There is a lot of talking on Cloud, distributed, personalised.... and I am part of it in the everyday activities at the EIT ICT Labs where "Cloud" is one of our activity areas.
But our Clouds are made of bits, the Cloud I saw in the news is made, as it should, of water droplets.
It will be presented by Carlo Ratti Associati in Dubai on February 9th as part of the the Museum of Future Government Services that will be hosting the UAE Government Summit.
I have seen in several places the spraying of water droplets to cool people during a hot day. I remember walking in Palm Springs in August under a 40° heat and that was really tough. In the central shopping area there are arches on the sidewalk spraying vapour and that made all the difference. Suddenly the heat disappeared thanks to the evaporation of water droplets on my skin. If you looked from the street (in an air-conditioned car) you saw a sort of misty cloud hanging over the sidewalks.
In Dubai the heat is scorching for several months a year and they spend huge sum for air-conditioning. What Carlo made was to find a solution that provides a comfortable environment to people at a much lower cost than air-conditioning and continuous spraying.
Indeed a solution like the one I saw in Palm Springs requires quite a bit of water to ensure continuous spraying. Water is scarce in Dubai (sweet water...) and any ways that could save it is welcome.
Here comes the invention installed at the Museum: a tracking systems monitors the position of visitors and make sure that each one gets her personal cloud of mist. This saves quite a bit of water and, potentially, although it has not be implemented as far as I can tell from the news, one could imagine that each person can customise her cloud, more or less misty... That would make for quite a sight! You see people roaming each one with a cloud of different density.
A tag on a person (his cellphone probably) can tell the spraying system what's his liking, be it in the Museum or on the sidewalks. The canopy under which the spraying nozzles are situated track the position of a person by using ultrasound waves and measuring the reflection time. A sophisticated software calculate the 3D positioning of the person head and direct the nozzles accordingly.
I love to see this "blending" of atoms and bits. Molecules of water being harvested by my cellphone!