Monday, January 25, 2010

Inflatable Hospital in Haiti

Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has set up a 'mobile field hospital' made up of a collection of nine inflatable structures. This 'plug-and-play' encampment is located on a soccer field just outside of Port-Au-Prince and will provide space for 100 beds, a surgery unit, an intensive care unit, and relies on a power and sanitation system that operates independently from the local infrastructure. The kits are designed to be as self-sufficient as possible. In an interview with Boing Boing, Laurent Didieu of MSF describes the set-up and theory behind the installation:
9 tents, 100 beds, including hospitalization and ICU and recovery beds. A triage and emergency tent, and two operations theatres. The idea is that within the tent we have a complete kit we can deploy including energy supply, water supply, all the sanitation, and all medical equipment inside the tent. In Haiti, everything needed to run a hospital including beds and biomedical equipment is included.

We want to be as autonomous as possible with regard to energy. In this case we have one 30 KV generator and one 60 KV generator. Plus an electrical board, and equipment to ensure electrical safety. And then you have all the electrical wire you need to set up lights inside the ward, and set up plugs for the medical equipment.

MSF designs and operates the units themselves and over the past decade, they have modified the design through field experience. All units use standard MSF components and technology and are designed to be employed in most any environment or situation. Since 2005 they have been used in such diverse locations as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and now Haiti. Pioneered by experimental designers like Ant Farm in the 1970's, the mobile field hospital by MSF proves how dynamic inflatable structures can be in response to time-critical building and infrastructure mobilization.

Seen on Boing Boing. Photos by Benoit Finck via Boing Boing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Robots and Monsters to Aid Haiti

Shadebot by Joe Alterio of Robots and Monsters.
Robots and Monsters is a self-proclaimed Charitable Menagerie. The group is a collection of artists who trade original works of art for donations to causes worldwide. After the recent earthquake in Haiti, Robots and Monsters teamed up with Doctors Without Borders to raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti. By donating to the organization, the donor will receive an original drawing or painting of a monster or robot - sometimes both - from an artist, and the majority of funds donated will be transferred to Doctors Without Borders. According to the Monsters and Robots website: is an effort started by Joe Alterio to trade original, commissioned art for donations to a good cause. This is the way we work: you donate a set amount for an original Robot or Monster, as defined by three words or phrases you provide. Then, one of our amazing artists interprets those three words or phrases any way they see fit, in the form of a robot or monster. A few weeks later, you get your amazing original art in the mail, and a large percentage of your donation goes to a great cause. Everybody wins.
Since it's inception in 2006, Robots and Monsters has raised over $20,000 for such causes as, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Visit Monsters and Robots to help aid victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Earthquake in Haiti

Image by Logan Abassi.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Port Au Prince on January 12th is estimated to leave tens of thousands dead and a fragile city destroyed. Prior to the earthquake, the bustling capital city of Haiti already had chronic infrastructure problems like so many other impoverished nations, but in the wake of this disaster, it is clear just how important robust and well planned modes of infrastructure, means of transportation, access to resources, and physical and digital connections are. Aid workers are working on all fronts to establish not only short and long term medical support, but to provide adequate shelter, food and water, and other basic necessities to the entire population of the city and it's surroundings.

There are many agencies and organizations that are doing their part to help. Text the word 'Haiti' to 90999 and $10 will be donated to The American Red Cross (via The NYT and mGive). U.S. News and World Report has
10 Ways You Can Donate to Haitian Earthquake Victims or research locally for many other options.

See a US state-by-state map of mobile donations via text here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Hidden World of Augmented Reality, Building Facades, and the New Digital Landscape

Tokyo's N Building, a collaboration between Quosmo and Terada Design Architects, has a facade that is imprinted with two-dimensional QR code that can be read by certain mobile phones. When a user focuses their phone (or other enabled device) at the building facade, digital information is virtually layered over a real-time image of the scene. Tweets from within the building (geotagged by GPS location) are visible as if the Tweeter's window just opened. Information and advertising from the retail shops in the building appears and users can browse merchandise, see shop hours, and even download special coupons.
Thinking about cities full of buildings with this technology is the equivalent of putting on a pair of 3D glasses and instantly being transported into the world of Blade Runner (without that constant nagging feeling that Deckard is actually a replicant). Suddenly, the city becomes a landscape layered with not just bricks and mortar, but with ideas, information, and virtual connections. The vast surface area of buildings form a new three-dimensional network liberated from the static desktop. Massive real-time games take place through the city, following signs invisible to the naked eye. Be the first to reach the blinking building - win a prize!

N Building from Alexander Reeder on Vimeo.

Seen on Designboom and Gizmodo.