behzadis

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Award-winning Bridge connecting Iranians

This award bridge is called Pol-e-Tabiat or Nature Bridge. This bridge is designed by Alireza Behzadi, who is a collaborator in Araghian and had the idea of making a bridge a place for people to hang out rather than crossing over. This pedestrian bridge was opened in late 2014 and it is the third symbol of Tehran, already winning three awards in Iran. 

In 2015, this bridge has won another award of 2015 A Popular Choice prize in highways and bridges category from a New York-based architectural organisation, Architizer. 

“Usually, bridges are designed in a straight line. And that straight line will produce a one point perspective that will tell you to just go. But we want to keep people on the bridge,” said Araghian. 

Pol-e-Tebiat connects 2 parks in the northern district of Iran’s capital, reflecting her aspirations about Iranian architecture. The bridge includes a level for cafes, another level for walking, running and biking and another one for viewing the highway. 

(source) 

Up Close With PopSlate, The “Second Screen” For Your iPhone 6

The wide open space on the back of a smartphone may be the most overlooked area in mobile technology today. But that’s starting to change, as accessory makers catch on to the primo real estate back there.

Now, PopSlate has joined the fray. Tuesday, the startup gave iPhone 6 users a way to make their pricey Apple handset resemble a YotaPhone, a curious Android device from Russia with a built-in rear display. PopSlate offers the same proposition, except as a Bluetooth-enabled case with a secondary e-ink screen.

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Up Close With PopSlate, The “Second Screen” For Your iPhone 6

The wide open space on the back of a smartphone may be the most overlooked area in mobile technology today. But that’s starting to change, as accessory makers catch on to the primo real estate back there.

Now, PopSlate has joined the fray. Tuesday, the startup gave iPhone 6 users a way to make their pricey Apple handset resemble a YotaPhone, a curious Android device from Russia with a built-in rear display. PopSlate offers the same proposition, except as a Bluetooth-enabled case with a secondary e-ink screen.

“They’re helping to validate the second-screen space,” PopSlate founder and CEO Yashar Behzadi said of YotaPhone. Behzadi doesn’t see the companies in competition; in fact, he said they’re friends. “We have a different take on it that’s a little more ubiquitous,” he says. “Every single aspect of their phone has to be better than an iPhone. [But] we want to extend that, not replace it.”

PopSlate sells for $129. That would be a ridiculous price if it were just a phone case, but it’s more than that. Think of it more like a wearable gadget, but for your phone—one that passed Apple’s Made For iPhone testing and comes with its own Bluetooth wireless radio, display and battery.

See also: Mastering Apple’s Gigantic iPhone 6 Plus With Puny Hands

Sounds great, at least on e-paper. I checked out the device, to find out if it’s worth the cost and how well it earns the increasingly valuable space on our phones’ backsides.

Pop And Lock

The back of my own iPhone 6 Plus is already a busy place. It bears a removable iRing attachment and an iQi wireless charging receiver. The latter slips between my clear case and the device, letting me charge the phone on Qi wireless charging pads. I’m running out of room to put new things.

As it turns out, the PopSlate review unit won’t fit my device anyway. For now, it’s strictly an iPhone 6 affair.

I’ve been using a PopSlate (on a loaner phone) for a little more than a week now, and its charms are growing on me. That says something, considering the plastic casing—available in white or black—looks pretty mediocre. It’s also chunky, at a little more than half an inch in total thickness. Of course, the slide-in case does pack a 240 mAh battery and a secondary screen. Users of Otterbox cases are most likely to feel at home here.

PopSlate gets its name from its primary feature: Using its mobile app, users can “pop”—read, send—black and white photos and illustrations from the phone to the back panel via Bluetooth. The unit remembers a small collection of recent pops, so users can just hit the hardware button on the side to rotate between images. The PopSlate display isn’t a touchscreen, so you don’t have to handle it gingerly, either.

From the app, you can take a photo, do some limited basic photo editing, pull pics in from your Instagram account or camera roll, or follow other PopSlate users. 

I particularly like the social features, since other testers and company insiders had some really stunning two-tone “art” and other graphics. Overall, it’s easy to see how the product may appeal to art and design fanatics. They can shoot, share or download pics, making for an easy way to adorn their devices with a changing parade of “pops.” Others can simply show off images of their loved ones or pets.

Don’t expect high resolution, though. The black and white, 4-inch screen can only display 16 shades of gray at 240-by-400 resolution. While that made for a more “artistic” aesthetic in some cases, other times, the images looked noticeably degraded.

That matters less when using the rear slate as a holding tank for things like mobile boarding passes, digital movie tickets, street maps, daily agendas, grocery items, to-do lists or other critical information. Users can transmit anything from the front screen to the e-ink back display, whether through pics or screenshots, and the screen stays on even when the battery on the phone or PopSlate dies. Speaking of power, the e-ink display stretched out the small battery capacity, giving me about a week of use, as promised. 

