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February 24 2014

November 25 2013

Waze Now Lets Celebrities Voice Turn-By-Turn Directions

If you've ever wished your GPS had a sense of humor, Waze has a solution.

The crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app announced a new partnership with Universal Pictures to introduce a celebrity voice navigation feature. Comedian Kevin Hart will be the first to voice turn-by-turn directions in the app.

Waze, which offers voice-guided GPS navigation gleaned from users who share real-time traffic information, now gives users the option to replace the generic voice with a celebrity's

Hart's voice is currently available in the app, but the company hasn't announced which other famous co-pilots will be available to users in the future. Read more...

More about Application, Gps, Comedy, Navigation, and Waze

November 12 2013

Jacket's Sleeves Vibrate to Point Wearer in Right Direction

Socially driven wearable-technology company Wearable Experiments created the Navigate jacket, which uses haptic feedback and LED lighting to provide directions for the wearer.

The jacket comes with an accompanying app that stores destinations and uploads the directions to the jacket with the built-in GPS system and allows wearers to walk to their destination without having to whip out their devices for directions or even look at maps, for that matter.

The directions are visualized on the sleeves. LED light lets the wearer know how far they are before the next turn and the current phase of their journey. Vibrations let the wearer know when to turn and in which direction. Read more...

More about Gps, Walking Directions, Turn By Turn Navigation, Turn By Turn Directions, and Wearable Tech

November 06 2013

Calibrating a More Careful Car Chase With GPS-Firing Guns

A new company called StarChase has developed a way for police to shoot GPS trackers at cars to make car chases more careful and calculated.

The GPS gun, mounted on police cars at just a few departments across the country, is powerful enough for its adhesive to stick to vehicles but not lethal should an officer misfire and hit someone. Once the operator fires a round, the GPS sticks to the intended vehicle and sends location data back to the police car every three to five seconds.

This eliminates the need to have all eyes on the target car, allowing officers to set up strategic blockades instead of engaging in mad dashes. According to a 2010 USA Today study, such car chases kill 360 people per year, around one third of whom are bystanders. Read more...

More about Gps, Track, Car, Police, and Tech

September 17 2013

UK Farmers Track Cows' Behavior by Connecting Them to the Internet

A ranch in Essex, England has started connecting its cows to the Internet to monitor any changes in behavior that could signal disease

The team behind the Cow Tracking Project attach a GPS device to each cow, and place sensors around their shed to monitor their movements and sleeping habits. That information is then sent to the farmer's computer. Disruptions in a cow's regular pattern (e.g. sleeping more or moving around less than usual) could signal illness, so daily updates can help the farmer quickly catch these changes.

SEE ALSO: Cow Collar Texts Ranchers When Animals Are Sick, In Heat

What's more, the project can save farmers from having to put in extra labor and spending money on antibiotics after infections have fully developed. Read more...

More about Digital, Gps, Tracking, Cows, and Tech

August 09 2013

Your Brain's Built-In GPS System

Scientists have discovered a special brain cell that acts as a built-in GPS system. Called a “grid cell,” it allows the brain to remember the routes it took while on the move. Researchers say without the grid cell, humans would have to rely only on physical landmarks, causing them to get lost more easily

Scientists from Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and Thomas Jefferson University studied 14 volunteers with epilepsy who played a navigation–heavy video game using a joystick.

Volunteers were given a series of tasks that required navigation skills. They followed a map to reach certain objects — then those objects were kept in the same places but made invisible. The idea was for the volunteers to navigate the path while finding the objects in their original location. Read more...

More about Gps, Navigation, and Lifestyle

August 03 2013

Google Glass Has a Navigation Problem. Here's How to Fix It

Google Glass has a navigation problem

You see, one of the device’s slickest tricks is its ability to beam directions to your eyes without requiring you to reach for your phone. But the second you step behind a wheel, this ability transforms from potentially awesome to potentially dangerous. That’s because, in order to read the Google Glass display (which sits mere inches in front of your eye) you need to shift your focus to very near ground — and away from the action behind it.

