Pattern Recognition: Latest Trends (July 08)

Pattern Recognition: Latest Trends (July 08)
Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 4 august 2008

On analysis of the 305 articles we published on in July 2008, we noticed three prevalent themes. The theme with the largest number of reference points interestingly enough revolved around data and information – the gathering, sorting and use of it. We also saw a number of stories about urban play and the greening of cities. Here is a summary of the patterns we found in our July 08 content, with links to stories that make up those patterns:

1. Data, Data Everywhere…

1.1 Data Gathering
We featured several examples of new ways of gathering data. We looked at the developing omnipresence of Location Aware Technology and Robots who know how you feel just by looking at you. There were handshakes that exchanged personal data; clothing patches with codes your camera phone could read; and passwords remembered through the use of physical objects found on your desk.

Articles also touched upon the theme of crowdsourcing: the UK government is offering a prize to folks who help them find new ideas and Arianna Huffington told us how important Citizen Journalists are.

1.2 Data Sorting & Representation
With all this information around us, we noted a number of tools that are helping us make sense of it by sorting and representing it in a way we understand: Martin Wrzywinski from Vancouver’s Genome Sciences Center created Circos to plot genetic data on a simple to read graph; IBM created a system called Pensieve which aims to blend image processing, GPS information, smart clustering, optical character recognition, speech recognition, and information retrieval to index and tag your life’s personal experience; and we found a concept that used umbrellas to signal user-information to others.

We also featured several mapping projects. Some explored geography – BioMapping related our stress to our locations; the Tour De France system let us know who was in the lead and who was steroid free; and the Harvard Medical School created Healthmap to alert us of outbreaks of disease and, maybe one day, the plague. Other projects explored the web – the Presidential Watch 08 offers a real-time, dynamically changing visual map featuring input from 533 different websites.

1.3 Data Use
And what will we do with all this data? Artists are already exploring directions. Carolina Cisneros and her gand built QR Code Fences and Daniel A Becker drew bar-codes as trees. In terms of city planning, while Alain De Botton complained about problem cities, Fabien Girardin from MIT SENSEable City Lab suggested that local authorities could use the data that’s being gathered to make their city react in real time to the demands of the users.

2. City As Playground

The second major theme we noticed in the posts was the idea of the city as a playground. Even through there seems to be a couple of stories against this theme (the lack of citywide WiFi and the return of rec-rooms for teenagers), we saw a lot of examples of the city being used for fun. Carmody Groarke Architects created Sky Walk – a series of elevated ramps that take visitors on a meandering journey exposing them to new views of the architectural details on the surrounding historic buildings; ECDM made a French building where you couldn’t tell where the street ended and the walls started (maybe it’s lucky that the young can’t afford to cruise anymore on a Saturday night); St James Park saw an outdoor office built on its grass; Rockwell Group created a fantastic children’s playground; and parking spaces were turned to leisure places.

3. It’s Green Outside

The eco-movement seemed to be enjoying the fine weather by concentrating their activities outside. We noticed a huge tree planting project in the UK; looked at how we’d create an edible city; read about plans to green the urban area around Hollywood; and watched as China’s Kunming city experimented with having a no-car day.

Brands With Positive Stories In July 08

Fred Segal

Brands With Negative Stories In July 08
Trader Joe’s

Next Month?

Next month we’ll keep an eye on the intersection of DIY culture and collaborations – July saw interesting projects from Timbuk 2 & Threadless and Someecards & Busted Tees – so it will be interesting to see if there will be more examples in August.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Alongside our publishing and events businesses, PSFK’s team helps companies gather & interpret trends information and create innovative product and service solutions based upon that interpretation. We work worldwide. Contact us for more information:

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