Urban dwellers may soon find a new way to obtain information wirelessly while on the go. A Spanish company called Via Inteligente has developed a product called the iPavement stone that, as the name suggests, includes an embedded computer with WiFi and Bluetooth access.
The intelligent pavement would do away with unsightly wireless antennas while still offering the end user access to certain wireless features. The stones are said to be as durable as regular concrete slabs and can even be driven over without affecting performance.
Rather than using the stones to construct a massive city-wide WiFi zone, however, they will include various applications and services that users can utilize in their immediate surroundings. The stones use an operating system called Viacities OS and can serve up a wealth of useful data including city maps and public transportation routes, but it doesn’t stop there.
As Gizmodo highlights, the Via Coupons app could provide users with valuable coupons to near-by shops and restaurants while the Via Book app would let passersby download books or other publications when connected. More serious apps could alert those in the vicinity of traffic holdups, Amber alerts or inclement weather situations.
This idea seems to have a lot of promise although there could be a few roadblocks on the path to success. We aren’t sure how much an iPavement stone would cost or the wireless range such a device would have. Furthermore, one could surmise that providing maintenance to hardware embedded inside a stone enclosure could be a difficult task.