News tagged "Commotion"

October 5, 2015 / Libby Cole

Resilient Communities brings wireless networks to Sandy-affected neighborhoods

In 2012 and 2013, we worked with New America to design toolkits for communities to create their own mesh networks.

December 31, 2013 / Nina Bianchi and Greta Byrum

Distributed design: Commotion Construction Kit

Urban planners and designers generally don’t give much thought to communications infrastructure—it’s difficult to understand and outside of our core expertise. But as technology becomes increasingly essential to community health and development, urbanism professionals have an opportunity to experiment with a powerful new medium, and to interact with communities in new and more participatory ways.

November 18, 2013 / Nina Bianchi

Commotion Construction Kit launch

Since 2010, we've worked with OTI, in collaboration with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, to build the Commotion Construction Kit (CCK). This project is a set of essential educational tools to show people how to plan, design, install and configure community wireless networks. Designed to be a living platform, the CCK is modular and open, utilizing a simple and accessible visual language. Through this approach, users are able to mix, remix and easily generate new materials that contribute to the kit. Our utilitarian approach to design also paves the way for multilingual translations. The CCK has been recently used to build community networks locally, nationally and internationally in Detroit and Brooklyn to India and Tunisia.

February 21, 2013 / Benjamin Chodoroff

Scaling Up: An overview of large mesh networks

Wireless mesh networks are being used in a variety of ways around the world and each implementation offers an opportunity for us to learn. There are networks large and small that meet a variety of needs, from sharing Internet access to transmitting sensor data to serving as a neighborhood intranet. With the recent focus on resilient networking technology, a common question we get is, “How well do wireless mesh networks scale?” To answer this question, we’d like to offer an overview of community wireless mesh networks that have been particularly successful, with a focus on those that have scaled to large sizes.

January 21, 2013 / James McMullen

Improving Commotion's source code documentation

Commotion is the result of an ongoing collaboration of many people, some working closely together, some working remotely and alone. Because it's an open-source project, everyone has an opportunity to contribute. This is fortunate because the software needs to function in lots of different environments and on many different devices. In this post, we share new standards for documenting Commotion's source code so that more people can effectively participate in developing the software.

December 20, 2012 / Michael Gregor

Telling the Commotion story

We recently launched two new pages that help explain how to interact with the project on a fundamental level. We’ve completed new infographics that describe how to Get Started and Get Involved with the project and the content is currently being developed by the Commotion team. Our intention was to offer simple text along with explanatory graphics that would demystify the process.

September 13, 2012 / Benjamin Chodoroff

Exploring "meshaging"

Over the past few years, The Work Department has been active in building community wireless networks in Detroit. We have experimented with different types of hardware and software, and we have helped neighborhoods build useful networks to share internet connectivity and provide local file sharing. Something we haven’t had much of an opportunity to explore, though, is building more elaborate systems that leverage the unique traits of mesh networks.

June 21, 2012 / Libby Cole

I'm dreaming of a beautiful user interface

We recently had the opportunity to design prototypes for Commotion, which is a software project that helps people create community wireless networks. We referred to this complicated but exciting project as "the Dream UI," since it was an opportunity to include all of the design ideas we had been dreaming of including. We had already created a brand for the project, so our goal was to combine that with a simple, streamlined process to setup (or join) a wireless mesh network. Our secondary goal was to include an integrated, educational component for first-time users to become more accustomed to the vernacular and process but not alienate advanced users at the same time. Here's an excerpt from our report about the dream UI we created for Commotion.

May 28, 2012 / Nina Bianchi and Libby Cole

Integrating design and development to shape Commotion’s brand identity

At The Work Department, we’ve had the privilege of creating Commotion’s brand identity from conception to completion. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Commotion is an open, yet secure, circumvention tool to create decentralized mesh networks. We are collaboratively developing the tool with The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative. Our challenge was clear: to create an accessible and flexible visual identity for this evolving open source software project. Our early approach was very open – we began with a discovery phase in which we surveyed the Open Technology Initiative (OTI), The Guardian Project, The Serval Project and a few other members of the mesh development community to understand their views on the software. We quickly found a wide range of opinions about aesthetic preferences and public communication strategies for Commotion. We analyzed input from about 15 people and shared the material with OTI to get additional feedback.

May 8, 2012 / Michael Gregor

Building neighborhood networks

As part of our research for the Commotion Human Interface Guidelines, we interviewed four people who have been involved in building community wireless networks around Detroit. Based on these interviews and our experience working with various users, we recommend that Commotion developers and organizers implement the following concepts: