TEDx Geneva: François Bugnion, Robert Klapisch, Jan-Mathieu Donnier, Frederic Kaplan [en]

François BugnionSolferino: the birth of an idea

Bloodiest battle Europe had witnessed since Waterloo. 9000 wounded transported to the nearest city (population: 5000) after two days. Book published and translated in various languages.

This is the story of how the Red Cross came to be.

Important principles of the Geneva convention: neutrality of hospitals, and wounded will be cared for (regardless of nationality).

Less than 2 years between the publication of the book and the realisation of the convention.

Dunant was able to translate the shock of what he witnessed at Solferino into a book. Gave birth to an actual strategy.

Robert Klapisch — Broadband Internet for Africa: from Research & Education to Social Development

The driving force for the internet is still science. (steph-note: could be argued it’s commerce and porn, imho)

Research and education networks all over the place. The kind of connections the CERN required paved the way for “consumer” connections at 100Mb/s.

Researchers in African universities have less resources than in Europe. Travelling is costly, etc. They need the network.

Lisbon Summit. Africa Connect.

Obstacles: cost of connectivity, lack of infrastructure, enormous distances, legal and regulatory obstacles in some countries…

Until July 2009, there was only one cable connecting West Africa to the rest of the world. 80% of the traffic is by satellite, much more expensive. No competition => very high prices. Consequence? Most universities have less bandwidth than a typical western household, so students have to resort to internet cafés to have access.

In July, SEACOM raised the money to set up a cable from Marseille to Mumbai and South Africa. American CEO, French VP etc, but 80% capital is African. Capacity growth x50 over the next few years.

UbuntuNet groups 10 countries in South and East Africa (surface = China + Europe + India… Africa is huge!)

HDI Human Development Index: what happens when more people have access to the internet?

Cellphones++ in Africa (300 mio), very creative use. Money transfers to make up for the absence of banking infrastructure. E-government (paying taxes, filling forms). Commerce (farmers getting better deals selling crops and advice on best practices). E-medicine, E-learning.

Fighting the scientific divide.

Jan-Mathieu Donnier — 360° imagery systems and applications

(steph-note: couldn’t really take notes as was busy climbing back on the wifi)

Google Street View cars.

360° photos… and videos.

streetview.ch: interface of their dreams (streetview, map, and street list on the same screen). When you go through the streets, it’s video (whereas Google street view is just a collection of images). (globalvision.ch)

Next challenge: produce 2D images from the 3D data.

Frederic Kaplan — Are Gesture-based Interfaces The Future of Human Computer Interaction

Computers to live with, not computers to live inside. Frédéric gets trapped inside his iPhone. What kinds of interfaces could we have which allow us to interact with computers whilst still interacting with the people around us?

QB1: has microphones, fabric skin, camera, etc — interaction at 4-5 meters. Lives in the same space as we do. User-centred system. They mapped what kinds of gestures people made in front of the QB1 => various zones.

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Blue zone: noisy. Red zone: much less noisy. => in the blue zone, you need to make sure the gestures are intentional, whereas in the red zone, you can be much more reactive.

Shows video: the screen follows the user, and there is a representation of yourself on the screen so you can see if you’re “touching” the controls. Pretty cool. You can call it and it will put its focus on you. You can also just show it a card rather than using gestures to give it an order.

Very important: representation of the user. More or less realistic, iconic, etc — they tried lots of things. (steph-note: I’m thinking of Second Life avatars right now…)

You do need feedback about your actions on the machine. Tennis game.

Gesture-based systems can know a lot about you because they share your physical space. They learn. The system can know who is in the room, how many people.

The mouse did not kill the command line. Gestures will not kill the mouse. They open a new kind of relationships with computers. It’s just the beginning.

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