Last Saturday, I went to Taipei Fine Arts Museum for PORTA2030 which is presenting by TAKE2030 at the Taipei Biennale 2006. The Taipie Biennale 2006 is from 2006/11/04 to 2007/02/25.

(If you can not read the PORTA2030 web pages, change the browser character encoding setting into UTF-16 little endian.)

Under the theme “Dirty Yoga” of TB2006, PORTA2030 conveys its dirty desire for self-sustainable, self-operating, open and free network to be owned by each and every member of the public by year 2030. PORTA2030 proposes an interactive project with Taipei’s open source society, fashion designers and the general public. In an “After the Net crash” scenario, we imagine that by the year 2030, our mobiles will be locked, our network blocked and our roaming barred. The DIY porta-pack which contains a modified wifi network system, a webcam, a communicative device would be the much sought after networked tool by year 2030.

The basic concept of PORTA2030 is the public communication system is crashed at year 2030, and none of mobile phone, Internet is working. The porta-porters will carry a so-called porta-pack for collecting information and make contact with the others. It’s an experiment project for performative urgency network exercise with porta-porters.

Porta Pack
Source: Porta2030

PORTA2030 deploys porta-pack, a mobile network unit that builds on a wifi harddrive (WL-HDD2.5) for multi-faceted transmission. Installed with a 1GB flashcard and programmed in open source codes, the porta-pack functions as a portable data sensing-storage-tranmission unit. A webcam streams images live while an LCD mini-terminal with 4 click action push buttons serves as basic communicative device. The urgency signals triggered by the sensors set in public space further commands porta-porters’ collective action.

The porta-pack is designed by vexed generation, and the network system is developed by London-based Hivenetworks based on open source project OpenWRT. The hardware is based on ASUS WL-HDD 2.5 which is a 802.11b/g wireless router with a 2.5″ DMA 100 IDE bus and one USB 1.1 port. They designed a system which provides webcam streaming at London.

There are some friends in open source community join the project. And Ping create a new mailing list for the project. You can join the discussion or visit us every Saturday 14:00-17:00.

At 2030, I think the people will use radio frequency in different ways. Maybe there won’t be an government-imposed limits on bands of spectrum, since a collection of new technologies are using radio frequency spectrum intelligently. People can be free to use spectrum to communication with others by single RF front end interface controlled by different softwares. However, there is a project named GNU Radio for signal processing. But the RF hardware is still very expensive. I guess it’s better (and cheaper) to have experiment on exist old products.

I got a brand new ASUS WL-HDD 2.5 (sponsored by ASUS) last week, you can see the pictures I took below. I don’t have a CF card yet. DigiTimes hava a great report explain every details on this product. It’s a MIPS32 based box, using BCM4702KPB processor. The PORTA network system uses OLSR to connect wireless mesh networks. However, each node has a fixed IP address which makes the system is not easy to add new node into. It coule be fun if we can find a new way for setup new nodes in this hacking project. 😉

Box of ASUS WL-HDD 2.5Side of ASUS WL-HDD 2.5Inside of ASUS WL-HDD 2.5Inside of ASUS WL-HDD 2.5