Next-Gen Network Funding

Can crowd funding help build the next generation of mobile networks? Maybe so. Outside of government and industry influence, organizations are seeking funds to develop networks in less expensive, innovative ways. The Serval Project, for example, is using Indiegogo to collect $300,000 for open source software that will directly share messages and files between devices. And the nonprofit organization Ushahidi raised $172,000 to move its “backup generator for the Internet” from prototype to a field-ready device. Known as the BRCK, the device can run on batteries and switches between Ethernet, Wi-Fi and cellphone networks to provide consistent Internet access even during times of disaster. Source: GigaOM

Smart Unbuilding

Building-related construction and demolition produces approximately 160 million tons of debris each year in the U.S, with the Environmental Protection Agency estimating that only 20 to 30 percent of the debris is recycled. That percentage could increase significantly through the use of the ERO Concrete Recycling Robot, a conceptual machine that would erase buildings. The idea behind ERO is to use high-pressure water to separate materials from cement, sending aggregate to be cleaned and reused to make new concrete and cleaning rebar for use by another project. Developed by Omer Haciomeroglu at Sweden’s Umea Institute of Design, the robot would even recycle the water used for demolition and cleaning, providing a greener approach to destruction. Source: Industrial Designers Society of America

Hacking for Safety

Imagine driving down the highway 80 mph when your car suddenly brakes and you are no longer in control of the steering wheel. As cars become smarter and more connected, there are growing fears that hackers could break into these onboard systems and cause all sorts of mayhem. “White hat” hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek examined the issue, conducting federally funded research to determine the security vulnerabilities of the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. The hackers plan to release a 100-page paper outlining their findings — but they won’t divulge information needed to conduct real-world attacks. They say their goal is to encourage other white hats to notify automakers about potential security flaws. Source: Reuters

Goodbye, Cords!

Your next desk could be a wireless charging station. DuPont Building Innovations worked with the Power Matters Alliance to embed wireless charging tech into its Corian solid surfaces line — a move toward creating functional furnishings. While the company is starting with kitchen counters, the goal is to embed the technology in larger-scale projects, everything from desks at schools and workplaces to public structures, which could one day eliminate the hunt for outlets. Source: DuPont

Noelle Knell, Assistant Web Editor Noelle Knell  |  Managing Editor

Government Technology managing editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of marketing and communications experience, writing about public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she graduated from the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and @GovTechNoelle on Twitter.