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Loz Blain

'Take a left after the church' – Navteq's Natural Guidance system aims to make GPS navig...

Brilliant idea or bad move? Awful advertising, either way. Navteq has decided that typical turn-by-turn navigation instructions like "in 300 meters, turn left" aren't 'human' enough. That's not how a human navigator would direct you; in fact you kind of need to train your brain to be comfortable with that kind of instruction. Navteq's thinking is that a driver will respond more effectively and comfortably to visual cues like "turn left after the church" or "turn right after the yellow house," so it's rolling out a 'Natural Guidance' system that does just that. It seems like a fairly huge task to put together those sorts of navigation cues across a whole set of maps, but Navteq already has 10 cities' worth of cues programmed in. It'll be interesting to see if it's worth all the effort. Oh, and it's worth clicking through just to see Navteq present the system in one of the most offensively patronizing ad videos we've seen.  Read More

Flying a helicopter isn't just fun, it's also not that hard

James Bond, Evelyn Salt, Jason Bourne... One thing you'll notice about all secret agents (at least, the ones worthy of Hollywood franchise love) is that if they need to get the hell outta Dodge, ANY vehicle will do. These super-spies are just as comfortable behind the controls of a jet plane, a submarine, a tank or a jetpack as you or I are cruising around in an automatic car. Why let them have all the fun? Here's a 5-minute hi-def primer on the basics of flying a helicopter, so you'll know what you're doing next time you 'jack an Apache.  Read More

Review: Garmin-Asus nüvifone A50 - the new king of navigation smartphones

Forget mobile device convergence, that's old news. Every smartphone on the market now handles everything from camera and calendar duties to gaming, GPS navigation, web browsing and social media. Differentiation is looking like the name of the game moving forward - offering do-it-all devices that distinguish themselves through a particular focus. Take Sony's reportedly upcoming PSP phone, which takes an Android 3.0 platform and mates it with a dedicated PSP gaming experience. Or this, the Garmin-Asus nüvifone A50, a fully-featured Android smartphone that comes pre-packaged with a car kit and built-in Garmin map data so it can shine as an in-car GPS navigation system. I've spent several weeks using the A50 as my primary phone, and if you spend a lot of time on the road, this new nüvifone is built for you and does a very credible job.  Read More

The Seabreacher X: admit it, you'd soil yourself if this came at you.

If you saw this thing on your neighbor's trailer, you'd laugh at him. "What sort of pretentious man-child buys a boat shaped like a shark," you'd scoff into your mugaccino, secure in the knowledge that you'd never shell out for something so ridiculous. But you might change your tune if you caught him down at the lake and watched him pulling 50mph (80km/h) barrel rolls, then diving under the surface and launching the thing 12-feet (3.6m) into the air like some sort of evil mechanical dolphin. The Seabreacher X is preposterous in theory, but in practice it's an adrenaline machine that can do things pretty much no other watercraft can – take a look at the video after the jump.  Read More

The Straddling Bus

China is home to more people than any other country on Earth, and they're moving into megacities at a rate that's simply unprecedented. Managing a transport plan for such a colossal number of people presents a traffic congestion and pollution quandary the likes of which we've simply never seen before. The Straddling Bus is an amazing public transport solution that drives over the top of the cars on a slightly modified road, able to stop without interrupting the traffic flow and to glide over the top of congestion. This go-go-gadget bus is far quicker and 90 percent cheaper to build than a new subway route, it's solar/grid electric powered and it's no pipe dream – construction starts at the end of this year.  Read More

Online surveillance is now easier than ever (Image: VoxEfx via Flickr)

If it hasn't become apparent to you yet, you are living in an age when your every online step is being monitored. The notion of communications privacy has been steamrolled in the interests of security, and the occasional tiny chance we get to peek back at the people who make it their business to watch us is truly frightening. Two new stories from America this week give a rare glimpse behind the curtain at just how closely you're being watched, and by whom.  Read More

The iPhone 4's FaceTime feature appeals to phone sex operators

Steve Jobs has done his level best to keep pornography and adult content out of the iPhone App Store, but if the history of the Internet has shown us one thing, it's that any attempt to place a wall between porn and the raging tide of user erections is the definition of futility – for each one you strike down, another one springs up stronger than the first. So it will come as little surprise that the adult industry has scrambled to take advantage of the new iPhone 4's ability to make face-to-face – or face-to-other-bits videocalls.  Read More

Built by Dave Welch at Chopper City USA, owned by Pankaj Shah, it's a street-legal BatPod....

The average custom chopper is something most motorcyclists find puzzling – they're heavy and cumbersome, with terrible handling and mediocre performance, they're hard to ride and they cost unbelievable amounts of money. This fully custom 850cc Batpod replica takes all those traits to the max – it looks downright scary to ride, there's almost no way to turn a corner with any sort of dignity, and may God help you if you want to pull a U-Turn. But for owner Pankaj Shah it's a tribute to his love of the Dark Knight movie where the BatPod first appeared – and beyond the neck-snapping appearance of the thing, it's also quite an amazing bit of rolling metalwork. Click through for several videos and photos of the PS-Pod under construction.  Read More

Dazer Laser at the Emmys... Because nothing says 'we're serious about non-lethal police we...

Criminals across America could be just about to see the light… the Dazer Laser, a non-lethal weapon that shines disorienting, nauseating bursts of intense green laser light into a target's eyes, has gone into police trials across the Northern states. It's been shown to have no lasting effects (unlike previous infra-red versions that could cause permanent blindness), it's as easy to use as shining a flashlight in somebody's eyes, and it offers police the ability to temporarily blind a threat as they move to subdue it. At the very least, if the Dazer Laser joins the Taser in operation, it'll make the average cop's equipment list sound a bit more like a Dr. Seuss poem.  Read More

A female mosquito feeding on a human arm: could this pest's days be numbered?

To most Gizmag readers, mosquitoes are at most a pesky nuisance - for others of course, particularly in more tropical areas, they're a genuine killer, spreading all sorts of diseases as they feed on the blood of their victims. Either way, the mosquito female's habit of biting humans puts mozzies high on the list of most hated insects - so many will appreciate this study from Kansas State University, in which researchers have successfully used nanoparticles impregnated with gene-silencing dsRNA to specifically target particular genes in mosquito larvae. A small supply of these nanoparticles, added to a still water breeding ground, can kill mozzie larvae as they grow, or at the least, render them much more susceptible to insecticides… And the process is fascinating.  Read More

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