With his team at SENSEable City Lab, MIT’s Carlo Ratti makes cool things by sensing the data we create. He pulls from passive data sets — like the calls we make, the garbage we throw away — to create surprising visualizations of city life. And he and his team create dazzling interactive environments from moving water and flying light, powered by simple gestures caught through sensors.
“What is interesting today is that real time control systems are starting to enter into our lives,” says Ratti. “Our cities, over the past few years, just have been blanketed with networks, electronics. They’re becoming like computers in open air. And, as computers in open air, they’re starting to respond in a different way to be able to be sensed and to be actuated. If we fix cities, actually it’s a big deal. Just as an aside, I wanted to mention, cities are only two percent of the Earth’s crust, but they are 50 percent of the world’s population. They are 75 percent of the energy consumption — up to 80 percent of CO2 emissions. So if we’re able to do something with cities, that’s a big deal. Beyond cities, all of this sensing and actuating is entering our everyday objects.”
Well, I can’t wait to watch this TED Talk…how about you? The following are some of the SENSEable City Lab projets that were shown during the TED presentation. For more information and credits please click on the pictures to visit each project’s website. All of SENSEable City Lab projects can be seen at the SENSEable City Lab website. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.