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CyLab MRC’s Narasimhan Grabs More Headlines with Civic-Minded iPhone App

posted by Richard Power
August 21, 2009

CyLab researcher, Priya Narasimhan, Co-Director (with Martin Griss) of the CyLab Mobility Research Center (MRC), has already made a splash in both high-tech and mainstream media, as well as the professional sports world, with her YinzCam project.

Now she has grabbed the headlines and the public imagination once again, with her iBurgh application for the iPhone.

Here are some brief excerpts from a sampling of news stories, followed by links to the full texts:

Pittsburgh has won the "space race" with Boston to adopt the first iPhone application for registering citizen complaints through a mobile phone. An application called iBurgh became available via Apple's iTunes store Saturday that allows residents to snap iPhone photos of nuisances such as potholes and graffiti and send them to the city's 311 complaint system, embedded with Global Positioning System data pinpointing the problem's exact location. The free application, designed by YinzCam Inc. of Squirrel Hill, will forward the reports to city departments for review, just as the city's current 311 complaint phone line does. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8-18-09


"This type of technology that merges social media with democracy is going to boom within the next year. Pittsburgh should be the home of this e-democracy innovation," [Pittsburgh City Council member Bill] Peduto said. "This is the city for me. And we really wanted to have all this kind of information in citizens' hands and to grow it from here and give something back to the city," said Priya Narasimhan, the president of YinzCam and part of the electrical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University. WTAE (ABC), 8-17-09

“It’s fairly easy to do for a city,” said Prof. Priya Narasimhan, Creator of the Application and Director of Carnegie Mellon's Mobility Research Center. The technology is integrated through a global map, which allows the city to see exactly where the problem is, and allows the city to see hot spots where a number of complaints may be coming from. Since the information requires no data entry, it is simply compiled by the city and is easily scanned. The photo submitted with the short description of the issue allows the city to literally see how big of an issue the complaint may be – if it’s a one-foot pothole or a 50-foot pothole. Public CEO, 8-18-09

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