Self-piloted drones may be able to land or fly almost anywhere -- even aircraft carriers -- but they need some complex navigation skills to do it, including the somewhat existential ability to know where they are in the world. But this is difficult without some type of onboard relative positioning system.
The kind of accurate geolocation offered by Global Positioning Systems has typically been difficult to apply indoors because metallic structures like buildings disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field, rendering compasses like the one found in many smartphones useless when inside. So map- and app-maker IndoorAtlas decided to spin these magnetic disturbances into something useful.
When you control a budget that exceeds a trillion dollars, you don’t have to wait until after Thanksgiving to start writing your holiday present wish list. The Department of Defense (DoD) has just released an early version of its small business programs for 2012, with every branch clamoring for futuristic technology that ranges from transforming robots to nanotech medicine to sensors that can figure out political beliefs through language analysis.
If you've been convinced for years that John Madden has been replaced by an iPod filled with generic football commentary, you might be excited to learn that Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne has been working on an even more advanced version. This one is equipped with artificial intelligence so it can actually see what's happening on the field and provide commentary.
New shoes with built-in GPS devices will go on sale this month to help track dementia patients who wander off and get lost. Caretakers can download a smartphone app that allows them to track the person wearing the shoes, which could help patients with Alzheimer’s disease stay in their homes and live autonomously for longer periods.
Congratulations, comrades. Though it was no real secret, the news is sweeping Russia this week that Apple’s new iPhone 4S models are tapping that country’s GLONASS navigation system alongside the usual GPS, marking “the first time the Russian system reached the world market,” as one notable Russian business daily put it.”
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.