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Tag Archives: GPS

DeLorme InReach Can Save You When Stranded In Nowhereland

By David Ponce

Surviving by yourself in inhospitable conditions is really only fun on TV. There’s only so much of your own pee you can drink, so many camel testicles you can eat and so many carcases you can crawl into before you realize that you really should have packed something like DeLorme’s InReach two-way satellite hookup before leaving for a trek across the Sahara. For $250 and a $10 a month subscription, you can send distress SMSs to pre-designated recipients along with your GPS coordinates, with a delivery confirmation. If you happen to also be carrying an Android phone, you can pair through Bluetooth and actually send and receive messages. There’s an SOS button in case all you’re able to do before passing out is to press a button. Finally, the InReach is rugged, waterproof, shock-resistant and buoyant.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crave ]

Drunk In London Much? This App Will Wake You When You Reach Your Bus Stop

By David Ponce

Getting around in London on public transport just got a little easier. The BusChecker app not only gives you countdowns until your next bus arrives at any of the 20,000 London bus stops, but it packs a neat feature that any drunk/sleepy person could use. See, with iOS 5s region monitoring feature, you can simply get on the bus, tell the application where you’re going and doze off. An alarm will ring as you reach your station. Whether you’ll be awoken from your slumber is another matter altogether.

Aside from that, you can keep track of your bus on a map. BusChecker is around $3.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Wired's Gadget Lab ]

MyRingGuard Can Save You In Case Of Emergency

By David Ponce

This is a great idea. The MyRingGuard is a prototype silicone and plastic ring that sends a distress text message along with your exact GPS location to a pre-determined set of people in case of emergency. They can then decide to either come to you, call 911 for you or walk around their apartment while flailing their arms, in agony over how to best come to your help. Say you’re out running late at night and trip and injure yourself. Or you fear for your safety for whatever reason. Instead of reaching for your phone just press your thumb to your index finger and the ring will communicate through Bluetooth and send out those distress signals. Think of it as a sophisticated panic button.

Currently the MyRingGuard is in the crowdfunding phase, not on your usual Kickstarter but on another social funding site. For $39 you can get a ring, though you’re free to contribute more to attain the stated $30,000 goal. However it appears to only work with Android powered phones at the moment.

[ MyRingGuard Funding Page ]

Tagg Pet Tracker – Keeping Your Pet Safe with Technology

By Eric Evdosin

Do you have a dog or cat that likes to stray away from the yard and you are always trying to find them? The Tagg Pet Tracker combines GPS and wireless technology to make keeping tabs on your pet simple. You use the GPS to help build a defined “safe zone” for your pets. Whenever they stray outside of this area you are quickly notified by text and/or email.

The Tagg Pet Tracker is tied into the Verizon data network giving you coverage in most parts of the country. This powerful combination of GPS and wireless communications takes away the fear of losing a pet and allows you to walk directly to where they are playing their game of pet hide-and-seek. The Tagg Pet Tracker retails for $199.95 and includes a full year of service.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Crnchy ]

TomTom Releases Go Live Top Gear Edition

By David Ponce

You won’t care much about this if you don’t obsessively watch the best car show on the planet, UK Top Gear. Then again, if you don’t watch it, perhaps you should just curl up in a ball and not do much at all; life isn’t worth living when one lacks appreciation for this show… The rest of us however will find it interesting to know that TomTom has released a special “Top Gear Edition” of its GO LIVE GPS navigator. The most obvious features is that your directions will be voiced by the giant himself, Jeremy Clarkson. But that’s not where it ends. Other unique features include

    Top Gear Points of Interest like “an exhaustive of racetracks and raceways, including the Top Gear Test Track.”
    Unique Top Gear car icons.
    Top Gear start up and shut down screens.
    And my personal favorite, “Stig Mode”. It renders the satnav instantly silent!

It’s $270 and available for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

[ TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition ] VIA [ Xataka ]

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Designed With All Athletes In Mind

Garmin Forerunner 910XT (Image courtesy Garmin)
By Andrew Liszewski

Professional athletes often rely on very specialized gear. But the latest addition to Garmin’s Forerunner line of GPS capable watches is designed for athletes from all disciplines. Including cyclists, runners and even swimmers. The 910XT continues to shrink wristworn GPS technologies with a form factor that can even be worn when getting in or out of a tight wetsuit. The press release claims the watch is water resistant to 50 meters, though I’m hoping they mean ‘waterproof’ otherwise I’d be leery of ever submerging it. But I’m suspecting the latter since it’s designed for both open water and pool swimming, keeping track of metrics like swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count and pool lengths. It’s also capable of calculating a swimmer’s ‘swolf’ score which, according to Garmin, is “the sum of the time for one length plus the number of strokes for that length.” And like golf, the lower the score the better.

