France Telecom has done some fun R&D to display pixelated images from your cellphone on your shirt or sleeve. These raver garments can even be used as a standalone device that can animate based on sounds and gestures. The technology uses a flexible circuit board with LEDs and other electronic bits like sensors layered in a fabric layered sandwich, which they claim is fairly comfortable.
The researchers at France Telecom hope people will use these textiles to do things like display their mood, but I'd be happy if my pixilated avatar would just bop to the beat of the baseline when I'm out on the town. I really hope to see better resolution displays; this technology is still very young. With better resolution, designer memes and logos might become the hot intellectual property being shared by the young hipsters. Animated clothing is something I've been seeing a lot at Burning Man by artists with electroluminescent wire, so I have hope that this technology will encourage fashion to be more creative. For example, I would love a shirt that could display a very large "NO SPAM" message to display disgust in solicitors and peddlers in appropiate situations. I'd love to hear how others would use this creatively, so once again, I've opened up the comments
I wasn't going to mention this awfully mundane story on cellphones in watches, but when I heard the words "Talk to the Hand - LITTERALLY!" from a Fox 11 News promo here in Los Angeles, I just had to.
Left hand photo from gizmodo. At least gizmodo's post on the subject brings up the posibility of cellphone inplants.
Excuse me, is that your butt ringing?
North Korea's cellphone ban seems to be more complicated than previously stated. While the following quote from Howard Ringhold supports the censorship hypothesis for the reason behind the banning, freenorthkorea reveals that the train bombing was an assassination attempt by "anti-North Korean government forces" on the disliked leader, Kim Jong-il.
"Ohmynews is a website in South Korea that employs 26,000 citizen-reporters. Those citizen-reporters and their readers vote on which articles should appear on the front page. It's wildly popular, particularly among the young cybergeneration. Earlier this year, Ohmynews did something remarkable. The candidate that was favored by many of their readers and reporters was behind in the polls in the days before Korea's Presidential election, and the exit-polls in the early hours showed him losing. A call to action on Ohmynews led to readers sending nearly a million emails to their friends, urging them to get out and vote, along with an uncounted number of text messages to their friends' telephones. That unprecedented online get-out-the-vote effort tipped the election – and the first interview President-elect Roh gave was to Ohmynews."
This indicates that North Korea's neighbor has recently had a change in government directly due to improvements in communication in the form of the internet and cellphones. While censoring the internet is easy, censoring text messages is almost impossible unless you restrict or outlaw cellphones.
In addition, if the the train bombing in Ryongchon on April 22 "had been conspired by anti-North Korean government forces to harm North Korean leader Kim Jong-il" the ban seems justified, at least from the view of the North Korean dictator. For someone so disliked, cellphones seem an obvious target to quell dissent.
"A North Korean official who was recently on his business trip to China said, “The North Korean National Security Agency has investigated the incident since it took place and concluded that rebellious forces had plotted the explosions targeting the exclusive train of Kim Jong-il. The security agency, in particular, gained evidence that cell phones had been used in triggering the explosion and reported to the North Korean leader that the use of cell phones should be banned for the sake of the leader’s safety.
A North Korea defector who crossed the border a few days ago said, “It doesn’t seem to be a temporary measure, because even handsets have been conscripted following the cell phone use ban.” “The Postal Service, which manages the cell phone business, has unilaterally conscripted handsets without offering any compensations. It's a typical example of a dictatorial state,” the defector pointed out." [freenorthkorea.net]
In any case, while North Korea's citizens are being held back in the dark ages, their government is still watching.
In related news, Italy takes the opposite approach, and spams it's hipster crowd with pro-voting text messages.
North Korea has banned cellphones, what next, cameras? Not sure how many people in North Korea have cellphones, but "Three quarters of South Korean's 48 million people carry at least one mobile phone". North Korea, which unlike Iraq I'm actually worried about, has predictably not given any explanation for the ban. A South Korea newspaper speculated that it may have to do with a train explosion in Ryongchon this April, but I believe the motivations may be more sinister. In 2001, text messaging toppled Joseph Estrada in the Philippines.
"In the charged atmosphere of last week's revolution -- where numbers were crucial -- Estrada could arguably have nipped the protests in the bud by closing down communications while mobilizing forces elsewhere. It might have bought him valuable time."
Please feel free to redistribute my new suggestion for the North Korean flag. I think it's quite appropriate for the current political climate.
Update (June 5th): Thanks to the beautiful and eloquent xeni, this entry got bOingbOing'd yesterday. Also my father told me that the day I published this article was the anniversary of the Tienemen Square Massacre. If you're visiting igargoyle from another site, please check out our daily updates of moblogging, cyborgs, and wearable computing.
Well if mobile communications is important to you, this announcement from DoCoMo is sure to please. The figures here are amazing, an average of over 100Mbps, and they were able to achieve 300Mbps from a moving car. Unfortunately Americans won't see this for quite a while as cellphone companies in the states are behind the curve, but it is good news for cellphone users around the world.
"The company said that the test achieved a maximum downstream data rate of 300Mbps with an average rate of 135Mbps in a car running at the speed of 30 kilometers per hour in areas 800m to 1km away from the 4G wireless base stations."
"[4G's average speed] is as at least as fast as any fiberoptic connection you can get at the moment, and means you can stream HDTV to your phone"