ME and Ophelia

Saturday, May 29, 2004

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The Magicbike

One US company offers internet kits on scooters to developing world. In the 1980s a Washington resident created a connected bike based on office networks. Copenhagen taxi-bikes offer net access.

Yury Gitman is a wireless and emerging-media artist. For his latest project he's turned to cycle power to create the wireless bike. The wireless bike, or Magicbike as he prefers to call it, is not just a trendy alternative to the wi-fi cafe or office. It may look like a simple bicycle but it hides a wireless hub. It has wi-fi antennas which mounted on the bike's frame and feed into a laptop hidden in the saddle-bag. The connection is received either from the cellular network or from nearby hotspots.

In a wired city such as New York, he envisages it being used at art and cultural events, public demonstrations and for emergency access. In communities at the fringe of internet connectivity it could become a more permanent lifeline. It can fulfil an important function in bringing internet connectivity to areas ignored by the traditional telecommunications industry. "A grassroots bottom-up wireless infrastructure can be formed and pedalled to any place accessible by bicycle," said Mr Gitman.

He receives hundreds of e-mails to his Magicbike website from people interested in setting up similar ideas - and is considering setting up a community based website for wireless bikes as they spring up in other cities and countries. The closest he thinks the idea has come to being commercially available is a similar idea used on bike taxis in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 5/29/2004
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