For those who prefer exercising on dry land (for the record I count myself in neither camp) the Forerunner 910XT includes all of the necessary stat tracking for runners and cyclers like distance, pace and speed, elevation and even heart rate when used in conjunction with a monitor. A quick-release bike mount even keeps the watch front and center while riding, and a new ‘Virtual Racer’ feature lets athletes compete against their best times. Battery life is rated around 20 hours, but I’m assuming with the GPS functionality disabled you can get away with wearing it as a regular watch for a few days between charges. And of course all of the data the watch collects can be offloaded to your PC for analysis, or uploaded to the Garmin Connect online community if you’re particularly competitive. Pricing and availability are still TBA.

[ PR - The Ultimate Multisport Training Experience: Garmin Forerunner 910XT ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

‘Oh Music, Where Art Thou?’ App Uses Your Music As A Navigation Aid

Oh Music, Where Art Thou? App (Images courtesy Eindhoven)
By Andrew Liszewski

While turn-by-turn voice prompts certainly make navigating with a GPS device easier and safer while driving, they’re still not necessarily the best solution while riding a bike. Not having easy access to the navigation device, or more likely your smartphone, hinders their usability. So a team at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has created an interesting alternative.

Instead of a voice telling you to turn here or go there, their Oh Music, Where Art Thou? app adjusts the volume and left/right mix of your music, providing auditory hints of where you should be heading. So when you should be going to the right (not necessarily just a turn) the sound in your headphones would be heavier on the right side. And as you got closer to your destination, the music would get increasingly louder. Kind of like playing hot or cold.

What’s particularly nice about the system is that you don’t need to see your smartphone’s display at any time, and you’re not really limited to a specific predefined route. On the down side though, in order for the compass to accurately detect the position and orientation of your head to adjust the music accordingly, your device pretty much needs to be strapped to your noggin. Hence the special headphones pictured above.

If you’re curious how well it works, and happen to live in Stockholm, you can download a prototype version of the app for your Android smartphone here.

[ Oh Music, Where Art Thou? ] VIA [ NewScientist ]

Tagg Pet Tracker

Tagg Pet Tracker (Images courtesy Snaptracs)
By Andrew Liszewski

While your teenager might frown on having a GPS tracking device strapped to their neck, there’s nothing your pets can do about it. So the Tagg system is yet another GPS + cellular based solution that allows you to keep tabs on your animal if you’re the type who just lets them roam the neighborhood. The tracker itself is lightweight, but still designed for dogs and cats over 10lbs. And it can be worn 24/7, even while swimming. The battery’s good for up to 30 days, depending on your pet’s travels and usage patterns, and it can be easily recharged with an included base station.

Besides keeping track of where your pet has been and allowing you to see their meandering route on a map when logged into their website, the Tagg system also allows you to setup virtual perimeters. When your pet leaves this pre-defined area you’ll receive text or email notifications, depending on your preference. The Tagg also lets you know when the battery is nearing depletion so you can charge it up before it’s completely dead, and there’s a trip button allowing you to temporarily suspend alerts and notifications when you’re intentionally outside your perimeter. Available come September for $199.99 which includes a year of cellular service. Though I can’t seem to find what the service costs after that.

[ Tagg Pet Tracker ] VIA [ CNET ]

DeLorme’s inReach Handheld GPS Can Send Emergency SMS Messages

DeLorme inReach (Images courtesy DeLorme)
By Andrew Liszewski

GPS-equipped smartphones have slowly been replacing dedicated GPS units because quite frankly, they just do more. But DeLorme is making a strong case for still carrying a separate GPS navigation device, particularly their new inReach which allows you to send SMS messages using the Iridium satellite phone system. From basically anywhere on Earth. Because it’s clearly lacking a keyboard or touchscreen display, the inReach allows you to create three different emergency messages before you head out on your adventure. Then when things go wrong you can send the one that’s most appropriate for your dire situation. When the SOS indicator light on the inReach changes color, you’ll know that your message was received and that help is on the way.

The inReach can also be paired with an Android smartphone, allowing you to send 160 character messages as emails, SMS, or even update Facebook and Twitter with your recent exploits, or a final goodbye if you’re in real trouble. The device also sends your location data back to the DeLorme servers where friends and family can track your location online. The service will start at $9.95 per month for basic safety, and goes up from there if you need the advanced messaging and tracking. As for the price of the hardware and availability? Currently unknown.

[ DeLorme inReach—two-way satellite communication ] VIA [ Werd & Wired Gadget Lab ]