The US military has been spending a great deal of time and money over the last decade or so trying to develop ways to make the on the ground solider more “plugged in” to the modern battlefield. Enter the Land Warrior system (LWS), a component of the Advanced Warfighter System the military is trying to roll out. Apparently the current version (third incarnation) of the LWS is being readied to be deployed for use by troops in Iraq. If this article is to judge, this seems like an idea that is great on paper, but not quite there in implementation. The troops using it don’t seem to like it very much. I find that unfortunate since I have all faith that a system like this will be on every combat troop in the next 20 years. It just makes too much sense not to have it. Of course, like we all know, LBS systems are evolving almost by the minute, so it’s no surprise the the military hasn’t gotten it right just yet.
The chumby, as I have mentioned before, is a great little device that will be the size of an alarm clock, have wifi, run Flash apps, and is infinitely hackable in terms of Flash apps, hardware and even its appearance (starts out as a beanbag with a screen). The site has recently been updated and it should be shipping in early summer. I still want to see a Loki hack so that it can find its location using the built in wifi.
Yep, we are all addicted to tech around here at the VerySpatial ‘office’. We have cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, handheld games (PSP, DS…), laptops, consoles, desktops digital cameras…you get the idea. I am confused by the discussion of the impact of tech addiction on spatial awareness, but I like the idea that being deluged with information is good for us. Check out the article on the BBC website
If you’re really into watching professional biking, but haven’t as of yet had the resources to go to an actual race, this news is for you. The Amgen Tour of California is going to feature riders with geotracking devices to chart the rider’s movements in real time. As Wired is reporting, “The system uses a complicated home-brew combination of GPS data, general packet radio service signals, HTTP streaming and SMS messaging to send data to and from the network of about 20 GPS satellites. The system can pinpoint a rider’s position within just a few yards, which is much more accurate than plain GPS, which is accurate only to within about 65 feet.” It should be neat to watch via their custom web app.
Via Wired News
A recent Gold Prize winner at the International Design Competition is the Dandella, a lovely and simple GPS tracking device shaped like a flower stem. Once it is set up with locations, you just activate the Dandella and it lights up and points in the direction you need to go, or points to another Dandella if you’ve synced them up. The name Dandella apparently means “dandelion floating on the breeze” and the docking station is shaped like a flower vase to continue the floral theme.
All I know is….I want one. But, unfortunately, they are still only a design concept at this point, and no word on when or if they will make it to the consumer market.
After switching to LED lights in one of their parking garages, Raleigh realized it can save 40% a year off of their utility bill if they make the switch permanent. Now the city is thinking of taking the experiment city wide. Although they realize the upfront costs are much higher for LED lights, they last longer and use less electricity, thus making them more cost effective in the long run.
Being a gadget junky, I’m excited about the idea of LED lights. There are a few decent LED replacement bulbs out there for the home user. However, the price is rather frightening. I’m taking a wait and see approach for my house, but I applaud Raleigh’s move
Yes, leave it the Japanese to come up with an automated robot snowplow! Not only does the plow gobble up the snow like a giant roomba, it has onboard GPS and embedded video cameras for self-guidance. And really, how could you resist your own brightly yellow painted giant pokemon clearing your sidewalk and driveway while you stay toasty warm inside. Maybe someone could arrange a friendly airdrop of these guys to help clear out snow-buried upstate New York….
Via Pink Tentacle
The Last Mile problem is a well known issue in wireless broadband circles. Running between, say, cities is easy… getting it the last mile to individual houses is hard. Most of the solutions thus far have focused on rather expensive technologies (like tower based WiFi) that have limited utility. Enter these gentlemen. They are using low cost equipment that originates inside a dwelling, as opposed to outside on the pole, to spread WiFi Mesh networks. The idea is pretty intriguing and might have a great deal of utility, particular in low income areas. The one example the article cites indicates one landlord has rolled out Internet access at the expense of something like $1/month per household. That’s pretty darn impressive!
To be honest, I’ve wondered for a long time now why more companies haven’t been using more traditional router solutions. They’re cheap, they’re easy to configure, and they everywhere. I figured I was missing some key bit of information if everyone else was using boxes that cost hundreds of dollars each. Apparently I wasn’t.
Some Sunday fun while I am editing the audio. I came across the Virtual Chumby which isn’t going to hold me over to the physical product in the spring quarter, but it will amuse me over the next couple of weeks.
Still no spatial (Loki) widget for the Chumby yet, I haven’t checked the forums for a GPS hardware hack lately.