Lost? A Shoe Radar Could Get You Back on Track in a GPS Dead Zone

by , 12/07/10   filed under: Wearable Technology

eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology

Photo by Alex Lang

Sure, you have your GPS-enabled phone, a built-in navigation device in your car, and maybe even a TomTom for backup, but drop out of satellite range and you’re SOL. Researchers at North Carolina State and Carnegie Mellon Universities, however, have uncovered a way of putting you back on the map even if you’ve lost your signal. Their solution? Embedding a radar inside your shoe.

eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

CAN YOU FIND ME NOW?

Although GPS devices have been a godsend to the directionally challenged, they mean zip if you’re in a signal-free zone like an underground cave, a dense forest, or the subterranean depths of a shopping mall.

GPS devices mean zip if you’re in a signal-free zone like an underground cave or a dense forest.

One solution is using inertial measurement units (IMUs), which are electronic devices that measure how quickly you accelerate (or decelerate) to determine how far you’ve moved from your starting point. The problem is IMUs aren’t always accurate. If the device thinks you’re moving at 0.1 meter per second when you’re standing perfectly still, for instance, it can throw you off your actual position by 18 meters within three minutes.

eco-friendly shoes, sustainable shoes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, wearable technology

Photo by Hillary Hartley

HOW ABOUT NOW?

To address the problem of accumulating errors, the scientists attached a portable radar sensor to a shoe. The radar is linked to a small navigation computer that tracks the distance between your heel and the ground, so if that measurement doesn’t change over a given period of time, the computer knows that you’re stationary.

To address the problem of accumulating errors, the scientists attached a portable radar sensor to a shoe.

“By resetting the velocity to zero during these pauses, or intervals,” says Dan Stancil, head of NC State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “the accumulated error can be greatly reduced.”

In other words, on your next trip to the mall, you’ll know exactly how to get back to your car.

+ A Low-Power Shoe-Embedded Radar for Aiding Pedestrian Inertial Navigation

[Via Popular Science]

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments.

Add your comments

NEW USER


Do you live in Canada? Register here

I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

You must agree to receive emails from this site to subscribe.

CURRENT USERS LOGIN

Lost your password?