How two kinds of social media experts might take on very different roles along the digital trails of tomorrow
By Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org – Technology
On the hiking trails social media is booming, and in a time when everybody becomes social media experts or at least users, it seems that calling someone an expert is not exact enough any more, instead we need to differ between different kinds of social media experts. And sketching up ideas for that I stumbled across the classic difference between being a magician and a Wizard
The intelligence of your phone is beyond what you hold in your hand, your phone is just the surface of something much larger, and closer to you – Get ready to meet your digital twin… Your twin who is a smarter than you, faster, more connected and know you better, version of yourself
Going fishing together – Strolling along a river, laughing, enjoying walking for that special place, where the fish often can be caught. Teaching your kid about the places along the stream, that you learned from your dad, walking right behind you, even though he moved on and became one with how the eddies show where the fish hide, how once a huge tree blocked the flow, how beavers and otters slip out of sight… and into the slow flow of water and time – all this our smartphones, apps and digital social networks can’t grasp…
Solar power and solar technology is now both cheaper, more advanced and easier to install and use to store energy than the old, extremely polluting and cumbersome coal and oil energy sources. With good reason a lot of countries are speeding up to switch to solar, but also wind and other alternative sources. Some countries are unfortunately going in the other direction…
The tragedy is that this scared run for yesterday, risk to destroy the future for everybody, to favor a few, that are too conservative to make the necessary changes. Fortunately it look like in most of the world, new solar harvesting structures are being build on a scale never seen before, energy structures that can soon support and nurture both new technologies, locals, food and thrive
Hikers and hiking is here on pushing the edge, new solar technologies, ultra-light and effective panels, batteries and less power hungry flashlights, phones and other technologies are tested to their most extreme by hikers on the trails, and what works for hiking – will very likely work everywhere… to the benefit of everybody
We need to learn from industrial mistakes, and instead use nature know-how + new technology to design our paths to a better future
Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
Innovation is often about standing on the shoulders of what came before, to look further, as the science legend Issac Newton explained after he came up with a theory about why apples fall to the ground ( The force of gravity ) Here are three ways we can stand on the shoulders of existing ideas and technologies, to find new trails ahead:
#1 Climb the long dirty chimney of industrial production to face the problems and look further
Industrial production can teach us a lot, not least about what not to do, we should take a long deep look into that +200 year long chimney, and then take a look around and face the consequences of it. From the wasted lives, that went into producing all these products, to the exploited landscapes, the now dead zone lost ecosystems, the oil covered birds, the lifeless suburbs, and the stressed out fast-food shacks along the highways, that chain-strings our communities.
#2 Learn from nature to, to create smarter modular solutions
Nature use only a few time tested, sustainable and refined techniques, and modular designs, using natural materials, that can be reused again and again to create a lot of different landscapes, life forms and experiences.
Designers and architects are starting to learn from this way of creating, making more sustainable “Lego like” plug in, structures, that can be repaired, maintained and reused in better ways and with less waste.
3# Make use of big data to get a better overview of the complex challenges
There is an gigantic and fast growing amount of digital data and information available today, that make it possible for us to better understand and visualize flows, energies, zones and solutions, and to test the strengths and consequences of new designs and ideas, before we put them into reality. We can use this technology and new digital tools to create better trails, less roads, more nature, wild food experiences, support ecosystems and optimize the frame around hiking, thrive and living in new and better ways.
Nature can work as a brilliant water cleaning system
Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
In the last ten years there has been a new trend, using nature as a purification system, cleaning polluted sewage, run of from streets and roads – even a new kind of natural swimming pools are using nature’s own purification systems. It’s not 100% clean, as when filling water with chlorine and other poisons. But using natural organic life-based cleaning techniques is a lot more in balance with nature, and it won’t destroy life and might even one day bring us forward, to a place where we can drink and swim in the water from our natural sources again, without needing to poison it first.
The backpacks we use today are (almost) identical to the ones yesterday, just slightly better. Suitcases have in the same time gone through a revolution… Nobody carry those any more, the suitcase has evolved wheels, so now everybody push their suitcase instead. Could we see terrain going wheeled backpacks soon? Making the same innovation leap, and could it be that we don’t even have to push them the day after tomorrow?
Walking with a dog is great, so great that a few tech companies have started to make digital dogs, that you don’t have to come home to, but can still take for a walk. These digital “dogs” might even show you new trails and get you safe home before the rain.
