A while back I went on about Jeremy Clarkson’s review of a Tesla… which he was generally impressed with, but took fright at the price.
It appears that The Ecotricity guy has built one… and the development costs have been less than the cost of a single unit of the Telsa.
It is faster out of the blocks than a V12 Ferrari and can do 0-60mph in four seconds. It will go faster than 140mph and can be fully charged over lunch. But the most remarkable thing about the first British electric supercar is that it is not being built by one of the world’s great car companies with a limitless research budget, but has been knocked up in a few months by some middle-aged engineers in a Norfolk garage from off-the-shelf parts mostly available on the web – Guardian
To be fair, they’ve borrowed a fair bit of development costs by basically nicking the design of a Lotus Exige… still, an electric car that doesn’t look like a tea-pot.
I think we’re going to be seeing more of this sort of thing… largish companies that belong in the 21st century rather than the 20th setting up innovation labs where groups of very smart people are allowed to “play”.
An idea that’s been kicking around for a while… but which I first came across on the DIYbio mailing list is that of a Bio-Weathermap.
Basically it’s a way of keeping tabs on what’s going on in the world… by means of local bird-watchers uploading their observations to a central location… and by ‘bird-watcher’, I obviously mean train-spotter, or anyone else who has a fascination with a particular niche etc… and there are a surprisingly large number of these, they’re just not coordinated yet.
Which is Joe DeRisi giving a talk on Virus-Hunting in which he talks about automated diagnosis of virii… using a virus library on a chip… and this…
Jamais Cascio talking about “Tools for building a better world”… in which he suggests the possibility of using cell-phones to monitor… well, everything. The Earth-Witness Project he calls it.
These two concepts coming together could be… well, cool… although Jamais is specifically talking about a de-coupling of observation and analysis. There’s more of a viral push to being able to see the results yourself, straight away etc – especially if there’s some chance you might discover gold… or at least a new species that could be named after you etc.
I’ve been noticing the possibility of cell-phone based distributed monitoring more and more – plugins for phones. One that turned up today is this:
To be honest, I was invisaging something a little bit more like this :
Except a lot smaller – fused or plugged into your phone so you forget it’s there… so people strolling round lakes or fishing in rivers or driving a tractor round their farm etc, can take a couple of seconds out to snap a micro-photo and have it auto-uploaded to a central point where people thousands of miles away can analyse, track etc… to be honest, I just have this picture in my head of an absolutely massive website that looks like this:
It always was about the art… but I’m also interested in resilience… and in the areas where we have in-built, inherent, unavoidable single-points-of-failure… because we only have “one system”… eg:, the biosphere, the internet… we really need to keep an eye on things because the waters ahead are likely to be fairly stormy by all accounts.
Or more accurately, cellphones are telephones that have been swallowed from the inside (without anyone noticing) by computers… so they’re basically computers… they’re just a bit lacking on the peripheral front at the moment.