Ushahidi team announces new version "Tunis"

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Ushahidi 2.1 Tunis

 

The good people at Ushahidi.com have announced an update to their open source information collection and visualization software platform.  Version 2.1, code named "Tunis" is now available for download from their website: http://download.ushahidi.com/

With this update they've added several significant new features such as report filtering and the ability to generate custom forms that augment information collection efforts.  Check out the announcement on their blog here: Announcing Ushahidi v2.1 (Tunis)

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Conflict in Crisis Mapping - Will malfeasants co-opt the efforts of crisis mappers in political revolts?

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Crisis Mappers

The act of creating crisis maps during and after natural disasters, such as the recent Japanese tsunami, serves to inform and aid the efforts of relief workers. When the same mapping and communication technology is put to use during political conflicts, is it possible the efforts of crisis mappers could be doing more harm than good?  Erica Naone of MIT's Technology Review writes about the very real threat of hijacked maps in conflicts around the world, notably the political unrest in the Middle East:

"Crisis mapping has had a major impact in the last 18 months, helping to collate information and coordinate activities during the Haitian earthquake in early 2010 and the Japanese tsunami that struck earlier this year.

But crisis mapping tools are increasingly springing up in politically fraught situations, too; most notably, they have been used to provide humanitarian relief during the protests that have swept through the Middle East in recent months. Since some authorities may want to undermine these efforts, or even attack those involved, it's becoming vital to protect these systems from interference, says George Chamales, a hacker and activist who has served as technical lead for crisis map deployments in Libya, Pakistan, and Sudan."

Read the full article here: Why Crisis Maps Can Be Risky When There's Political Unrest

Via MIT Technology Review

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Coolest thing this week: Glow Guardian

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Glow Guardian

Iranian design students Raika Khorshidian and Maryam Heidaripour want to give Iranian women the advantage of being clearly seen when they walk at night.  The traditional black chador does little to help women stand out on the road, so the solution was to design a fabric with reflective design printed in a way that both enhances visibility and retains the beauty of traditional Islamic calligraphy.
 

Khorshidian and Heidaripour's prototype earned them a spot among the finalists for the 2011 INDEX award.

Glow Guardian

Images via INDEX

 

 

 

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Markus Kayser's solar powered 3D printer - The SolarSinter

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Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

 

Artist, designer Markus Kayser explores the possibilities of solar-powered crafting by harnessing the power of the sun to cut wood and print 3D objects with his solar powered machines. His prototype device, the SunCutter, operated semi-automatically and used only the power of the sun to produce components, but his recently upgraded SolarSinter is capable of automated 3D printing using sand and sun as its only required resources.  Where other 3D printers use lasers and resins to perform SLS (selective laser sintering), Kayser's machine can cut with the concentrated power of the sun and print objects using melted silica.  The beauty of this technology is in the simplicity of the technique, and the sheer abundance of the source materials.  As Kayser puts it:

"In the deserts of the world two elements dominate - sun and sand. The former offers a vast energy source of huge potential, the latter an almost unlimited supply of silica in the form of quartz...The machine and the results of these first experiments presented here represent the initial significant steps towards what I envisage as a new solar-powered production tool of great potential."

 

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