Now, if you’re walking down the sidewalk, this constant change of focus isn’t really a problem. But when you’re driving, and need to be aware of the dizzying intricacies of traffic, glancing up and shifting your focus to the foreground could be downright distracting. Read more...

More about Gps, Navigation, Wearables, Tech, and Gadgets

June 19 2013

Secret Life of Cats Revealed in GPS Tracking Study

Oh, cats — those furry little enigmas — we love 'em, but can hardly understand 'em

What exactly are our feline friends up to when we're not around? A joint study between BBC Two's Horizon programme and the Royal Veterinary College answered that question by equipping 50 cats with GPS tracking devices and micro-cameras to monitor their activity away from home

Researchers used the trackers to record the cats' movements over six 24-hours periods, according to the BBC.

Of the 50 felines that roamed England's Surrey Hills for several weeks, 10 were selected to be featured in a Horizon series called, "The Secret Life of the Cat." You can click through each of their in-depth profiles, here; then check out the video, above, for more. Read more...

More about Bbc, Gps, Cats, World, and Watercooler

August 09 2012

February 28 2012

FBI Shuts Down 3,000 Warrantless GPS Devices After Court Ruling [VIDEO]

The FBI shut down 3,000 GPS-based devices this week in a response to a court case ruling decided on Jan 23.

The U.S. Department of Justice is now dispatching officials to remove the devices, which were not authorized by warrant to be attached to vehicles.

In United States vs. Jones, the FBI stuck a tracking device under a car owned by Antoine Jones — a nightclub owner and operator — living in Maryland.

Officials started using visual and GPS surveillance after suspecting him of trafficking narcotics, according to Supreme Court documents.

Local officers physically watched over the nightclub, installed a camera outside of the building, wiretapped his cellular phone and attached a GPS device to his Jeep Grand Cherokee. A warrant was issued for the installation of the GPS device within the District of Columbia within 10 days.

However, the GPS was installed on the 11th day and outside the District of Columbia. Over a 28-day period, Jones’ vehicle was tracked.

Watch the video above to see how this decision affects you and what the FBI is doing now to revise GPS guidelines and policies.

Do you think the FBI should be allowed to track supposed criminals by using GPS technology without warrants? Let us know in the comments.

More About: gps, Supreme Court, Video

For more Dev & Design coverage:

February 16 2012

Roomba in Space? Swiss Robot Spacecraft to Clean Up Orbital Junk [VIDEO]

A team of Swiss astronauts and university professors are working to create a robot spacecraft called CleanSpace One, which will grab inactive satellite parts from space and bring them back to Earth.

About 700 active satellites are in orbit around Earth, sending us weather, phone, television and GPS signals. But they are in constant danger of smashing into old inactive satellites.

“It has become essential to be aware of the existence of this debris and the risks that are run by its proliferation,” says Claude Nicollier, an astronaut and professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

A 2009 collision between American Satellite Iridium with an inactive Russian satellite caused $55 million worth of damage. The accident also left 2,000 additional pieces of debris in space.

Thousands of satellites have launched since Sputnik‘s 1957 pioneering voyage into space. Over 16,000 pieces of broken and inactive satellites have collected in orbit causing a risk of collisions.

SEE ALSO: NASA Wants To Send Astronauts To Mars Within 20 Years in New Deep Space Vehicle

Before CleanSpace One is ready for space, there are technological hurdles to overcome. One being the machine’s ability to come within range of an object in space, to be close enough to capture it. Another hurdle is developing robotic arms that can “grab” the item. After being captured, the debris will be taken by the robot spacecraft back into the Earth’s atmosphere, where both will disintegrate upon re-entry.

Although space junk has been proposed as a serious threat to NASA equipment and personnel, this is currently a university-funded project and not a full-fledged multi-million dollar development, EPFL members say.

