Crack the Box: Show the world at World Congress Kuala Lumpur

Will Internet connectivity change people, or will people change the Internet?  Will Internet connectivity change devices, or will devices change the Internet?

In the narrow area of devices, Sun stands for changing the rules of change.  By breaking down barriers to open design and open implementation, we hope to put the tools of change in the hands of people to innovate and design according to their own needs and imagination.

We did it in the past with the tools of the Internet: we made the fundamental implementations of Internet protocols open....with TCP/IP, with remote procedure calls turned into Network File System and distributed computing, with Java and distributed mobile computing, with Jini and Juxta for distributed peer-to-peer computing...we have opened the tool box for others to use to build and innovate.

Now we will do the same for mobile devices. 

As we deploy the JavaFX Mobile open source for mobile devices, we hope an open component architecture will bring the $10 self-configurable handset into the networked world. Built anywhere, by anyone.  Crack the box.

Providing an open source stack for a mobile device will crack the box: allow anyone to assemble any components they want into the open mobile device. 


Today, mobile phones are closed; they package capabilities and components chosen by Nokia, or Motorola, or Samsun, or LG, or Sony-Ericcson in consultation with NTT Docomo, or Vodaphone or Sprint or Verizon or Orange or ATT  or MTN or Celtel; the choice of components is made in conversations closed to the rest of the world, and justified by commercial models created seventy years ago in legal frameworks devised by the ITU, the American FCC, and regulatory agencies responding to national governments.

Sun is in the unique position of partnership with all; with carriers world-wide, with equipment manufacturers, with software development groups building Java applications for deployment on the billions of mobile devices emerging, with Microsoft, with Intel, with AMD, with the Java community.

With an open stack of software, we can complement today's designs. 

Today, a mobile device is component-homologous with a laptop: keyboard, display, microphone, speaker, radio link to a network, processor, memory, storage, motion sensor, infra-red link, Bluetooth link, camera, external power link. Just different form factors and capacities.

Tomorrow, open component architectures will allow new components to join our devices, and allow us to pick the ones we want: sensors for light, heat, motion, radiation, position: accelerometers, gyroscopes, radiological counters, molecular and atomic identification devices, multispectral scanners, high-resolution pressure transducers.  And and varied links from one form of energy to another: from light to heat, from motion to music, from position to light.

Today, the small SunSpot board from Sunlabs incorporates arbitrary sensors..and just with the three-axis accelerometers on board, it's trivial to make a "Wii"-equivalent.  Your mobile becomes a motion-sensitive input device. 

Here's a proposal I made last week in Malaysia to the organizers of the upcoming World Conference on Information Technology, WCIT 2008, to be held in Kuala Lumpur starting May 18, 2008.

Begin with the plenary hall--3,000 people assembled from around the world to meet and discuss how to use information technology to change the world.  Be sure they all have a mobile device; they'll need it later.

Immerse the audience in how the world is doing today, by displaying information about the world as powerfully as possible, in as real time as possible, using some of the tools developed in the past twenty years for visualization and immersion. The goal: to increase the specificity and the relevance of information displayed until all participants can feel an empathic link with people around the world.

First, visually and aurally surround the audience as you would in a planetarium: giant screens in front, but extending to the sides and overhead. 

Begin with the surface of the earth as imaged by satellite and aerial camea: Google Earth with 20 centimeter imagery, NASA Whirlwind or Microsoft Globe, combined with the 3-D structural detail for hundreds of cities and towns.

Zoom down on Kuala Lumpur, and fly around the city.  Four years ago a lab in Kuala Lumpur created a remarkable visualization of all of the major buildings of KL, and recreated, from meteorological and hydrological measurements, the 2005 flooding of the Klang Valley; it showed the rising river, the first overflow into the downtown area, and the subsequent flooding of subterranean parking garages, utility mains, and building basements.  Show the KL Convention Center in this visualization.

Energy and water visualization: Show the detailed building plans, then merge into the building system telemetry.  Show the energy usage of the building: the mains; the use by each motor--elevator, pump, escalator, air conditioner, refrigerator; the thermal flux in the main auditorium; the exterior skin heating and cooling; the flow of water; the flow of cool and hot air.  Use the original AutoCad architectural drawings to narrow down to each electrical outlet, each water pump or air fan.

Show the day's use, starting the morning of the conference opening: show the heat load of each participant, including the energy use of each mobile phone, each camera, each recording device, each laptop.

Pull away to an overview of KL, and let the same indicia run, but now for an urban agglomerate of two million people.

Then fly to Chungdu, and do the same for fifteen million; then to Beijing, to the Olympic facilities, and do the same. Then to Kapenguria , in north west Kenya, to a small agricultural village for three thousand and do the same.

And then to Amsterdam (the site of the 2010 WCIT).

Here, change to the Second Life Amsterdam, which is startlingly accurate, and do the same.  Show the telemetry, but now use the walls of the virtual building as display surfaces.

<insert image of SL Amsterdam>

Now, superimpose the Six Million Dots, showing the location of all schools and clinics in the world. [Six Million Dots: Global Monitoring ].  Zoom down on any village school or clinic, show the national patterns.

Then, to a clinic where there has been an outbreak of H5N1.  Show the school and clinic data. 

Then, show Gapminder, first in its original form, as a visualization of national statistics of infant mortality, wealth and wealth distribution, then as a disaggregate visualization, city by city, block by block. 

Then, person by person.

Come back to the stage.  Show the Malaysian potential Olympic badminton champion on stage, hitting a bird back and forth with someone.  Then, clip a SunSpot on the racket, and have him play against the screen with a virtual bird. 

Then, tell everyone to take out their mobile phone.  Have them clip a SunSpot sensor board to the phone, which transforms it into a Wii.  Panasonic has sold thirty each phone can be a Wii controller.  [? Will 3,000 Bluetooth connections work?  Will a Java applet work, using the local mobile cell concentrator?  How quickly, and with what resolution, can data come from one phone over any connection? Can one person in the audience play against the champion, using the screen? ]

Do a recreation of what we did with Loren Carpenter of Pixar, years ago...sum the control movements of 3,000 people to fly a virtual plane, or play badminton, or control some aspect of water and power use in a city or building.  Maybe control the IPV6 lights in the KL Convention Center.


And then, a visualization of the spread of Internet connectivity....a global ping...if something doesn't respond, it's not on the net....a way to bring some accuracy to the exaggerated figures governments are fond of trotting out about access.

 More later about visualizing the net.



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