Don`t expect technological advancements in the GPS sector to stay solely in the realm of in-car and handheld navigation units. Take for example Making Virtual Solid, a New Jersey-based company, that’s developed Virtual Cable, an innovative in-car display very different from the typical GPS unit. Virtual Cable is a projected 3D image projected onto your windshield that appears as if it’s suspended over the road. The company claims it works better than voice command in in-dash or mounted GPS units because the cable appears to bend around the turn well before your arrival, eliminating any chance of potentially dangerous last minute maneuvers. Interestingly, the technological has to be installed in-factory and “can be integrated with any method of route planning: voice interface, in-car instrument panel screen, portable map display system, cell phone, PDA, or PC”. A detailed explanation of the Virtual Cable technology can be found here, but it is made up of components currently mass produced for other applications, and uses a volumetric head-up (HUD) display device located behind the dashboard of the car.
Another interesting GPS-related application comes from a cool company called Bug Labs, who were recently awarded CNET’s Best Of Emerging Technology Award at CES 2008 in Las Vegas for their snap-together electronics modules that with some Java programming can become any gadget you can imagine. Their online store just opened and one of the available modules available for the early adopter price of $79 is the BUGlocate, a GPS receiver that uses a SiRF chipset and active and passive antenna configurations to receive information from 20 separate satellites. The BUGlocate can also be integrated with other modules such as a touchscreen LCD display, motion detector and accelerometer, and a 2MB digital camera with a built-in flash.
Advancements such as these make me wonder what the GPS sector will look like in 5 years. Shipments are predicted to reach 900 million units by 2013, but technologies such as the Virtual Cable could render dash units defunct. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
Image Credits: Making Virtual Solid, Bug Labs