Lost Packets – April 29

gt ot n vote

For the upcoming provincial election in British Columbia, election officials plan on text messaging young voters to encourage them to go the polls on May 17. Vancouver-based Mobile MUSE (Media-rich Urban Shared Experience) is behind the “Get Your Vote On” initiative. Through SMS (text messaging) and social networking technologies, the group hopes to combat the trend of poor voter turnout by “using age-appropriate media and methods to involve young people in the issues, get them to register as voters, and get them into the voting booth.” In a release, Richard Smith, the lead researcher for Get Your Vote On said, “Mobile phones are increasingly being used in political situations and this project will provide key insights into the processes, preferences, concerns and conditions under which text messaging can be used to enhance, encourage, enliven and engage young people in the political process.” If the initiative proves successful, it might be used for future elections across Canada.

The computer wore tennis shoes

For the first time in Canada, people are able to purchase adidas_1, the world’s first intelligent shoe. Each shoe “senses the cushioning level on every step; understands whether the cushioning provided is too soft or too firm; then adapts itself to provide the right level of cushioning.” The adidas_1 measures distance via sensors to a small magnet at the bottom of the shoe. It takes 1,000 readings a second and is accurate to a 10th of a millimetre. This small microprocessor is capable of making five million calculations per second that understand the necessary level of cushioning. It adapts via a motor-driven cable system that spins at 6000 rpm. The adidas_1 is available at select retailers and sportswear boutiques in 24 locations across Canada at a cost of $350. For more information, visit www.adidas.com/1.

Vivienne, the virtual girlfriend

Meet Vivienne, a virtual girlfriend that for US$6 a month plus airtime will go out on dates with you, kiss you, accept gifts, and maybe even marry you all through your cellphone. The latest in mobile games for cellphones comes courtesy of Hong Kong-based Artificial Life Inc. and is deployed by Singapore Telecom Mobile PTE Ltd. The game is a 3-D environment that lets players visit a virtual disco, listen to music, and individually invite Vivienne out with them. Competing players can earn Vivienne’s favour through virtual gifts and understand her likes and dislikes. If she so chooses, she may invite players to her virtual home. However, Vivienne has a no sex, no nudity policy when it comes to courting her.

Cellphone page turner

Imagine reading the latest Harry Potter book or any best seller or classic novel on the tiny screen of your cellphone. Full-length novels are downloaded onto mobile handsets in short instalments and run as Java-based applications. A wireless service provider, Bandai Networks Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, has over 150 titles in its cellphone library and lets users search by author, title and genre all through their handsets. In related news, a Beijing company has filmed the first ever television drama made exclusively for cellphone screens. The drama entitled “Appointment” is a five minute love triangle romance set to play out in five episodes.

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