Click meets the architects using visualisation technology to build cities of the future. And can Blackberry recover its share of the smartphone market?
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Excuse me, could you tell me the way to, uh... Pardon me, I'm looking for...
Does anyone know the way to...?
This week on Click, we'll try to navigate the cities of the future,
and find out how to design buildings and whole areas that are easy to get to
and safe to be around.
We're also meeting the new smartphone which is hoping it's hip to be square.
And meet the people you don't know who are offering to wake you up first thing in the morning.
All that plus the latest tech news,
and apps for snaps in a photography flavoured Webscape.
Welcome to Click, I'm Spencer Kelly.
Around the world, more and more people
are moving to the cities.
And as a result, the infrastructures of those cities
are starting to struggle.
This week we're at a place called Transport Systems Catapult in the fairly young city of Milton Keynes.
This place is showcasing different ways of tackling urban transport planning issues.
this is the city of Manchester in 2010.
A lot smaller than I remember it but there you go. This is a visualisation
of how the traffic flowed around the city four years ago,
the blue blobs are busses, the white blobs are cars and so on.
First of all, you can dial forward 10 or 20 years to see how the congestion will increase.
But you can also dial up the amount of investment that there has been through that time in public transport
to see whether, for example, you can reduce the number of cars on the road.
And then you can see how your design will be influenced
by accidents at various points on the map.
And, of course how it copes with a spot of bad weather.
Now, it is all very well helping existing cities adjust,
but if you have the luxury of building something from scratch,
you can use the latest technology and simulations to help get your design right.
Over here is a simulation of how different
parts of a pedestrianised area would get congested as you open and close different entrances and exits.
And Neil Bowdler has been finding out how this can be used to predict
how buildings affect people before a single foundation stone has been laid.
The London headquarters of the engineering group Arup,
at its architectural division Arup Associates.
This is how architecture used to be done,
physical models of proposed buildings to give the planners and
the general public a better idea of how a scheme will look and impact on its environment.
Models like these are still built here at Arup and elsewhere,
but it is 3D digital visualisation which has now become the most important tool
engaging with clients, city authorities and the public.
This is a fly-through showing how the finished Olympic Park will eventually look,
created before much of the park was built.
It is the work of a whole team at the company's visualisation department.
Heading up the team is David Edge.
We created a co-ordinated model, a visualisation model of the Olympic Park, back in 2007.
And using this model it helped communicate to a number of different audiences.
We published it into a real-time engine,
so that helped people experience what the vistas of the Olympic Park were going to be.
The team's latest project is the Garden Bridge,
the new proposed river crossing for London's pedestrians.
Look at this video and you'd think it was built already.
This is before. We can click on year one
and then we can actually bring in what the bridge is going to look like
on the first year after it's been built.
And then we can go to year 25, summer,
and you can see start to see what the vision of Heatherwick Studio and Dan Pearson Studio is,
with the treeline reflecting the piers in framing the views of London.
David doesn't just want to create pretty videos,
he wants to put you in or on the buildings or structures
before they are built.
No office is complete without a shed, but this is one with a difference.
It is a visualisation shed.
Step into it and I can transport myself to the River Thames.
Inside the shed we have a fan to represent the wind, we have
leaves to represent the foliage that will be on the bridge and the aroma
that they will give, we even have the sound of birdsong and the distant hum of traffic.
What we're missing are the pictures.
Put on these glasses and I can really put myself on the bridge.
Visualising future projects isn't just about informing the public, though.
It is also about the public informing the design process.
Arup's Alvise Simondetti builds virtual realities of unbuilt buildings,
so they can be tested before the foundations are built.
This is a planned station upgrade for Hong Kong.
We want a 21st century station,
which translates into the fact that we want to ensure that
passengers can go from anywhere, any position, any place to any place in the station
within a maximum amount of time.
Which is around a minute and a half.
So I am wandering around this simulation now and I must admit I am a bit lost.
It is not surprising, given how big it is. There are four train lines, eight platforms,
48 escalators, I'm tumbling down one now.
And the whole point here is the signage.
I'm trying to get from A to B within this station using the signs that are available to me.
If I get lost or the signs don't work very well then that information
will be fed back to the developers of this simulation
and the engineers and architects can redesign the signage before the station's even built.
The plan is to put this virtual reality online in the near future,
so the general public can feed back data in their thousands.
