Now that the United Nations has declared internet access a human right, any small step that helps get more people online is worth celebrating. That's why iPavement, the latest creation from Spanish tech company Via Inteligente, is so genius.
Constructed of a calcium carbonate stone, iPavement looks like your average piece of square tile. But one should never judge a tile by its cover. At iPavement's core is a 5GB microprocessor that can support both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Each tile will also come with its own suite of apps, offering users features like coupons to local businesses and maps to nearby places of interest. Via Inteligente's ultimate goal is to make cities more accessible and interesting by linking iPavement squares to people's increasing number of handheld devices.
Though it's always good to be wary of omnipresent handheld technology, iPavement could prove helpful for nervous travelers. Imagine going to a new city and being able to use that city's iPavement tiles to instantly direct you to banks, restaurants, and all the nearest attractions—all without having to fuss with some expansive map or guidebook.
Madrid is already testing iPavement, and the system will be featured at Dubai's International Building and Construction show in November. If the prototypes work, don't be surprised if you soon have a wealth of information under your feet—regardless of where your travels take you.