GPS is an enabling technology that does far more than the designers ever dreamed. If you want a quadcopter to fly to a waypoint, GPS does that. If you want directions on your phone, GPS does that. No one in the 70s or 80s could have dreamed this would be possible.
GPS, however, doesn’t work too well indoors. This is a problem, because we really don’t know what is possible if we can track an object to within 10cm indoors. Now there’s a module that does just that. It’s the decaWave DWM1000.
This module uses an 802.15 radio to track objects to within just a few centimeters of precision. It does this by sending time stamps to and from a set of base stations, or ‘anchors’. The module is also a small, and relatively high bandwidth (110kbps) radio for sensors and Internet of Things things makes it a very interesting part.
Some of the potential for this module is obvious: inventory management, and finding the remote and/or car keys. Like a lot of new technology, the most interesting applications are the ones no one has thought of yet. There are undoubtedly a lot of applications of this tech; just about every ball used in sports is bigger than 10cm, and if ESPN ever wanted even more cool visuals, just put one inside.
If you’d like to try out this module, decaWave has an eval kit available through distributors for about $600. Somehow, there’s also a Kickstarter for a board that uses the same module, Arduino compatible, of course.
Thanks [Roy] for the tip.
[Pierre Dandumont] just finished up a little project that will give Google Maps’ location feature a run for its money. It’s a technique that spoofs WiFi networks in order to relocate the positional data reported via WiFi networks.
He starts with an explanation of the different ways modern devices acquire location data. GPS is the obvious, and mobile network triangulation is pretty well know. But using WiFi networks may be a new trick for you. We’re not 100% certain but we think Google is able to look up location data based on known IP addresses for WiFi access points (this would be a good comments discussion). To trick the system all you have to do is feed some captured AP data into the computer before Google Maps tried to lock onto a location. The video after the break shows Maps with the legit location displayed. After running a quick script whose output is shown above the map position is changed to the spoofed location.
Continue reading “Spoofing WiFi AP based geolocation”
The location clock found in the Harry Potter books makes for a really fun hack. Of course there’s no magic involved, just a set of hardware to monitor your phone’s GPS and a clock face to display it.
[Alastair Barber] finished building the clock at the end of last year as a Christmas gift. The display seen above uses an old mantelpiece clock to give it a finished look. He replace the clock face with a print out of the various locations known to the system and added a servo motor to drive the single hand. His hardware choices were based on what he already had on hand and what could be acquired cheaply. The an all-in-one package combines a Raspberry Pi board with a USB broadband modem to ensure that it has a persistent network connection (we’ve seen this done using WiFi in the past). The RPi checks a cellphone’s GPS data, compares it to a list of common places, then pushes commands to the Arduino which controls the clock hand’s servo motor. It’s a roundabout way of doing things but we imagine everything will get reused when the novelty of the gift wears off.
[Troy] recently got his hands on a greengoose starter kit and like any HAD reader would do, proceeded to probe it mercilessly.
The greengoose appears to be some sort of location-tracking device which reports back to a server on the position and location of radio transmitters relative to it. [Troy] managed to not only get the base-station’s firmware, but to also hack it and greengoose’s data to his own server. As if that wasn’t good enough he broke down the packet structure for us. Good job [Troy].
Looks like the greengoose could be a fun tool for anyone interested tweeting the whereabouts of their cat, or checking if the toilet seat lid is down. Let’s see what people come up with.
Straight out of the fiction of Harry Potter is The Magic Clock. Just like in the novel this clock (is it still a clock even thought it doesnt tell time?) shows the current location of family members, from home to the doctor’s office, even to mortal peril (We hear its nice this time of year).
The clock hands are driven by 4 separate servo motors, which are maintained by an Arduino. The location of family members is updated wirelessly via Twitter. We think a script written for each member’s GPS enabled cell phone might be more trustworthy, but it seems to be working fine currently.
Layar brings augmented reality to your cellphone with the release of Layar Reality Browser 2.0. Partnering with Layar, Brightkite improves the experience by accessing their content, along with Wikipedia, Twitter, and other services; then by using the camera on your cellphone, maps friends and other users data on the screen, over top of the live feed. Simply aim your camera at a bar and find that two friends are inside, and read a reminder to yourself that you didn’t like the live music. It’s interesting to see how much is already implemented, and with an additional 500 API keys released, what new things will come from Layar?
Related: AR flash library released, Location aware task tracking
Mozilla Labs has launched yet another new project, this one a location based plugin for Firefox. Geode will let users to take advantage of location data embedded within a web page. Like [MG Siegler] at VentureBeat, we wondered what the point of a location-based desktop browser was, since most cell phones are now GPS-enabled. TechCrunch and CNET’s Webware, cite the example of a user who is looking for a place to eat while out of town. Using Geode, his favorite restaurant review site would know automatically to display eating establishments in the locale he is visiting. As semantic information permeates more and more of the web, we’re certain that we’ll see many more uses for a tools like Geode. Geode’s uses Skyhook’s Loki technology, which determines position base on what WiFi access points it sees just like the Eye-Fi.