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August 15, 2004

Umbrellas in the Net


Spontaneous Wireless Mesh Networks

Gizmodo reports on Bluetooth Umbrella Networks: A team called "Umbrella.net" (no relation to Umbrella Corp, we hope) has developed a prototype system of Bluetooth umbrellas that facilitate "sudden, striking, and unexpected connections between people in public and urban space" by forming ad-hoc mesh networks when unfurled. As each umbrella is opened and added to the network, it lights as it comes online.

reblogged from Smart Mobs; posted by Paul Hartzog. August 13, 2004 at 09:46 AM

And Unstrung adds in Umbrellas in the Mesh:

In other words, create spontaneous wireless mesh networks that form when people put their umbrellas up -- and end when the rain stops.

This kind of mesh technology allows the devices themselves to act as nodes, passing data back and forth in an ad hoc setup, without a fixed connection to the wired Internet -- unlike the majority of commercial mesh products available.

The UMBRELLA.net project itself says:

UMBRELLA.net is a project exploring transitory or ad-hoc networks and their potential for causing sudden, striking, and unexpected connections between people in public and urban space. The project focuses on the theme of "coincidence of need", or how shared, yet disconnected activities can be harnessed into collective experiences. UMBRELLA.net examines how the haphazard and unpredictable patterns of weather and crowd formation can act as an impetus to examine coincidence of need networks. In particular, when umbrellas are opened and closed in public space. The project will attempt to highlight these informal relationships by creating a system of ad-hoc network nodes that can spontaneously form and dissipate based on weather conditions.

Now we finally know what those lighted umbrellas in Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner are.

Posted by jo at August 15, 2004 01:05 PM


I had the pleasure of being there on the day the first tests of umbrella.net were conducted; it felt like playing leap frog with the new kids around the block - but they were still around the block....

Posted by: nathaniel at August 16, 2004 03:51 AM