Combining this technology into something that can carry your luggage too won’t be a huge step, and sure someone will think about doing that soon.
Just sketched up a couple of drawing of how I imagine those things might look…
Of course there could be unseen challenges in this, like you being delayed because your backpack got into a fight with a local lawn-mover robot…
The cameras, robots, drones and self walking machines are getting smarter and smarter and technology companies have started to use hikers to bring the technology to the trails to bring the hiking trails into virtual reality
Free CreativeCommons Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
Walking can help to reconnect us, both to each other, to our bodies and to the landscapes. You just have to get up and take the first step, and then the next. Your head will then realize it is connected to much more than the screen-based, digital reality, where it spends most of its time, and will return home.
Hiking seen with focus on design is about simplicity and about understanding how brilliant nature really is.
Inspiration from walking in nature can be used in design, architecture and a lot of other areas of innovation and creativity…
Take trees as an example, they are genius, self-sustainable, adaptable, solar powered water pumps, that grows out of a tiny seed, in ways that has been continuously refined for hundred of millions of years…
CreativeCommons drawing, free to download and use 🙂
Virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses are finding new trails
Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
Hiking is not what it used to be, new gadgets, apps and innovations appear almost every day. Gadgets that in one way or another promise to connect or enhance hiking into a digital frame, even while we are out on the trails
One of the latest big new things you can buy for hiking, is what look like a kind of scuba-masks , where you can mount your smartphone in or stand alone systems that work in similar ways. These new digital reality gadgets can work in several ways when used for hiking here are two of the most discussed today:
Preparing for the hike by watching 360 degrees movies of the trail
The way to use virtual reality headsets most close to become reality today, is when hikers use the VR headsets to watch 360 degrees movies of the trails they are planning to take, to get familiar with the landmarks, resources, huts and difficult parts – before they even put on their boots.
Being guided by VR headsets out on the trails
The other way is to use the VR headsets ON the trails, and – like fighter plane pilots, get extra information about the trail in front of you, upcoming weather, emails and snap-chat messages as a layer of information and images, in front of your eyes.
How soon will this happen?
Not sure if this is something I look forward to meet out on the trails, but very soon ( 1-5 years ) we will be very likely to see the first hikers wearing these new gadgets when hiking, turning their heads as they stare into screens and navigate the landscapes. And you could be as likely to meet them either at home, in a train, on a flight – or out in the terrain.
Actually by now ( summer 2016) more than a million people are already active and regular users of just one of these new VR systems ( the Samsung – Oculus system ) check it out here:
Our trails and paths disappear if nobody use them, just like stories nobody tell anymore, the trails will slowly be removed by the wind if nobody relate to them. It’s the same with ideas, they need to be used, worn and in constant contact with people, they need to be refined and developed out in the open, and just like trails, this is much more likely to happen, if the ideas are set free…
Free CreativeCommons drawing of the day by Frits Ahlefeldt
Hiking light often comes easy as you start walking
Text and CreativeCommons drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
One of the most used advices to new hikers is to travel light, to go for paper thin-titanium gadgets and other ultra expensive gear.
But instead of spending a fortune on things you might never need, it is better just to start out with whatever hiking-gear you have, take a few short 3-5 days hiking trips and learn as you walk and meet other hikers, before deciding on the gear you want to invest in and take along on any longer hike. After a few weeks on the trails you will know much better exactly what you need and what you don’t need
Ideas for getting out in nature and come along hiking for people who need to use a wheelchair
Research sketches by Frits Ahlefeldt, part of the Hiking.org Wheel-hiking research project
Hiking can sprout innovation in many ways, one of them is to find new ways to keep getting out in the landscapes and nature using innovative kinds of wheelchairs.
There are many types of terrain going wheel chairs, both electrical and non-electrical and here are research drawings of a few of those wheelchair types that could be interesting to look at when heading out on hiking trails:
Hiking is in many ways sparking innovation, the above concepts for trail going wheelchairs is just one example, and there are many back-country trails where these wheelchairs would work fine, also this is a new way of using wheels out on the trails. On some sensitive soils it will not be a good idea, but on many park, forest and low-land trails, and on coastal trails these new wheel-based hiking vehicles can make hiking experiences much more accessible to people who need some assistance to follow the trails.
Research drawings and text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org