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— Mobile Technology

DARPA develops non-GPS navigation chip

The Global Positioning System (GPS) has proved a boon for those with a bad sense of direction, but the satellite-based system isn’t without its shortcomings. Something as simple as going indoors or entering a tunnel can render the system useless. That might be inconvenient for civilians, but it's potentially disastrous for military users for whom the system was originally built. DARPA is addressing such concerns with the development of a self-sufficient navigation system that can aid navigation when GPS is temporarily unavailable. Read More
— Games

Futuro Cube lights up tap and turn game challenge fun

Before the arrival of those portable computers we like to call smartphones, screen-based games were a relatively simple, though extremely addictive, affair. The Czech Republic's Princip Interactive has taken the essence of classic low-res cellphone games like Tetris or Snake, added a good splash of color and sound, thrown in some challenging physical twists and turns, and created the Futuro Cube. Read More
— Science

New system gives in-city GPS navigation a big boost

Many of us use our vehicle navigation systems on a daily basis, and as self-driving cars come into common use – assuming they do – such systems will become even more important. Unfortunately, however, the GPS technology that’s integral to vehicle navigation can be thwarted by obstacles such as tall buildings. A team of researchers at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are attempting to address that problem, with a system that is said to drastically boost GPS accuracy in city driving. Read More
— Good Thinking

DropTag will let you know when and if your parcel has been dropped

If you’re like most people, you probably just sign for a delivered parcel upon receiving it at your front door. You really ought to open it and check that its contents are intact first, but who wants to bother doing that? Well, if the DropTag makes its way into production, a quick check on your smartphone will be all that’s needed to tell you if your goods have arrived unharmed. Read More
— Sports

Ten Count punching bag combines brawn with a brain

Over the years, we’ve seen all sorts of performance-monitoring devices designed for the likes of runners, cyclists and even swimmers. According to Canadian boxer, electrician and boxing coach Michael Williamson, however, the only tech innovation to hit the world of boxing has been the introduction of Velcro closures on the gloves. He decided to address that situation, and invented the Ten Count smart punching bag. Read More
— Electronics

Ultra-sensitive laser-enabled accelerometer could find its way into consumer products

As any smartphone aficionado knows, the accelerometer is one of the key sensors within the device – it allows the phone to know when and by how much it’s been moved. Accelerometers also have many other applications, being major components of things like navigation systems, various automotive systems, and image stabilization systems in cameras. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology are developing a laser-based accelerometer, that they claim should offer much better performance than is currently possible. Read More
— Mobile Technology

UnLoc app uses “invisible” landmarks for precise indoor localization

The commercialization of GPS technology has been a boon for those navigating unfamiliar city streets, highways and byways, but head inside out of sight of the GPS satellite signals and the limitations of the technology can quickly become evident. Other efforts to solve the problem involve the use of accelerometers, sometimes combined with magnetic field sensors, but a new system developed at Duke University promises to provide precise indoor localization using a different approach – detecting “invisible” landmarks. Read More
— Children

LED seesaw gives illuminated physics lesson … remains fun

If you're anything like us, you probably spent many an hour in your younger days bouncing up and down on a seesaw (or teeter-totter or teeter board, depending on where you grew up. And, even now, you might fight the desire to relive your childhood and jump on one as you walk past a playground. But Melbourne-based design group ENESS has created a seesaw, which comes complete with hundreds of LEDs and a physics engine to explore the forces at work on the familiar playground staple, that might just prove too difficult to resist. Read More