Blog Date: 
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Charlie Cook

If geek Valhalla can involve an inordinate amount of walking and some kosher hot dogs, then today took us there. The legs hurt now, but here is some of the loot:

Carnegie Mellon’s Quality of Life Technology Center: Part of CES’s Silver Summit, this Carnegie Mellon initiative is working on a number of exciting things, one of the more salient ones is Tiramisu, their system to crowdsource bus tracking. The system lets bus travellers record (and share with other travellers) whether a bus is on time, and how full it is. The pilot is running in Pittsburgh, and is showing some good results. The center is also doing some work on facial recognition and object tracking, and are well worth keeping an eye on.

Vitaline: Still part of the Silver Summit, this subscription service ($4.95 a month) provides a simple, high contrast, large font interface for Skype, Picasa, Google news and Email; it also works as a Facebook and Twitter reader. The concept clearly works well for seniors who want to stay in touch, but who are intimidated by the complexity of much of the technology. The company is also considering adding speech to the product, which would broaden its appeal to include seniors who have lost their vision.

Silent Call: Silent Call has been making the Vibracall device for years, letting deaf-blind users know through different vibration patterns that the phone is ringing, or the doorbell, and so forth. The prototype of the new version adds a carbon monoxide alarm, weather, and a sound alert.

Clara Van Gerven