Down by the river, David Edge is using his latest visualisation tool
for clients, using augmented reality.
Technology probably won't ever be able to predict entirely how a building will function,
a physical world has hidden depths after all.
But there is no doubting it can dramatically improve our sense of how a building will appear,
and sit in its landscape before it's built.
It might even lead to better buildings.
Now, you can't go far in the UK without coming across a CCTV camera.
They are intended as a security measure,
but cameras do have a shortcoming.
They only offer a limited view of the surrounding area.
But now, one US company has developed a way of monitoring an entire neighbourhood
using technology originally developed during the Iraq war.
Sumi Das has visited the firm that is now looking to bring the surveillance system to urban areas.
This summer, so called "ghost robbers" plagued Dayton, Ohio.
No arrests were made,
but a potent crime fighting tool may have made a difference.
Cameras mounted on planes thousands of feet overhead.
We get a fallen location where there was a camera,
that did see their face,
we could have identified them and solved this crime.
From it's high vantage point, this rig of 12 high-res cameras
captures things that escape lenses on the ground.
The technology, made by Persistent Surveillance Systems,
is called Hawkeye 2.
Our camera systems are 192 million pixels but that doesn't mean that we have
tremendous resolution down on the ground.
Our objective is to cover as large an area as possible
so we see as much crime as we possibly can.
Persistent Surveillance System's own software stitches images from the 12 cameras together.
The company engineered a 600 megabit per second downlink
to transfer files from the plane to a command centre.
It is fast enough that police could track crimes in progress.
The most effective use of this technology?
Steady crime statistics.
Find out when and where most crimes occur.
Then fly a plane over those hotspots
during peak periods.
Hawkeye 2 can cover up to 25 square miles,
though people are reduced to grainy spots.
At one pixel per person, I can't tell if someone is a man, woman or child.
They are just a dot.
The only reason I know they're not a bush is they tend to walk along the sidewalk.
The only reason I know they're not a dog is they tend to get in a car and drive.
If I had 9 pixels per person it wouldn't tell me any more information about it,
but I'd only cover one ninth of the area
and see one ninth the number of crimes.
Persistent Surveillance Systems has witnessed 34 murders using its technology.
They captured this one in Juarez, Mexico,
near the US border,
while surveilling for illegal crossings and contraband smuggling.
This right here appears to be your victim coming out there,
right there appears to be the shot,
and then what we're going to do is, we're going to follow the shooter out.
Analysts painstakingly examine each image and log
the suspect's movements.
Using Google Street View, they identify which house to investigate.
Surveillance technology is bound to raise privacy concerns and questions.
Who is watching me? These analysts can't look at any video they wish,
they can only review footage directly related to a crime that's been reported
or an ongoing police investigation.
But privacy advocates remain wary.
A particular concern is that the technology is used
without public knowledge.
This raises serious privacy and first amendment concerns.
Because it allows for law enforcement to know whether, for instance,
a person has left their house and gone to a psychiatrist,
gone to a mosque or even gone to an abortion clinic.
To date, Hawkeye 2 has been used to assess damage following the BP oil spill,
gather data for traffic studies and help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
But no police departments are using it.
Public opposition and the nearly 2,000 per hour cost are among the reasons.
But police still see the value.
Technology is a force multiplier in the era of austerity.
The only way most of those of those departments are able to maintain effectiveness
is through the use of innovative technology,
and this is just one example of such technology.
And judging by the rapid development of sensor and imaging technologies,
there will likely be many others.
Sumi Das with the eyes in the skies above Ohio.
Next up, a look at this week's tech news.
Apple has been forced to apologise
after an update to its mobile operating system
left some owners of its new iPhones unable to make or receive calls.
Users who had installed iOS 8.0.1 on their iPhone 6s also complained
it caused problems for the handset's touch ID fingerprint facility.
The update has now been pulled and Apple has advised affected users
to reinstall iOS 8 through iTunes.
India has successfully sent a spacecraft to Mars
and is the first country to have done so at its first attempt.
The Mangalyaan, which means Mars Craft in Hindi,
safely arrived in orbit and will now take pictures of the Red Planet
and study its atmosphere.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country had achieved
the near impossible, and what's more,
it completed the mission for just 74 million,
substantially less than it cost to make the film Gravity.
And, finally, the world's first 3D printed band
has shown off its chops at Lund University in Sweden.
