By the year 2020, when we’re all using ubiquitous organic touchscreens, augmented reality social networks, and ultra-powerful computers to communicate, will we still be using the mail? A group of technology evangelists and postal advocates will gather this summer to talk about that, and what the U.S. Postal Service can do to make sure the answer is yes.
In an effort to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce costs, Finland has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, in advance or in lieu of physical delivery. So far, the effort is volunteer-only, but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach.
If you live in a big city, you probably know how dangerous bike messengers can be, suicidally zipping in and out of traffic at high speeds and smacking pedestrians in the head with their bike locks. But in a crowded city, if you want a package delivered as soon as possible, they tend to be the quickest option.
If designer Phillip Hermes has his way, though, your packages might be delivered by scurrying underground robots instead. Via the sewer.
A paper-thin GPS unit that could help the postal service put an end to mail delays
By Gregory Mone
Posted 01.31.2008 at 4:22 pm 5 Comments
Even snail mail is getting a tech upgrade. This month TrackingtheWorld, a California-based GPS developer, expects to begin mass-producing Letter Loggers—small GPS-equipped envelope inserts that could help the U.S. Postal Service spot bottlenecks in the system. The insert is durable enough to shoot through sorting machines without crushing the circuits. A high-gain antenna pulls info from a satellite every few minutes and records the letters location to a memory card (to prevent interference with other devices, it wont transmit data in real time).
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.