I’ve been using Sleep Cycle of late, which uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to assess when I’m in deep sleep, REM state and so on. It’s pretty interesting, and I’ve vaguely thought that it’s the kind of thing there must be more uses for.
And today I found one.
Imagine if there was a city where people had a mobile app that automatically sent data about potholes in roads to the government, even as you drove through it. And then some of them actually got fixed.
Well, that city does exist. It’s Boston. They’re working with the City of Boston’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, IDEO, a software firm called Connected Bits, InnoCentive and an MIT professor on an app called Street Bump that they hope to make available to the wider world in the future. I can’t wait to see how many cities adopt it.
Street Bump helps residents improve their neighborhood streets. As they drive, the mobile app collects data about the smoothness of the ride; that data provides the City with real-time information it uses to fix problems and plan long term investments.
Residents use Street Bump to record “bumps” which are identified using the device’s accelerometer and located using its GPS. Bumps are uploaded to the server for analysis. Likely road problems are submitted to the City via Open311, so they get fixed (e.g. potholes) or classified as known obstacles (e.g. speed bumps).