All the instruments involved in this tri-dimensional performance,
the drums, the keyboard and a couple of guitars, were 3D printed.
Well, as much as they could be.
Forget heavy metal, this is heavy plastic.
Of course, the main news on social media this week is...
Yep, those photos that surfaced of Apple's new iPhone
which seemed to show the phone might be prone to bending in your pocket.
Apple said it's received just 9 complaints in the first week,
claiming the problem is "rare" during normal use.
But, of course, we can't take Apple's word for it. We've asked Marc Cieslak to investigate.
Now, the 6 Plus is the larger of the two new iPhones and its back
is made of aluminium, which will bend if forced.
But just how tough is Apple's latest?
I'm now going to perform a completely unscientific test,
which I like to call "sitting down",
with the 6 Plus in my front and back pocket.
For the record, the surface I'm sitting on is soft.
And let's have a look at the result.
Seems pretty flat to me.
OK, time now to try it with a chair that has a hard surface.
Pop it into my pocket.
Let's have a look there.
It's worth noting I wouldn't normally put my smartphone in my back pocket,
for fear of damaging the screen in the first place.
This is still looking reasonably flat.
Time now to test if the iPhone will bend after leaving it in my pocket for an entire day.
A day which involves extreme activities, such as getting a hair cut.
eating lunch and working at my desk.
I've had the iPhone 6 Plus in my pocket all day
and the result of all the standing up and sitting down that I've done?
Well, the phone itself remains...
This massive thing is called the Sentiment Mapping Tool.
it's looking out for tweets that contain keywords relating to public transport,
train, bus, tube and so on.
And then it is trying to work out the sentiment of those tweets.
Basically whether the people tweeting are happy or not about their train journey and their bus ride.
Working out the mood of tweets is a big thing right now, but it is not
as easy as it sounds, it is not just a case of looking out for happy and sad keywords,
because, in the UK at least, we have this thing called sarcasm,
which is very easy for computers to work out(!)
Anyway, right now I can see the buses are making people very happy,
the tube seems to be on track and the trains have just recovered
from a period of making people very, very miserable.
Your next travel update in half an hour.
Now, I'm not sure what smartphones these people are using
but I think it's safe to say most of them aren't using Blackberries.
As smartphones have moved towards bigger touchscreens and better cameras,
the once mighty Blackberry has fallen out of favour.
But the company is not out of the running just yet,
and it is now pinning its hopes on something it has been known for since it entered the mobile market.
Dan Simmons has been looking at how Blackberry is reverting to type.
It looks like an ordinary keyboard,
until you swipe it.
Embedded beneath the keys is a capacitive touch sensor
that allows the whole surface of this new device to be used
like a touchpad.
and revealing menus.
There's a lot of people who find a huge amount of value in a physical keyboard,
and so we are just taking what we have always been really good at
and we're upgrading it. And you will see that in the devices coming out in the future.
This is the Blackberry Passport,
and it is not for teenagers.
This is a phone for the business professional.
Blackberry have got all serious on us.
This screen isn't ideal for watching movies but it does make documents much more easy to browse through.
The Blackberry 10 OS doesn't support as many apps as others,
but we are now told this works seamlessly with your office software.
And this new touch keyboard makes bashing out that e-mail super quick.
One way the Passport focuses on work is how it stores all those
sensitive documents on the handset while allowing them to be edited on the laptop.
The key is, nothing leaves the Blackberry.
You do the editing using the PC power
but then it's sent through the Blackberry
and it is from the Blackberry that all the security is enabled.
So the security is on the Blackberry, nothing is left on the PC.
The Passport takes its name from its dimensions,
but it does feel chunky, and while its size may be its biggest plus for some,
it may not be BB's breakthrough device.
It's niche because it's got a large screen, 4.5 inches square,
it's not the typical format.
The one coming out after this, the Classic, which is a return to form,
a return to the Blackberry Bold style keyboards,
that I think will be the one. This will be rather niche.
For now this is a square phone, aimed squarely at square people,
but it might just help Blackberry boldly turn a curve.
Dan Simmons with the device which may, or may not, wake Blackberry from its slumber.
Talking of which, and you're going to love this link,
until I became a dad, getting up in the morning was the worst thing in the world.
If that is still you, have you ever wondered if it might be easier to get up
if you are woken by a complete stranger?
I'm saying nothing.
