A child gone missing is every parent’s worst nightmare. Thankfully, digital technology can offer a helping hand. Devices like Hereo
and Mommy Here
have been created to help parents keep their little ones under their digital thumbs. The latest to join the ranks is Yepzon from Finland, a positioning device currently at the type-approval stage. Its makers are seeking 50 testers all over the globe to see how it works in the field.
In October of last year, the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) issued a warning
about the dangers of relying on smartphone apps that were being marketed as economical alternatives to avalanche transceivers. But a new smartphone app and add-on hardware component could provide an alternative that is not only cheaper than dedicated avalanche transceivers, but also provides additional functionality.
Civilization depends on the Global Positioning System for everything from precision armaments to finding the location of the nearest pizza shop. Indeed, access to GPS's strengths and capabilities has grown so fast that little concern about its weaknesses has penetrated the public consciousness. Fortunately, assistant professor Todd Humphreys
' team at the University of Texas at Austin continues to arrange splashy demonstrations of GPS spoofing. His latest is to covertly alter the course of an oceangoing yacht.
Phones obviously already know where we are and where we have been, thanks to GPS and other clever positioning technologies
. Now, thanks to an algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, your smartphone may soon be able to make accurate educated guesses as to where you’re going to be in 24 hours time. And here’s the dirty trick responsible for the algorithm’s future-telling powers: it spies on your friends and connects the dots where necessary.
While GPS tracking tends to be ineffective inside buildings, alternative indoor positioning solutions require the presence of Wi-Fi network access points or other beacons ... or at least, that was the case before a Finnish start-up called IndoorAtlas stepped onto the scene. Its software uses your phone’s built-in compass and measures the anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field to pinpoint your location in a building with the accuracy ranging from 0.1 meter to 2 meters (3.93 inches to 6.56 feet). If spiny lobsters can do it, so can we, the logic goes.
By listening to the complexity of radio signals that pervades the human environment, BAE Systems thinks its new positioning system is as accurate as, but more secure than, GPS. Because its Navigation via Signals of Opportunity (NAVSOP) system uses a wide range of signals such as Wi-Fi signals and radio and TV broadcasts, it's resistant to the jamming or spoofing of individual signals to which GPS is vulnerable.
China’s independent Beidou satellite navigation system has been operating since 2000. Consisting of just three satellites (and one backup), that first generation system offered only limited coverage to customers in China and neighboring regions. Now, to end any reliance on the US-maintained Global Positioning System (GPS), the second generation of the Beidou system has begun operations. The system currently consists of 10 satellites and covers the Asia–Pacific region, with the number of satellites gradually increasing to a total of 35 that will cover the entire globe by 2020.
Nancy Sinatra once mused that her boots were made for walking. In these days of global positioning, going walkabout is not as random an event as it might once have been, but there are still occasions when the all-seeing GPS device can't pick up a satellite. In such cases, having a back-up could mean the difference between getting out of the deep, dark underground cave in one piece or being lost in its tunnels forever. Researchers from North Carolina State University and Carnegie Mellon University have combined technology that is used to measure speed and distance with portable radar equipment to help keep track of a user's location.
Contrary to the expectations of the creators of The Jetsons
, the robotic vacuums of today generally resemble a floor-crawling disc rather than humanoid Rosie the Robot. The latest device to join the ranks of circular-shaped household helpers alongside the Electrolux Trilobyte
, iRobot Roomba
and LG Roboking
is the Neato XV-11 from Neato Robotics. Boasting Neato's RPS (that’s Room Positioning System) technology the XV-11 uses path-planning algorithms to outline the area to clean, which it then carries out in a systematic back-and-forth pattern.
The European Commission has announced the official start of operations of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), a satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) that improves the accuracy of the current US Global Positioning System
(GPS) and Russian GLONASS system signals from about ten meters to two meters. Like the U.S. GPS, the EGNOS Open Service is accessible free of charge to any user equipped with a GPS/SBAS compatible receiver within the EGNOS coverage area, which includes most European states and has the built-in capability to be extended to other regions, such as North Africa and EU neighboring countries. Most receivers sold today in Europe meet that requirement.