychotherapy or medication. In some patients, medication augmentation strategies can be effective. Most recently, vagus nerve stimulation has obtained US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for treatment-resistant depression. Other strategies that target the brain more directly, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), magnetic seizure therapy (MST), and DBS, are currently being researched.”