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The above-water component of one of the four Wave Gliders

It may sound like the premise for the latest Pixar movie, but it’s actually happening – four small autonomous aquatic robots have embarked on a 60,000-kilometer (37,000-mile) journey across the Pacific ocean. The Wave Gliders, built by California-based Liquid Robotics, left San Francisco last Thursday. All four will travel together to Hawaii, at which point they will split into two pairs – one of those pairs will proceed to Australia, with the other heading for Japan. Called PacX (for “Pacific Crossing”), the project will constitute the longest voyage ever completed by an unmanned ocean vessel.  Read More

Le Chal is a navigational device for the blind, that guides them to their destination via ...

Within just the past few years, scientists have developed an impressive number of experimental systems designed to help the blind navigate city streets. These have included devices that mount on the wrist, are incorporated into glasses, are worn as a vest, and that augment a traditional white cane. A young researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, however, has come up with something else - a navigational device for the blind that's built into a shoe.  Read More

Innotrends has unveiled its Ca-Fi Android 2.3-based infotainment multimedia system powered...

Hong-Kong-based Innotrends has unveiled its Ca-Fi Android 2.3-based infotainment system for in-car use. Tailored for 2-DIN dashboards and running on a 1.2GHz Cortex A8 CPU and 512MB of RAM, Ca-Fi features 6.2-inch 800 x 480 (resistive) touchscreen, a 3G modem to surf the web, GPS to handle in-car navigation apps, Bluetooth support for hands-free calling and 4x45W audio output.  Read More

A research team from the Netherlands has developed a GPS navigation system for cyclists wh...

Having a calming voice like that of John Cleese or Ozzy Osbourne shout out directions to supplement the visuals on your GPS navigation device is an effective way to make sure that you don't miss your turn. Relying on visual navigation is a big distraction for cyclists too, dangerously diverting focus away from the road ahead. To help overcome such issues, a research team in the Netherlands has reported promising results from an audio-only navigation system that uses an Android smartphone connected to a pair of headphones to help guide users to a target location with music that's artificially shifted to the left or right to indicate direction.  Read More

The Wikitude Drive augmented reality navigation app overlays directional markers on real-t...

Although many of us don't know how we ever managed without our car navigation systems, they are not without their flaws. For one thing, when that voice says "Turn left in 100 meters," you may find yourself looking out the windshield and wondering "Does that mean this left turn, or the one just past it?" The Wikitude Drive augmented reality navigation app is designed to address these problems, by overlaying directional arrows on real-time video of the road in front of you.  Read More

SMART-WAY is an app currently in development, that would show commuters how to reach their...

We know how it is ... you would use public transportation more often, but it’s such a hassle trying to figure out which bus, train or tram to take, where to transfer, and what to do if your plans are altered. In the future, however, that might not be a problem. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems is working on SMART-WAY, a mobile phone app that would make using public transit as simple as following the directions on a vehicle navigation system – you would just indicate your destination, and it would show you how to get there using public services, updating its information in real time.  Read More

Keith McMillen Instruments has introduced SoftStep KeyWorx, a foot-operated computer inter...

Using one's feet works quite well while driving, so why not use them to control computers, too? That's what Berkley-based company Keith McMillen Instruments wondered, and ended up designing SoftStep KeyWorx, a foot-operated computer interface device. It's Mac and PC compatible, and offers 10 touch-sensitive buttons and a navigation pad, along with up to 100 macros that allow for customized commands and shortcuts.  Read More

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) software analyzes data from stereo camera vie...

We've looked at a number of efforts to extend the capabilities of the traditional white cane for the visually impaired, such as using ultrasonic echoes or lasers to give users a better lay of the land. But a group of engineering researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are looking to do away with the cane altogether and replace it with a "guide vest" that works in conjunction with a helmet-mounted camera and special software to let wearers "see" the world through tactile feedback.  Read More

Researchers have developed and publicly tested a laser-guided feedback system which will h...

The introduction of the white cane early in the last century gave blind and visually-impaired users a mobility tool that not only helped them to get around, but also allowed them to be seen by others. Now researchers from Sweden's Luleå University of Technology – the same place that designed the autonomous wheelchair – have developed and publicly tested a system which could potentially give wheelchair-bound blind people a virtual white stick to help them detect and avoid obstacles. An electric wheelchair has been fitted with a navigational laser scanner which provides virtual 3D maps of the surroundings, and sends feedback about any obstructions to the user via a haptic interface.  Read More

Rand McNally's RV-tailored TripMaker RVND 5510 GPS

With RV's generally used to take their drivers off their beaten tracks, a GPS is pretty much an essential piece of kit on the dash of such vehicles. Aside from dealing with unfamiliar routes, RV drivers also face their own specific route requirements that drivers of smaller vehicles don't have to deal with – as any RV driver who has found themselves at the end of a dead end road and having to carry out a 27 point turn will attest to. While there are a number of GPS units designed for larger vehicles, including trucks, Rand McNally says its new TripMaker RVND 5510 is the first GPS navigation device designed specifically for RVers.  Read More

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