The maiden voyage will cost about $11 million, which the EFPL space team is hoping to raise over three to five years. Considering insurance premiums for satellites already go for about $20 billion, companies may be prompted to donate to the cause so insurance premiums don’t increase if the problem gets worse.

Thumbnail image courtesy of EPFL.

More About: gps, space, Tech, Video

For more Dev & Design coverage:

February 07 2012

January 23 2012

Supreme Court: GPS Tracking Is Illegal Without Warrant

If you’re a cop and want to use a GPS device to track a suspect, you better have a warrant, the Supreme Court said Monday.

In the decision, the court found that GPS tracking qualifies as “search” under the 4th Amendment, and therefore it requires a warrant.

The court’s decision was a response to the case of Antoine Jones, a Washington, D.C.-area nightclub owner.

In 2004, Jones was suspected of drug trafficking by the FBI and D.C. police. Agents used traditional methods, including wiretapping and visual surveillance, to find out more about Jones’ activities. In 2005, they got a warrant authorizing the installation of a GPS device on a car registered to Jones’ wife.

According to the Supreme Court, the warrant allowed the device to be attached “in the District of Columbia and within 10 days.” Agents attached the device 11 days later in Maryland, not in the District of Columbia.

Agents tracked the vehicle for 28 days, collecting over 2,000 pages of data. The government indicted Jones and his associates with intent to sell cocaine.

Jones was brought to trial in October of 2006. Before the trial began, he filed to suppress the GPS data from evidence. The District Court agreed only to exclude data collected while the vehicle was in Jones’ garage.

According to the District Court, “a person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another.” That trial ended in a hung jury.

In March of 2007, a grand jury brought the same charges against Jones. The previously admitted data was again allowed as evidence. The jury found Jones guilty, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Jones appealed the decision, and the United States Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the conviction. According to the appeals court, the warrant was invalid when the agents attached the GPS device to Jones’ car.

The federal government then appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the appeal court’s decision. In an opinion delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court found that the attachment of a GPS device constitutes a “search” and Jones’ vehicle an “effect” under the 4th Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Scalia’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a separate but concurring opinion, as did Justice Alito.

Alito’s opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, suggested the Supreme Court should’ve gone further to deal with GPS tracking of mobile devices.

Do you think that police should be required to get a warrant before placing a GPS device on a suspect’s vehicle? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, S.E.B.

More About: gps, Supreme Court

January 09 2012

Cobra Wants You to Tag and Find Your Lost Stuff

LAS VEGAS — Even the most conscientious person will occasionally forget something: keys, wallet, phone, gloves. They’re all sitting somewhere, left behind until you or someone else recovers them. Cobra Electronics, though, thinks it has a solution. The communication and navigation technology company has partnered with Phone Halo proximity-tracking technology to deliver Cobra Tag G5, a combination of GPS/Bluetooth physical tags and an iPhone app. Together they can help keep you and your precious stuff together.

Unveiled for the first time at CES 2012. Cobra Tag uses “Smart BlueTooth” to pair with an almost unlimited number of tagged items. If you walk out the door with your keys but leave your phone behind, it’ll make a sound (Cobra Tag G5, also automatically locks your phone). Likewise if you leave behind a tagged wallet, the phone in your pocket will sound off.

Of course, you don’t always hear your phone. If you walk out the door and drive off without your wallet, Cobra Tag’s App can notify you via email and text messages and even include a Google Maps to show where you left your wallet. The app can also, if you choose, notify friends and family that you’ve lost, say, your keys.

CES HIGHLIGHTS: Go Ahead, Drop This Tablet Into the Toilet | Acer Debuts Its iCloud Clone, AcerCloud | PowerTrekk Offers Unlimited Water-Based Gadget Power

The Cobra Tag device records the GPS location and the time and date when the object was lost. Still the GPS may not get you to the exact location of your lost item, but, apparently, the Bluetooth technology will take you the rest of the way.