Well, believe it or not, that is the idea behind a new app called Wakie,
and Stephen Beckett has spent the last week bedding it in.
If you are already clawing for the snooze button
maybe you need this.
I've got a Wakie.
This is Wakie, the idea is to get strangers to wake you up,
a bit like a hotel alarm call.
Each stranger is randomly chosen from anywhere in the world,
and has just one minute to get you out of bed.
That was very weird, but I am, technically, awake.
The app is the brainchild of Armenian entrepreneur, Hrachik Adjamian.
This idea came to me seven years ago because it was my own problem.
I just noticed that when someone is calling me I am
waking up pretty fast.
I cannot just snooze a live person.
And once you are awake you can return the favour to other so-called "sleepies" around the world.
We are currently looking for sleepies.
I've got a sleepie!
What are you going to have for breakfast?
-'Probably just a coffee and a bagel.'
# Wake up, it's time to get up, yeah! #
What do you think?
'Good job waking!'
They hung up!
Sing, sing for them, they always thank you after that because
even if your voice is horrible, they always think of it as
a really nice way of waking up, instead of
the random "good morning" wake up.
The app claims to be anonymous, keeping your phone number private from the person you are calling.
That is all well and good providing they actually answer the phone.
'You have reached the voicemail of 7192..."
And now I've got their mobile number.
Wakie say they are working on a fix for the problem,
but until then you might want to think twice before inviting the world into your voicemail.
Bizarrely, the app also tries to match you with someone of the opposite gender.
It makes you become more nice than your gender, we just noticed that.
I see it as an entertainment tool.
Since I live alone I use Wakie often at night after work
instead of watching TV I'd rather use my Wakie and wake up random strangers all the time and just meet
random strangers for a second.
There is no denying Wakie is a pretty strange idea,
as evidenced by the reaction we got when we asked people what they thought on Twitter.
But, weird or not, Wakie already claims a strong following with Russians,
boasting 1.5 million subscribers.
And with apps available for Android and Windows smartphones,
and iOS in the pipeline,
it could soon be bedtime for the snooze button.
The Stephen Beckett alarm call.
Thank goodness he didn't get his trombone out.
Anyway, this week we have a photography themed Webscape for you.
Some people prefer the point and shoot simplicity of smartphone cameras,
but for others the art of photography is a serious business,
and Kate Russell has a little something for everyone next.
If you are serious about photography, it becomes a blend of art and science.
Understanding the best composition and knowing
how the light will fall on your subject at any time of day and night.
The photographer's ephemeris is the ideal companion for outdoor photography.
with a map-centric sun and moon calculator,
so you know what to expect from the light and shadows.
The app is quite pricey, £6 on iOS and £3 on Android,
but there is also a desktop version that is free to use.
Another great example in this genre is Photo Pills,
which is only in iOS right now
and again, quite pricey.
but the interface is beautiful and really easy to get to grips with.
The interface is very intuitive, letting you select a date and location
and then slide the dots on the bottom part of the screen
to see direction and times for the sun and moon.
# It's a kinda magic...#
As well as telling you how the world will affect your photos,
here is a raft of ingenious gizmos to help perfect that shot.
69p Anticrop on iOS uncrops your image, using cloning technology to fill in the gaps
if you want to reframe a little wider.
it works like magic on
scenery and vistas,
but as soon as you add people and fine details, the cloning goes a bit haywire.
Instaface Eyes Morph is free on Android and lets you
monkey around, morphing portraits into a combination of human and animal hybrids.
As you do.
One of the downsides of digital sharing is that you don't get to see
the reaction of the person you are showing the photograph to.
Sharing the sharing of the sharing of our captured memories
can bring a whole new level of fun and personal interaction.
Reactor for iOS and Android does exactly this,
using the recipient's camera to capture their reaction on opening a video or photo you send.
They will need the app installed too,
and then they can choose whether they want to send the reaction to you.
Kate Russell's Webscape, and if you have any Webscape suggestions
please do give us a shout.
And you may have heard that we finally have our own YouTube channel,
which, of course, we'd love you to subscribe to.
Blimey, we'll be getting our own MySpace
and Bebo page next if we're lucky.
Anyway, that is it for now. Thank you very much for watching.
We'll see you next time.
Click meets the architects using visualisation technology to build cities of the future.
And can Blackberry recover its share of the smartphone market?