Highlights from Interbike 2014

Mapping

An eBee drone sails over the Matterhorn, acquiring data and taking pictures

Explorers have mapped the surface of the iconic Matterhorn painstakingly by foot, by satellite, and now by drone, thanks to a partnership between drone maker senseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures. Launching a small squadron of eBee minidrones off the summit and sides of the famous Alps mountaintop, the mission tested the navigational abilities of the system and created a staggering data-rich 3D model.  Read More

The Trimble TopoCharger provides iPhone users with extra battery life and color topographi...

Smartphones have all but replaced standalone GPS units for basic car and foot navigation in cities and on highways, but without apps like the ViewRanger, they aren't equipped to guide you around forests, mountains and trails. The new Trimble TopoCharger brings another such app, along with a full set of topographical maps and a full-sized back-up battery. Pop this case on, and the iPhone transforms into an outdoor GPS.  Read More

The tablet-programmed LA300, being hand-launched

Last November, we heard about Lehmann Aviation’s LA100, a small and fully autonomous UAV designed to capture aerial images with a user-supplied GoPro camera. Now the French company is offering two new models that go farther and stay in the air longer. As with the LA100, both of the new models are designed for use by people with little or no remote piloting experience.  Read More

The complete Aeromapper X5 package

While we’re seeing an increasing amount of aerial mapping being performed by purpose-built drone aircraft, a lot of people are no doubt still leery of remotely-piloting what is essentially a little airplane. With such people in mind, Canada’s Aeromao has recently released its Aeromapper X5. The drone is launched by hand, flies and takes photos autonomously, then parachutes back down to the ground.  Read More

EPFL's system in use at the Lausanne Cathedral in Switzerland

Creating a 3D map of a room could someday be as simple as randomly placing four microphones within the space, then snapping your fingers. Researchers from Switzerland’s EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne/Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) have recently done so on a limited scale, and are now excited about the technology’s possible applications.  Read More

The backpack-mounted Enhanced Mapping and Positioning System (EMAPS), being tried out aboa...

Mapping environmental threats in GPS-inaccessible locations – such as underground installations, or the passageways of ships – can certainly pose some challenges. While there are robotic systems that can do the job, robots aren’t necessarily the best choice for cramped quarters or uneven terrain. That’s why a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed the backpack-mounted Enhanced Mapping and Positioning System ... or EMAPS.  Read More

Google Maps used backpack-mounted cameras to capture stunning 360-degree panoramic images ...

In recent months, Google Maps has ramped up its cartographical efforts to provide more detailed maps of North Korea and take users to more exotic locations like snow-covered mountains and underwater coral reefs via Street View. Now thanks to the Trekker, Google's own backpack-mounted camera system, users can explore stunning 360-degree panoramic images on a virtual hike through the Grand Canyon.  Read More

University of Illinois neuroscience professor Aron Barbey

We tend to think of reason and emotion as being two different things, but it turns out that there may not be a choice between the heart and the head. A University of Illinois team, led by neuroscience professor Aron Barbey, has made the first detailed 3D map of emotional and general intelligence in the brain, that shows a strong overlap of general and emotional intelligence.  Read More

senseFly's new eBee UAV

Three years ago, Swiss sensor manufacturer senseFly released its Swinglet CAM unmanned aerial vehicle. Priced around US$10,600, the little aircraft can follow a pre-programmed flight path or be piloted by remote control, and uses its built-in 12-megapixel camera to create aerial maps, or keep tabs on things like wildlife, crops and traffic. Now, based on its experiences with the Swinglet CAM, senseFly is about to release a new UAV known as the eBee.  Read More

MIT's wearable mapping device

A number of research institutions are currently developing systems in which autonomous robots could be sent into places such as burning buildings, to create a map of the floor plan for use by waiting emergency response teams. Unfortunately, for now, we still have to rely on humans to perform that sort of dangerous reconnaissance work. New technology being developed by MIT, however, kind of splits the difference. It’s a wearable device that creates a digital map in real time, as the person who’s wearing it walks through a building.  Read More

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