Cobra told Mashable that the low-powered tag can work for months on a single charge. There is, however, a micro USB port for recharging.

Cobra Tag G5, which ships in Q2 for $59.95, won’t work, though, if you don’t tag your precious items. The tags are about the size of a traditional key fob. It’s not clear how comfortable that would be inside your wallet, but it would fit easily in a purse or backpack.

Cobra Tag G5 System

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: bluetooth, cars, CES, CES 2012, gps, smartphone

January 04 2012

December 27 2011

China Launches Its Answer to America’s GPS Dominance

Officials at China’s independent satellite navigation system announced Tuesday their GPS alternative is available to the public, reports the BBC.

Named Beidou, Chinese for “compass,” the system has been in development for more than a decade. China began work on Beidou in 2000 in order to become less dependent on the U.S.-owned Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) infrastructure.

Before launching Beidou, the Chinese relied on American GPS for military and domestic use. Should China have gotten involved in a military conflict with a U.S. ally, the United States could have blocked access to GPS, causing a disadvantage for the Chinese military. With Beidou, China now has its own system for warship navigation and missile targeting.

China state media have stressed the commercial potential of the new system. Domestic GPS technology is a thriving market in the United States and Europe, and China expects to replicate that success.

Civilian users of the network will have geolocation accuracy of 10 meters and speed measurements accurate to .2 meters per second. The Chinese military will have access to more accurate data.

SEE ALSO: First-Generation GPS [COMIC]

The development of Baidou parallels the creation of GPS, which was available exclusively to the American military for the first 20 years of its existence. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton declared GPS to be a “dual-use system” in 1996. This paved the way for car and naval navigation, geolocation, geocaching and a plethora of other GPS applications. However, in the U.S. and elsewhere, the military still enjoys more accurate GPS data than civilians.

Currently, Beidou uses 10 satellites. Coverage is limited to mainland China and nearby areas of Asia. The Chinese government plans to expand the system gradually, providing global coverage by 2020.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, enot-poloskun

More About: Beidou, china, gps

July 14 2011

Google Maps Gets Traffic Info in 13 European Countries

Google Maps now has live traffic info in 13 additional European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.

The traffic feature was introduced for the U.S. in 2008. Besides live traffic information for freeways, highways, and large roads in major cities, it shows predictions based on past traffic conditions. UK users should also see a finer grain of street level coverage with this update.

The live traffic info is frequently updated, showing traffic events from the past five to 10 minutes. The feature is available on mobile devices as well as in the browser version of Google Maps.

More About: europe, Google, Google Maps, gps, live traffic, traffic, traffic info

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

June 18 2011

May 27 2011

Will Nike’s Sportwatch GPS Keep You Running?

The Gadget of the Day Series is supported by the Energizer® Inductive Charger, which brings you the next generation of charging with Qi technology. Qi is the new universal standard for wireless charging … now that’s positivenergy™.

Product: Nike+ SportWatch GPS

Price: $199.99

What It’s Good For: It promises to track your run via GPS without you needing to carry your phone, as it has a push-button satellite connection.

Who It’s Good For: Runners of all levels who want an accurate assessment of their runs, accounting for corners and hills.

Limitations: There’s an awful lot you have to plug this watch into your computer for, such as adjusting the clock and syncing your location. Plus you have to take a few steps to get to the website that shows your running history.

Bottom Line: The Nike+ Sportwatch GPS is very accurate, and with a little software-side tweaking, it could be the perfect scoring system for your runs.

A Look at the Nike+ SportWatch GPS

I love running — so long as I’m getting some kind of credit for it. Some people track calories, others track kilometers. The latter is your score in a real-world video game that can make you healthier faster than just about any other activity. Without a good scoring system, it’s simply too easy to stay in bed instead of hitting the road.

That’s why, ever since the iPhone app Couch to 5K transformed me from a run-o-phobe to a halfway-decent middle-distance runner, I’ve been looking for tech that can inspire me in a similar manner and log my runs precisely. And that’s what I hoped I’d found in the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS.

