July 2004, Issue 67
by Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
[formerly Music for New Media Newsletter]
You can find the online version at: http://www.sonaris.info
Seeing with sound
Recommended book: Smart
Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
Kyoyo-Hin Foundation, The Development of Information and Communication
Technology Systems to Include People with a Visual Impairment
20/20: Future Scenarios for the Australian Communications Industry
Conferences & events
Acoustic microscopy advances beyond failure analysis
by Jennifer Ouellette
In acoustic microscopy, the familiar optical lens is replaced by an
acoustic lens, which serves the same function but redirects sound waves
rather than light. A sound wave is sent through a piece of quartz or
glass coated with a thin layer of piezoelectric material that resonates
at a specific frequency—for example, 1 GHz. The bottom of the glass
lens is hollowed into a bowlshape to form an inverted, or concave, lens.
The sound waves are reflected to the edge of the lens, and then they
pass through a film of water on a glass slide, which focuses them for
scanning over a sample’s surface. The waves are then reflected back
up through the lens and piezoelectric crystal, which serve as a detector
and amplifier. The sound waves are recorded electronically and then
translated into an image on a video monitor.
The full article is available at: http://www.aip.org/tip/INPHFA/vol-10/iss-3/p14.pdf
Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
by Howard Rheingold
The title of this book is a mild pun. People are using smart "mobs"
(rhymes with "robes") to become smart "mobs" (rhymes with "robs"),
meaning, sophisticated mobile Internet access is allowing people who
don't know each other to act in concert. In this timely if at times
overenthusiastic survey of wireless communication devices, Rheingold
(The Virtual Community) conveys how cell phones, pagers and PDAs are
shaping modern culture. He interviewed dozens of people around the
world who work and play with these technologies to see how this revolution
is manifesting, and his findings are stirring. The concept has caught
on among young Japanese, where cliques of teenagers hang out together
all day, despite being in different places, by sending and receiving
hundreds of iconic text transmissions on their iMode telephones. And
demonstrators in Seattle and Manila relied on wireless telephones
to coordinate their actions and evade barricades. In major cities,
Rheingold says, techno-hipsters can congregate in "WiFi" areas that
interact with their wireless devices to let them participate in a
virtual social scene. In one amusing example, he tells of upscale
prostitutes who can enter their services and prices into their mobile
phones, allowing customers to discreetly determine if anyone nearby
is selling what they want to buy (a Japanese company, Lovegety, has
already adapted this idea to dating). This study of the potential
of mobile, always on, fast Internet access nicely serves as a travelogue
to the future, showing the possibilities and dangers of communications
Our mission is to promote the development of Kyoyo-Hin products or services
that can be used by as many people as possible including the elderly
and persons with disabilities. At the same time, we enlighten the public
in a constructive manner that such an approach will being great improvements
to the quality of products and services for all of us. We believe this
movement greatly contributes to our quality of the life and to Japan’s
Conduct surveys on the difficulties experienced by persons with disabilities
and the elderly
Basic study on how to address the needs of persons with disabilities
and older persons in designing products and services
Study on the standardization work for Kyoyo-Hin
Monitor and evaluate Kyoyo-Hin
Promote of Kyoyo-Hin through symposiums, exhibitions or publications,
Construct the Kyoyo-Hin database
Train and educate people and society to promote Kyoyo-Hin
Publish information for Kyoyo-Hin
Conduct surveys on related subjects as commissioned from other organizations
The concept of Kyoyo-Hin and Kyoyo services embraces the three concepts
of universal design (providing for
use by all right from the design stage), barrier-
free design (aimed at removal of barriers to use of general
products by the aged and disabled through tactile marking, etc.), and
welfare-type goods and services
for general use that are based on proprietary versions exclusively for
Development of Information and Communication Technology Systems to Include
People with a Visual Impairment
by J M Gill
Increasingly people with a visual impairment need to be able to use
equipment designed for the general public; this includes ticket selling
machines at unmanned railway stations, cash dispensers, and public telephones.
In the foreseeable future, inability to use such systems is likely to
increase the divide between the visually impaired and fully sighted
population; these systems could include next generation mobile phones,
interactive television and electronic purses.
Therefore it is essential that equipment for use by the general public
is designed to be accessible by as many people as is reasonably possible.
With the increasing ageing population, this must include people with
presbyopia as well as people with a combination of different impairments.
Inclusive design is the design of mainstream products and/or services
that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably
possible on a global basis, in a wide variety of situations and to the
greatest extent possible without the need for special adaptation or
specialized design. As yet, this 'inclusive design' message has had
limited practical impact upon the area of information and communication
systems and services.
In the case of cash dispensers, the companies manufacturing the equipment
see their customers as the banks purchasing their equipment. Even though
they may have incorporated inclusive design features in their range
of terminals, it is to no avail if the bank is not interested in offering
it to their customers. Within the bank it may be a technical department
which is responsible for selecting equipment for the bank, but it will
be the local branches who have direct contact with disabled customers
and who may provide a modicum of training in the use of the cash dispenser.
Unfortunately local branch staff are unlikely to be aware of the technological
possibilities for improving the accessibility of the equipment.
