Cool Toys Pic of the day – Mobile Stuff (Apps4Africa , DMS ER Wait Times, Grassroots Mapping, NanoNote)

I had another day where I couldn’t decide what to profile, however
this time I noticed a theme. Aha! You get a bunch of loosely related
nifty things.

Apps 4 Africa:

Crowdsourcing development of mobile applications for promoting the
public good in Kenya.

In their words:
“Apps 4 Africa challenges local technologists to develop tools on a
variety of platforms that build on the needs of citizens or on open
data sets relevant to the East Africa region.
The contest runs July 1st- August 31st. Winners will receive a small
bit of fame and fortune — cash, gadgets, chances to improve your
technical skills and the opportunity to hob nob with our judges panel
of tech luminaries and civil society leaders at an awards ceremony in

Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Emergency Room Currrent Wait Times:

It seems so obvious and simple — Emergency Room Wait Times by cell
phone and mobile app. Why don’t all the hospitals do this? Oh, right,
because most of them can’t say they have a 9 minute wait, or even a
half hour wait.

In their words:
“Visit this page in iTunes to get the FREE DMC ER Wait time app on
your iPhone or iTouch,a nd you’ll always have the most current
information on DMC ER wait times at your fingertips, as well as a
specail mapping function to show you how to get to the DMC from any
“You can text “ER” to 42660 to get the current ER wait times by a
quick reply text.”

Grassroots Mapping:

Crowdsourcing again, but mobile this time means by foot, not by phone.
This time they are having real folk wander around the oil spill area
with balloons, kites, and similar low-cost items and report back data
about the severity and spread of the BP Gulf Coast oil spill. They
have tip sheets on how to set up your own aerial photo shoot, even
with a camera phone! The idea is that this may be a model for crisis
response in the future. This all gets piped into spreadsheets, a
backend data collection, and ultimately to a Google Maps overlay.

Balloon Aerial Photography:

In their words:
“We’re not trying to duplicate the satellite imagery or the flyover
data (though we’re helping to coordinate some of the flyovers and
trying to make sure the data is publicly accessible). We believe it’s
possible for citizens to use balloons, kites, and other simple and
inexpensive tools to produce their own documentation of the spill… and
that such imagery will be essential for environmental and legal
reasons in coming years.”

Ben Nanonote:

Today at the A2B3 lunch, I think it was Steve who was passing around a
Nanonote and joking about carrying a portable Linux box in his pocket.
This is such a totally geek thing to do that the table was riveted. He
passed it around, and I actually held it in my hands and cringed at
some of the non-linux commands folks had entered while it was
wandering. I don’t know enough Linux to make good use of it, but I
know enough to want one anyway. The very idea of a $99 code
development box that is about the size of the early iPods is …
seductive in its own way.

In their words:
“The 本 version of NanoNote is an ultra small form factor computing
device. The device sports a 336 MHz processor, 2GB of flash memory,
microSD slot, head phone jack, USB device and 850mAh Li-ion battery.
It boots Linux out of the box and also boots over USB. It’s targeted
squarely at developers who see the promise of open hardware and want
to roll their own end user experience. It’s the perfect companion for
open content; we envision developers turning the device into a music
or video player for Ogg or an offline Wikipedia or MIT OpenCourseWare
appliance. Or you can simply amaze your friends by creating an ultra
small handheld notebook computer. You choose the distribution. The 本
Nanonote is the first in a line of products that will see the addition
of other hardware capabilities. Get your NanoNote and start a
Nanoproject today. Or join one of the existing projects in our
developer community”


One thought on “Cool Toys Pic of the day – Mobile Stuff (Apps4Africa , DMS ER Wait Times, Grassroots Mapping, NanoNote)

  1. Pingback: Cool Toys Pic of the Day – MapMill, Sandy, and more .. « Cool Toys U

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