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September 06, 2005

HIVE Networks Workshop + Launch


DIY Kit for Ubiquituous Computing and Free Networking

Alexei Blinov of Raylab and a group of collaborators have set out to create an exciting project, HIVE Networks, which promises to change the perception of ubiquituous or pervasive computing. HIVE combines the virtues of free software, free networks and open hardware to generate a framework for virtually any type of networked media application.

The group of independent programmers, artists and electronics specialists imagine swarms of intelligent network devices which all collaborate, facilitate media applications such as audio and video streaming and create clouds of free bandwidth using ad-hoc networking protocols.

The hardware basis currently is a customized Asus wireless hard drive. The firmware has been replaced with Linux and a cross-compilation tool kit has been developed. What this means is that any sort of application can be made to run on the cheap hardware which costs about 50 Euros a piece. For instance, a responsive environment could be built, using sensors, light, audio and video; or points of information exchange using wlan and bluetooth can be installed spread out in urban areas, because the individual units are cheap and replacable.

Blinov is keen to point out that the Asus boxes currently used are only the first step towards creating a framework for HIVE applications. The development is based on a set of key principles. The hardware has to be as cheap as possible and function according to widely used generic standards. The software has to be completely free and open source. Everything else is left to the creative imagination.

Raylab invites media practitioners to participate in application development for HIVE networks. Now that the basic toolkit has reached a phase of stability with increasing maturity, media practitioners - media activists, community groups, artists - are invited to come up with ideas for applications which Raylab will try to facilitate.

Ideally, in the next phase, this should all be done via a web based interface. The media practitioners do not have to get involved in deep technological development. All they need to do is click a few radio buttons to customize their own application which then will be compiled and installed on the device.

With HIVE Networks the traditional role, the artist who has an idea and gets a technician to develop the technical part, gets reversed. Here, creative technicians point out the future developments and offer a unique platform for artists. With HIVE ubiquituous computing takes on a new meaning. As the black box of technology is cracked open and made accessible, virtually anything is possible.

WORKSHOP: HIVE Networks - Swarms of information generating and processing devices

Friday, 09.09., 14.00 - 18.00

chip shop: application customization

Media practitioners, artists and developers are invited to share their visions of future applications for HIVE networks.

Both presentation and workshop are free. Please register if you want to participate in the workshop via email to: hive[at]kunstlabor.at

Posted by jo at September 6, 2005 11:51 AM