See How the BMW EnLighten App May Help You in Traffic

Traffic lights could become a nightmare in heavy traffic, to the point where you never know if you can send a quick text or take a sip of your morning coffee before the light ahead changes. You always need to keep your eyes peeled and check if the light turns green before the guy behind you honks you to death, or you may never know if that green light will change before you try passing the intersection.

BMW has been working on solving this and came up with the EnLighten app, having it work with participating cities by communicating with the traffic light control system. This means that the app makes use of your phone’s GPS and knows which light you are approaching, then gives you a counter to see how long it will take for the light to change.

However, don’t think that the counter is 100% accurate, so don’t try forcing your luck on that last second. The data is received and processed based on red, amber and green cycles, as well as traffic flow cycles at different times of the day.

While there may be a slight time deviation, the app is still useful in giving drivers a chance to time their arrival at intersections when the light is green, or give them a chance to do something else while waiting at a red light.

The app is currently available on iOS and Android for use in any BMW car and a map of participating cities can be found here.

Thank you Gizmag for providing us with this information

Google Wants to Turn Old Payphones Into Smart Pylons

Google has big plans, we all know that and maybe one day they’ll take over the world as some fear, but up until then they are doing a lot of cool things for all of us. One of the things they are working on is to bring free WiFi for everyone and that project starts in New York.

Google announced their Sidewalk Labs project earlier this month, an independent google-owned company that would focus on improving city living through technology innovations, but otherwise the giant didn’t specify what that company would do. The first task is now to bring widespread Wi-Fi to large cities around the world and they’re starting with New York as a testing ground.

Sidewalk Labs now announced that it is launching Intersection, another new company formed of Control Group and Titan. Those two names might not sound familiar but they are the ones behind the LinkNYC plan who’s plan is to convert old phone booths into ad-supported Wi-Fi pylons. If the project is a success, it is planned to roll it out to more cities in the near future.

The Pylons aren’t just designed for Wi-Fi connection and advertising space, they will also work as charging stations, offer free domestic phone calls and a touchscreen with city information.

The information is still sparse, but it looks like it is happening sometime between now and this fall.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NY Post

Uber Wants to Put You in the Driver Seat with Its New Game

Have you ever wondered how to increase your sales and promote your service? Uber might have the right answer to it and yes, it is a game! The popular transport company now has a driving game called UberDrive available on the Apple AppStore that puts you in the driver’s seat of their cabs.

Uber wants to promote its service and get its clients more engaged with the company’s driver-partners that ever before. The UberDrive title lets you experience their daily life as one of their independent cab drivers in a fun and rewarding way.

According to Uber’s Newsroom article, players need to help riders reach their destination as quickly and safely as possible. However, the game is not designed as monotonous as it sounds.

Players will be able to earn achievements and unlock parts of the city as the progress through the game. Score points will also unlock various cars and new areas, while activities such as identifying landmarks and tapping on intersection points will increase your score.

In addition to the above, Uber added some educational elements such as fun facts about landmarks and a trivia mode where riders can quiz players to get destination points on the map.

Uber has launched the UberDrive worldwide with only San Francisco as a playable map. However, Uber stated that San Fancisco is the “initial” map, indicating that more areas are likely to come in the future. For now, users can download the game from here.

NASA’s ‘ShadowNet’ Revealed To Be 10x Faster than Google Fiber

Google promised to bring internet speeds 1,000 faster than the current average internet speed found in homes around the US through Google Fiber. The connection, which is around 10 Gigabits per second, might be something seen only in sci-fi movies. However, NASA tends to disagree.

The space agency allegedly uses a shadow internet called ESnet, which is short for Energy Science Network, capable of delivering cross-country speeds of 91 Gigabits per second, deemed the fastest connection ever reported.

However, these speeds will not reach normal home connections anytime soon. NASA is using this shadow network to explore the next wave of computing applications. The U.S. Department of Energy is apparently running ESnet, having it be an important tool for researchers who require large amounts of data handled for projects such as the Large Hadron Collider and Human Genome Project.

The use of such technology leads back to how the Internet was born and eventually became the most important piece of technology used by everyone today. This is why ESnet and Internet2, a non-profit international network built-in 1995 for researchers after the Internet was commercialised, might hold the key of faster internet speeds in the future.

Also, equipment capable of handling high-speed internet, similar to what ESnet currently provides, has been out on the market since 2010. However, the Internet is not a straight line. Each piece of data needs to pass through various nodes before reaching its destination, similar to what a driver has to do when reaching an intersection. As a driver, you are required to slow down and even stop in order to check if you are clear to proceed on your way through the intersection. The same principle applies to data packets through a node.

ESnet is proof that internet speeds which most people only dream of can be achieved. With a lot of effort and probably some luck, similar internet speeds could be available on the commercial market in the future.

Thank you Wired for providing this information
Image courtesy of Wired