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Peep into 2050

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Kaspersky Lab’s multimedia project, Earth 2050, has now been updated to include visionary panoramas of Dubai, New York City and Moscow, and provides a futuristic image of what the world will look like in over 30 years’ time.

Initially driven by content from researchers, this next stage of the project is inviting anyone to share their vision of the future, and has launched simple upload and sharing functions on its website to help. Due to its popularity, in the past nine months, the project has received 1m page views.

Several new panoramas are now available for users – allowing them to look at what futurologists think Moscow and Dubai might look like in 10, 20 and 30 years from now. There is also a new panorama for New York.

The project also now includes a feature that allows users to rate futurologist predictions on the site, and help others understand which predictions might be more realistic than others. Single predictions, panoramas, graphical works or author profiles can now be shared through social channels to make it easier for users to exchange ideas with each other.

“We are trying to get a better understanding of what users actually think is a positive and realistic vision of the future. With these new changes to the project, we are encouraging much more feedback than before, and in recent months we’ve seen that people are really interested in sharing their visions and opinions”, said Vladislav Biryukov, Head of Consumer Social Media at Kaspersky Lab.

When visiting the 2050.earth website, users will also be able to see tags showing predictions of interest. This will make the search process easier and smoother. All graphical works are also collected on a special subpage entitled Art. So, the more you vote, the more information is available to you and other users. Together, this will make the vision of the Earth of the future even more interesting!

The Earth 2050 project has also been awarded the Red Dot Best of the Best award. “We are proud that this project has not only got the attention of futurologists, but also the design community. We always believed that the future is much easier to understand through images than text, so we’ve opted for a visually ambitious design concept – and it is very rewarding to see that the community endorses this approach”, continues Vladislav Biryukov. “The site is designed to make people think about what the future might be like and what we can do today to make it better. Of course, we realise that predicting a long way ahead is hard – like forecasting the weather one year ahead. Still, we hope that looking to the future might help us to avoid some of the potential global challenges we face.”

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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