[Cu-wireless] Fwd: [telecom-cities] Wi-Fi on Two Wheels
tboyle at rosehill.net
Wed May 5 13:32:57 CDT 2004
This is right up your alley!
Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 10:12:42 -0400
To: "Urban Technology & Telecommunications" <telecom-cities at forums.nyu.edu>
From: Shreyas Pandit <shreyas at stealth.net>
Subject: [telecom-cities] Wi-Fi on Two Wheels
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Yury Gitman is not the average cyclist from Brooklyn. His goal is to bring
more easily accessible free wireless hotspots to the masses. To do this, he
has created what he calls the Magicbike, a bicycle equipped with a laptop,
power supply and antenna. Gitman's bike has allowed people in NYC to browse
the internet freely in local parks and gardens. 'I am like the ice cream
man, but with no music and I deliver free wireless access and not ice cream'.
Wi-Fi on Two Wheels
Magicbike delivers wireless Internet connections to New York City.
By Lindsey Arent, Tech Live
Yury Gitman's bike is unlike any two-wheeler you've ever seen. Not because
it's souped up with fancy tires or extra gears. But because it's a
full-fledged wireless Internet hotspot on wheels.
It spreads free access to the Net wherever it rides. Some Web addicts might
call it God's gift. Gitman just calls it the Magicbike.
Tonight on "Tech Live" we show you how it works.
"Wireless technology and bikes really go together," Gitman says. "[It
takes] connectivity to places that don't have it."
The Brooklyn-based wireless artist and educator created the bike when he
decided there wasn't enough wireless Internet access to go around.
This is your brain on wheels
It's a sunny day in Brooklyn and Gitman is preparing his bike for a day at
the park. "Basically I'm giving the bike a computer brain," he says as he
carefully places a rigged laptop into a carrying pouch attached to the
To run the hotspot, all Gitman needs is the laptop, which provides the
access, and the battery supply to power it.
"I'm putting another Wi-Fi adapter on the laptop that's going into the
bike," he says. "I'm also hooking up that laptop to the cellphone network
so I have a choice of which wireless network to connect to."
Gitman also rigs the bike with a couple of industrial-strength antennae,
and he checks on the Net for active hotspots to connect to wherever he
goes. With the antennae, Gitman can receive and amplify existing bandwidth
from other nearby Wi-Fi access points.
"The antennas on the bike allow it to connect to other hotspots far away or
shoot the signal really far," he says.
Everywhere's a hotspot
On the day "Tech Live" caught up with Gitman and his bike, Gitman's mission
was to bring Wi-Fi to a local community garden. There, gardeners can update
their neglected website while they work.
"The gardeners in this garden don't have access to the Internet during the
day at all," Green Acres Community Garden member Amanda Hickman says. "I
can bring the computer out [and] they can look at the site and change the
Another goal for the Magicbike is to help bridge the digital divide that
keeps many communities from enjoying Web and Wi-Fi access. Gitman makes an
important statement about the power of wireless culture along the way.
"We're already putting computers in our cars, and they're factory-fitted
with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters," Gitman says. "I want to see it on bikes
too, and somebody has to do that."
Originally posted May 3, 2004
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