In general, I like the basic concept more than I imagined. But I’m not sure it trumps the pedestrian looks of the physical case itself or its limited integrations. At this point, to take on yet another gadget that requires charging (even weekly), I have to love it or find it absolutely essential. 

Neither is true with PopSlate. If it gets a little thinner, amps up its looks and brings down the price, I might find it easier to make that argument.

Software development might help. At the moment, PopSlate only works with a limited number of other apps and services. According to the CEO, the company has big plans to broaden the popping action.

Screens Ahoy

Although not perfect, PopSlate does look like a clever way to solve problems, from photo app and info overload to limited battery life, using the iPhone’s oft-overlooked backyard. But it’s not the only company playing with the idea of adjunct displays.

YotaPhone, whose second-generation device sells abroad for $530 to more than $800, will bring its YotaPhone 2 to North America this summer. Samsung also followed up its Galaxy Note Edge, which features a secondary side-oriented display, with the S6 Edge, a beautiful smartphone that boasts two ticker displays on the left and right side of the main screen.

But PopSlate is not a phone maker. It’s an accessory maker, one that got its start on crowdfunding site Indiegogo two years ago. Its variation on the theme naturally breaks the screen out into a separate device—which, it turns out, also lays down the groundwork for its own budding platform. 

Behzadi says the company plans to aim for three major uses. The first, which targets fashion- and social-minded users, aims to let people show off gray-scale artwork. The second focuses on productivity, which is where popping agendas and to-do lists to the e-ink screen comes into play. The last has to do with "contextual information,” said Behzadi, so PopSlate can display the data you need, when you need it.

The company can’t manage the third on its own. It needs developers and partners. In the near term, Behzadi told me that his software will integrate with IFTTT, so users can tie other apps and services to their PopSlates. (Apparently, the IFTTT integration hasn’t been switched on yet, as I didn’t find the channel active when I checked.) The company also has a software development kit in the works that will someday offer developers back-end tools they can use to make their apps work directly with PopSlate.

Eventually, PopSlate will have to create different versions of its products for other devices—an iPhone 6 Plus model, for instance. It will also have to refine its hardware and physical design to earn its spot on the back of our phones. That’s no easy task.

The company essentially has to teach people a new behavior, while proving that its product is worth more than other accessories vying for the same space. That’s the same conundrum wearable devices face as they fight to rule our wrists. 

In more ways than one, PopSlate could become the Pebble smartwatch of phone backsides: an upstart that helps define a category. That’s precisely what it needs to become, if it wants to convince consumers and partners that popping is the way of the future. 

Photos by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite



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Imagine If Your Smartphone Had a Second, Full-Size Screen

We’ve all done it: You pull your boarding pass up on your phone while in the security line at the airport, only to have it buried behind your email and Twitter when you finally make it to the gate. One company is looking to add a second screen to your iPhone, preventing similar mishaps and adding a new layer of functionality to the device.

Enter popSLATE, the Burlingame, Calif.-based startup that turns the back of your iPhone into an always-on e-paper screen. When I met founder and CEO Yashar Behzadi at a coffee shop recently, I placed my mobile phone face down on the counter.

“The back of your phone is completely unused, underutilized, really high-value real-estate,” he said. “People do this all time. They put their phones face down, and there’s this space that just isn’t leveraged.”

Related: This Gadget Makes Your Entire Kitchen ‘Smart’

The company’s new case hopes to change that, adding an e-ink screen comparable to what you might find on a Kindle to the back of your phone. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and can be used to display anything from pictures of your children to your calendar for the day.

Behzadi calls the function of moving something to the rear of your phone “popping.” For instance, you might “pop” your Starbucks card to the back of your phone while you’re waiting in line to buy your morning latte, or pop a screen shot of the directions to your friend’s birthday party to the screen before your phone’s battery dies.

The case is powered separately from your iPhone, and doesn’t require a ton of power to operate. A single 100-minute charge will keep it ticking for a week, and whatever you have displayed on the screen when the battery dies can actually stay up for years using the remaining juice. The battery power is only needed for that popping functionality. A button on the side of the case allows you to rotate through the last eight things you had on the display.

Related: 5 New, Affordable Smartwatches Battle for Your Wrist

For instance, Behzadi’s personal queue includes pictures of his kids and images from popSLATE’s community. The community is a social network comparable to Instagram where users can share images they have “popped” to their case so others can use them as well. Down the line, the company also plans to make it so things like sports scores, stock prices and news stories can be pushed to the case automatically.

If popSLATE sounds familiar, it’s because Behzadi originally tried the idea several years ago with the iPhone 5. After raising funding on Indiegogo, the company ran into issues when it came to building the device’s screen.

“We’re creating a new product category, and even though there’s great consumer demand we had to bring along the supplier chain,” he says. Now the company has gotten suppliers on board, and given the tech a test drive with roughly 150 beta testers. The iPhone 6 version of the case is going out today to those who originally backed the company in 2013, and is available for sale for new customers as well.

You can buy a popSLATE today from the company’s website for $129. It plans to be available at premium retailers later this year.

Related: New Office Tech You’re Going to Crave This Year