At the policy level it may be sufficient to specify that the equipment
and services must be accessible to as many people as is reasonably possible.
However this leaves open many questions including what does 'accessible'
mean? Also what is 'reasonable'? Also it does not cover the often crucial
question as to who pays for any additional costs such as training.
The development of guidelines for inclusive design of systems and services
in the area of information and communication technologies is seriously
hampered by the sparcity of sound scientific data about the needs of
people with disabilities. What data exists is all too often based on
inadequate sample sizes or inappropriate methodology. This is an area
which is perceived to be low on academic content. Industry wants guidelines
to be pan-disability, but this will require greater collaboration between
all the relevant organisations representing the different disability
With new equipment and services which are only in the early stages of
specification, such as third generation mobile communications, it is
difficult to be precise. However if the influencing is left to the stage
when it is clear what features will be incorporated, it is often too
late to get anything significant changed.
Information for product designers may be detailed design guidelines
(eg the maximum height and angle of a display so that it can be read
by a wheelchair user). However this approach is only possible for established
technology for which detailed design guidelines exist. In other cases
it will be necessary to provide generic guidelines backed up by recommendations
on how to test prototypes with a cross-section of potential users. For
telecommunication designers the problems are shortage of time and lack
of an established system for evaluating with disabled users. This is
an area where user organisations could take a more active role in providing
speedy evaluation of prototype systems and services.
Full article at: http://www.tiresias.org/reports/vir.htm
Vision 20/20: Future Scenarios for
the Australian Communications Industry
Implications for Regulation
Vision 20/20 is an ACA foresight project
looking at the future form of communications regulation. Foresight processes
involve high levels of research and consultation – they are not designed
to predict the future, instead they provide an opportunity to look far
enough ahead that current assumptions, practices and technologies are
The Vision 20/20 project team will use various foresight tools to facilitate
the development of a number of plausible scenarios for the communications
industry in 2020. From there, the team will define strategic options
for the future form of regulation. The scenarios will emphasise the
long-term interests of end users in addition to efficiency and international
competitiveness of the Australian communications industry.
The project has four key activities:
(read the strategic environment).
(understand the possibilities you face).
(shape or create the future ‘rules of the game’ to the extent possible
given organisational constraints).
strategically (identify and implement options).
A preliminary report will be released for public consultation in late
July 2004 and presented at an industry forum in August 2004.
: Club of Amsterdam
Media Venture Collective
a grass-roots, 501(c)3, public-benefit venture fund and media democracy
initiated and guided by a super-group in independent media, eco-social
activism, and Silicon Valley technology venture expertise;
focused on leveraging citizen donations into strategic investments that
promote media democracy, as the fulcrum for social change;
a fund of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation, jointly administered by Calvert
Social Investment Foundation.
Our mission is media democracy.
The game rules of today's media environment are both a threat to democracy
and a gale force headwind against any real social change. Changing that
is not only our duty as citizens, but a great business opportunity.
We germinate and fertilize enterprises that
can be to monopoly media what Linux is to Microsoft: open,
participatory, collaboratively-built, democratically accessible public
utilities that work better than media driven solely by the profit motive.
We're here to find and fund mammals that eat dinosaur eggs.
Our means to that end is to exploit
rapidly evolving media and communications technology that:
promote open and egalitarian access to trusted media, and to the mechanisms
reclaim public control over public airwaves;
help quality media and the audiences for it find each other efficiently;
create economic ecosystems that naturally reinforce such connections
Next-Generation Communications Environments: Guiding
Principles for Legacy Replacement
1. Industry Trends
Communications applications have traditionally been standalone and
based on proprietary technologies. Such systems are inflexible, and
are expensive to purchase, maintain, and upgrade. However, all this
Communications Web Services
The industry has realized the value of the Web's modular architecture
and has begun applying this architecture to voice applications. The
emergence of speech markup languages such as VoiceXML and SALT has aided
this process. These languages are used to develop a voice user interface
in the same way that HTML provides a graphical user interface. This
convergence of voice and Web technology is referred as Communications
Disaggregation of the Network
The combination of industry disaggregation (a "horizontal" restructuring
in what has traditionally been a vertical market), proliferation of
IP in emerging and established networks, and industry consolidation
around standards is changing existing paradigms. IP networks are becoming
the preferred vehicle for sending converged voice and data. The result
is a change in the industry model from a few vendors who supplied end-to-end
proprietary networks to many specialized standards driven suppliers
who now provide specific pieces of the network.
New and developing standards are also pushing the industry to restructure
horizontally, making the business case for vendors to move toward modular
architectures. This modular architecture moves vendors away from proprietary
"big iron" systems with proprietary hardware (custom Application-Specific
Integrated Circuits (ASICs), etc.) and software that is not easily upgradeable
nor interoperable, towards open systems founded on modular, interoperable
building blocks that leverage flexibility, choice and a new community
of independent application developers.
Disruptive and emerging technologies introduced over the past few years,
coupled with the most challenging market dynamics in the history of
telecom, have shaken the industry and changed it forever.
The full report is available at:
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Copyright © 1997-2004 Sonaris Consulting, Felix Bopp. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without written
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