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Artist's impression of the ExoMars rover traversing the Red Planet (Image: ESA)

Aeronautics giant Airbus has completed its project to recreate the surface of Mars in Stevenage, UK. The site, roughly the size of a basketball arena, is designed to test the navigation and locomotion systems of the ESA's ExoMars rover ahead of its launch in 2018.  Read More

The Lechal haptic shoe, in fiery red

Three years ago, we heard about a prototype shoe that could be used to guide the wearer via haptic feedback. Designed by Anirudh Sharma, who was then a researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, the Lechal shoe was intended for use mainly by the blind. This week, however, Sharma and business partner Krispian Lawrence announced that the production version of the Lechal will soon be available for preorder, and it's aimed at helping all people navigate the city streets.  Read More

The app-based system determines the shopper's location via the flickering of the overhead ...

Wondering where your local supermarket keeps its whole wheat flour? Soon, an app on your smartphone may be able to guide you to it – with a little help from the store's overhead LED lights, and technology developed by Philips.  Read More

The Inside app doesn't require the installation of any hardware in the building

Due to those pesky roofs that block access to satellites, smartphone-based GPS systems don't work for navigating indoor environments such as shopping malls. Some non-GPS alternatives are in development, including ones that incorporate rapidly-blinking LED lights or Wi-Fi signals. The just-announced Inside app, however, utilizes the phone's own standard sensors, and is reportedly accurate up to a distance of down to one meter (3.3 ft).  Read More

The C-Walker in use (Photo: DALi)

The C-Walker is a high-tech walking device that aims to safely guide people with cognitive impairments through public spaces like airports and shopping centers, reducing their reliance on visual signboards and avoiding obstacles in their way. Using onboard sensors, this "cognitive navigation prosthesis" monitors its environment in real time to figure out a path that poses little risk, actively re-planning it when it encounters problems like wet floors, or people dashing about. Aside from aiding senior citizens, the technology is expected to come in handy in factory settings, helping workers avoid danger zones and accidental collisions with machines.  Read More

The CycleNav is paired with the user's safely-stowed smartphone

Smartphone-based navigation systems can certainly help cyclists find their way around the city, but not everyone wants to risk attaching their precious phone to their rattly handlebars, nor do they like having to repeatedly glance down to read the map on its screen. That's why Schwinn has just announced its CycleNav device. It guides cyclists using verbal cues and simple directional arrows.  Read More

The LEDs on the sleeves of the Navigate jacket provide directional cues

We've seen GPS integrated into garments before, but this type of technology has never really caught on, undoubtedly because most folks already have car navigation systems, smartphones and standalone GPS units that do a better job. Maybe the key is in designing a GPS-based garment that offers some advantage over existing options, like pulling your face out of your LCD display so that you no longer have to stumble around the city half blind. The NAVIGATE jacket does just that, using LED guide lights and haptic feedback to spoon-feed you the directions.  Read More

The Hudway app in use

It was just this July that we heard about Garmin's HUD. It's a portable device that sits on the dashboard of the user's car, working with their smartphone to project a head-up display (HUD) onto the inside of their windshield. Russian startup Hudway has taken that same basic approach with its self-named free app, except that it utilizes just the phone – no projector is required.  Read More

Retrievor is solar powered and roughly the size of a US quarter

If you've ever wondered where you left the laptop or how your dog came home smelling like a frog pond, then a GPS tracking device might seem like a good idea. The trick is to find one small enough to be practical and doesn't need its batteries replaced every day. The Retrievor RET-100 is a self-contained, solar-powered GPS tracker no wider than a US quarter that is looking to find a way to market via a crowdfunding campaign.  Read More

The Garmin D2 pilot watch is billed as a wrist-mounted avionics package

While the jury is still out on whether or not we are entering the era of the smartwatch, scuba divers, yachtsmen and airplane pilots would agree that the wristwatch hasn't been completely supplanted by the mobile phone. Garmin’s D2 pilot watch puts the emphasis on utility by providing pilots with navigation and avionics readouts at the touch of a button.  Read More

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