The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists may have found a new way to track secret nuclear tests from those rogue nations (cough cough North Korea cough cough) who are trying to keep those tests under wraps. Surprisingly enough, that new solution may be possible with analysis of regular old GPS data, along with some clever mathematics.
Following the violent kidnapping of former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos last year, some Mexicans are now having themselves implanted with RFID tracking chips similar to the one that was supposedly cut from Fernandez’s arm by his abductors, the Washington Post reports. Companies selling these chips to scared citizens are promising that they will help rescuers track them down in the event of a kidnapping.
A speedboat, submarine and airplane wrapped in one
By Katherine Bagley
Posted 06.29.2011 at 5:00 pm 20 Comments
Outfitted with a 1500cc engine, a watertight cockpit and six dolphin-like fins, the Innespace Seabreacher redefines personal watercraft. The 17-foot vessel can reach 50 mph on flat water, cruise beneath the surface, and launch 18 feet into the air. It’s also got an iPod-compatible sound system and a digital periscope. Summer may never be the same.
The need for more consistent cell reception has led to some major, expensive efforts from wireless carriers--they might spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new 4G network, or billions to acquire a competing carrier.
If your asthma is acting up, you’re probably not the only one. But unless you’re standing next to someone who is also huffing his or her inhaler, you wouldn’t know it. That’s a problem for epidemiologists who do their best work when they’re buried in data, and it’s exactly the problem a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researcher aims to solve with a GPS- and WiFi-enabled inhaler.
Precision guided munitions have completely altered the face of warfare, but the humble mortar has remained virtually unchanged for decades, lobbing explosive rounds at a faraway enemy with a relatively high degree of inaccuracy. Finally, the U.S. army is giving this this infantry workhorse a 21st-century update, fielding GPS-guided mortar rounds for the first time.
Buried beneath November’s headlines depicting rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, European economic woes, and the brazen disclosure of confidential State Department cables, a meaningful geopolitical event went largely overlooked: Nicaragua invaded Costa Rica. There was no shooting war and the incident involved only a small swath of disputed territory along the San Juan River, part of which divides the two nations. But a Nicaraguan commander added an interesting wrinkle to the narrative when he dragged an unlikely culprit into the dispute: Google.
The rise of readily available GPS-enabled devices was supposed to make losing one’s way a relic of a bygone era. But while GPS has undoubtedly changed the way we get around, it’s still imperfect – anywhere the satellite signal can’t reach might as well not be on the digital map because we can’t locate ourselves there. But researchers at NC State and Carnegie Mellon Universities may just have a solution. All they need to do is put radar in your shoe.
In Afghanistan, perhaps more so than in a small Polish town, it’s important to know exactly where you’re going. So you can imagine the frustration felt by Polish troops serving in Afghanistan when faulty GPS equipment told them that they weren’t in Afghanistan, but in one of several African nations or back home in the small town of Zielona Gora in Western Poland.
Global Positioning Systems work famously here on the home planet because we control all of the moving parts; put some satellites in the sky, equip a device with the proper hardware to communicate with them, and you can locate yourself just about anywhere. But how would we locate ourselves in deep space? For that kind of spatial location, a team of Italian researchers have devised a way to calculate one’s position in space using pulsars as interstellar navigation beacons.
Five South African rhinos have been outfitted with an extra layer of defense against poachers, thanks to a GPS chip implanted in their horns. The chips are inserted into a small hole drilled into the dead portion of the horn. Currently being tested in Mafikeng Game Reserve, the devices are connected to a cell phone system that allows game wardens to monitor the animals constantly and remotely.
Bike-sharing programs across the U.S. are getting an upgrade.
By Jackson Lynch
Posted 10.13.2010 at 12:37 pm 0 Comments
Urban bike-sharing in U.S. cities. Already booming in Europe, these membership-based services start around $5 a month, saving commuters at least $5,000 a year on average over owning a car.
Smartphone apps allow riders to find bikes quickly, and inexpensive radio-frequency-identification or GPS chips help bike companies track the riders remotely. The chips are linked to riders’ credit-card information, so they won’t be tempted to steal the bike.
Israeli researchers have created the tiniest-ever optical gyroscopes, as small as a grain of sand, but still maintaining the keen accuracy of their counterparts hundreds of times larger. Optical gyroscopes are generally used for navigation in airplanes, ships and satellites, in which they track movement without reference to external navigation points, by measuring the vehicle’s rotation rate and linear acceleration. This is called inertial navigation.
Our GPS-wielding smartphones have made it somewhat difficult to get lost, say, on the way to the museum. But if you’re waiting for the day your phone will also help you navigate to a specific painting once you’re inside, you might be waiting a while. The technology exists, but no single version is perfect. And a lack of a standout Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) technology means there is no broad agreement on which technology should become the new standard.
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.