Prior to reviewing the SportWatch, which came to market last month, I’d been using the Runkeeper app to track my outings. But that can be a somewhat irritating process. Not only does it mean you have to run with your phone strapped to your arm (or bouncing around distractingly in your pocket), but you have to fire up the app, tell it you’re running rather than walking or biking, and wait for it to connect to GPS satellites. And if, like me, you tend to run up, down and around city streets rather than in a straight line, you have to log on to Runkeeper afterwards and painstakingly adjust the map of your run. Because its connection to GPS is not constant, Runkeeper has a frustrating habit of assuming that I ran through buildings rather than around a corner. Unadjusted, this has too often made it look like I ran 9K, say, rather than 10K. The more you run, the greater the lost distance. No fair!

These, then, were my main questions about the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS: Would it have a push-button satellite connection, allowing me to run without the extra bulk of a phone? And would it log my runs more precisely than a phone app? Certainly, the branding would suggest so — the watch was made in conjunction with GPS stalwarts TomTom. Like other Nike products and apps, the watch also connects to the company’s patented shoe pod, which sits in your left sneaker and estimates your distance via your footfalls. But it’s GPS accuracy that you’re paying the big bucks for.

So is it push-button? Literally, yes. Press one button on the side of the watch’s massive face, and the attractive number display is replaced with a “linking” screen. I found that the amount of time it stays on that screen can vary wildly. After I took a trip to Florida, ran there, and came back to San Francisco, it refused to connect to GPS at all. A Nike rep told me that was likely because it was looking for satellites as if it were in its last known location; it would be fixed by simply plugging it in to my laptop’s USB port (there’s a nifty little USB connector built into the strap) and connecting to the Nike+ app. And indeed it was.

There’s the rub, though. There’s an awful lot you have to plug this watch into your computer for, including adjusting the clock itself. Taking a trip outside your time zone without your laptop? Then you’re going to have a hard time — or at least an out-of-sync time. We’re a long way from the convenience of mobile apps here.

The SportWatch GPS does beat Runkeeper on accuracy, overall. The runs shown on the map at Nikeplus.com look more like the route I ran; evidently the TomTom technology is more precise on roads than the iPhone’s GPS chip, so Nike’s software usually understands the concept of street corners without needing adjustment — which is a good thing, because you can’t actually do any adjustment on the Nike map as you can with Runkeeper. The few times my watch was inaccurate, there was no hope of appeal.

Overall, the SportWatch is a pretty cool piece of technology, if a little pricey. I like that Nike has kept it simple and friendly, offering congratulations on a run that beats your previous best time or distance, and personal trainer-like encouragement (“good job!”). It would be nice to have a little more functionality on the watch itself, such as changing the time without an assist from your PC. Where Nike falls down is on the software, which sometimes didn’t load automatically, and takes too many steps to get to the webpage that displays your most recent run.

For that reason alone, Runkeeper will remain my favored system for the moment. With a little software-side tweaking, however, the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS could be the perfect scoring system for real-world video game runs.

Series Supported by Energizer®

The Gadget of the Day Series is supported by the Energizer® Inductive Charger, which brings you the next generation of charging with Qi technology. Qi is the new universal standard for wireless charging. Energizer® has always been designed with performance and responsibility in mind … now that’s positivenergy™.

More Gadget Reviews from Mashable:

- GoFlex Satellite, the Wi-Fi Hard Drive for iPad Movies and More
- Will the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Click With New Users?
- With Latest Firmware, Boxee Box Is Finally Ready for Prime Time
- WiebeTech RTX220-QR: A Hard Drive Enclosure for Video & Photo Pros
- Polaroid 300 Brings Back the Fun of Instant Film

More About: Gadget of the Day Series, gadgets, gps, Nike

For more Tech & Gadgets coverage:

April 21 2011

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