SugarTrip: Mobile Collective Intelligence

Its funny: the other day, I was driving my new car with its fancy traffic-aware nav system and thinking: man, this traffic system is lame. I wish that there was a way I could get real information from other drivers in real-time and use it to plan my route. Then I started thinking about cellphones with GPS (like my iPhone 3G) and how they could be used to send such information to a centralized service. Much more efficient than putting traffic monitoring devices on every road.

Today I read that someone has actually built such an application, SugarTrip, that runs on google’s Android phones (and others, I hope).

SugarTrip is a great example of a collective intelligence network. Google is probably the best at applying collective intelligence to solving problems – using the web browser as their input device. But mobile, connected devices may very well be the ultimate input device for such networks – pretty much everyone has one, they have web access just like a browser, they have GPS, they have cameras, and so forth. I see a ton of potential for such networks – geolocation provides a host of possibilities that many people are already exploring. Now SugarTrip is looking at applying the velocity data that comes from GPS systems as well. What if phones could provide other information – like temperature/humidity, or heart rate, or blood sugar?

~ by Andrew Shebanow on 21Oct08.

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