laura_garcia_vitoria_oficialProspective glances on a cartography of experiences and practices in European cities.

« The European wireless city »


Laura Garcia Vitoria, Scientific director of the «Réseau européen des Villes Numériques»
In charge of the foreign relations for the project « European House of Ethics and of Sustainable Development»
President of the NGO ARENOTECH

The European city modelled after Talinn
The European wireless city will the one of the cognitive itinerance
The accompaniment of the tourist constitutes a significant building site for the wireless city

The European city modelled after Talinn

Some European experiences are exemplary, like the deployment of wireless networks in the Baltic States, as in Talinn for example, and of their use (creation of small virtual companies, services to the inhabitants…). But today, the central measure is to ensure to the suppliers and operators the development of new ranges of innovating services whose software devices are already existing. Therefore, is more than just a new geography of the existing hot spots, it is a completely different cartography that we have to take into account : that of the cities and territories in search of such services and that have already accompanied researchers and enterprises in experimenting in that domain. Whether it is about tourism, accompaniment of the inhabitants or new horizons of creation and leisure. As a matter of fact, it is the map of today’s digital cities, whether or not they already have built or planned insfrasctructures.

And it is clearly on the prospective dimension that we wish to put an emphasis on in our intervention. One of the best illustrations that could be used to show that is the use that the cities could make out of materials largely available in public spaces such as glass surfaces. These glass surfaces can be used to access the Internet or other various contents (virtual visits, topographic information…) thanks to the circulation of sound waves within them and simple sensors.

The European wireless city will the one of the cognitive itinerance

Obviously, the first workshop is the one of the cognitive itinerance. A specific study group of the European Network of Digital devoted itself quite a while on that question. It started with about thirty programs of « ciudades del conocimiento » implemented in Spain (programs that will also soon be implemented in Germany and Italy). Their implantation is based on the projections and modelling carried out by researchers in terms of the creation of a knowledge environment around the individual, environment to the person is connected through innumerable links which will precisely be able available to him thanks to the wireless networks. Hence, the wireless networks are the carriers – that will be their main message – of major changes of the relationship with an environment connoted by knowledge.

Our whole environment wi ll soon be th e carrier of multiple information, where we will evolve in a kind of ambient Internet. Nowadays, we are able to create an encounter between the stratum of information that are by definition a monument and the contemporary information flo ws. With the technology, the individual can personalise his environment and experience it in different ways and add new knowledge, be the author. Shortly, the individual can search and give information.
They are numerous projects of enhanced perception that are carried out around the world, too many to be enumerated here (but you can find them in the French version on www.villesnumeriques.org and there is an article of enhanced perception in English as well).

The accompaniment of the tourist constitutes a significant building site for the wireless city

We particularly followed the use of the artificial intelligence in the PEACH project in Trent and the possible generalisation of devices assisting the patrimonial reading thanks to the coverage of wireless networks. The aim of the project is to create technologies that enable an active appraisal of the cultural heritage with the creation of a three dimensional textured film in order to enable an interactive manipulation and an immersion into the image.

Today, new devices made possible for public spaces of cultural heritage are also available thanks to the work of the Hertz Institute in Berlin (Fraunhofer). The declension of these devices through Wi-Fi networks is today conceivable.

Since the information is becoming more and more visual and auditory, the 3D space of the autostereoscopic screens ca be defined as a space where the machine and the user can interact. The Heinrich-Hertz-Institut in Berlin develops such screens and spaces of interaction that allow the user to communicate with the computer in a natural way: the virtual objects of the mixed reality programs can be touched and apprehended in a tactile way thanks to a hybrid screen that combines the new 3D screens with the traditional 2D displays, hence giving birth to a new style of interactive work without the carriage of special glasses.
The Fraunhofer also specialised in the development of detection systems of the positioning of the head, of the view angle but naturally also of the had gestures. These systems can be integrated –independently form the 3D screens- in diverse application where such a natural working way is desirable (virtual touchscreen, kiosk, autonomous system…). The advantage here is that there is no need for additional equipment such as gloves, special glasses or head marking.

In this short sum up, only very few approaches were presented. You are invited to read the French version to see some others, but even in the French version, all the examples could not be presented.
Soon, a completely new range of cultural heritage implementations will begin et Arenotech will pay attention to that trend and experiment, at all stages, the possibilities of the knowledge transmission and of knowledge building.

Tradcution: Anne Boultareau