@oldbikefixr: Not sure the security aspect worries me as much. As with any new technology, those issues are addressed over a period of time and I think given that the Internet has been actively in use by the general public for well over a decade, many of the major holes are secure, at least to my satisfaction and for the type of data I put over it. Now that's not to say there aren't breaches and aren't opportunities for hacking--I get that. But it was likely the same for the phone service and other communications tools when they were in the early stages.
As for the indoor GPS, I will join your camp as being a skeptic. I'm one of those people that agree much of this new technology is overkill. However, given that I've been covering technology since the early 80s when the PC first was announced, I'm seasoned enough to see certain innovations take hold with the general public that will just stick, in some form or another. Just had this conversation this weekend with my husband about Facebook technology. Might not be the Facebook we know today, but that kind of social, put it all out there interactive platform is here to stay in some form or another.
A soon to be released product from Guardian Lion called the 'Leo' addresses all of your concerns. It's a cell phone GPS watch with an accelerometer as well. You call call the kid but, the web site will show you where they really ARE! www.guardianlion.com
That's useful to find the phone, tlschott, but what if the phone is in another room? In that case, you would have rescue personnel risking their lives to find phones, not people. There's a lot of instances where people charge their phones in a home office, or living room, or simply forget to take the phone into the bedroom with them.
Isn't this another example of a solution looking for a problem? If you can't locate your children, a GPS really isn't the solution. Same with windshield wiper blades in WallyWorld. I'm confident once the technology is created, applications will abound. Once a technological innovation is announced, manufacturers leap at the opportunity to shoe-horn it into their producs. Not for the purpose of enhancing operation but solely for the purpose of product differentiation. I really don't want to be the first in my neighborhood with a north seeking microprocessor controlled Philips Screwdriver with built-in GPS in case I lose it.
Being an engineer, I personally have a very good 3D understanding of things and places. However, just because we engineers can look at a map and know how to get from one place to another does not mean others can do the same. My wife for example only seems to think in words. She can look at a map all day long and still have no idea how to get where she wants to go. She has to have a verbal description of how to get there. With the size of some of the mails, museums, hospitals, etc an indoor GPS, however it works, would be wonderful for her. Even for me, I have been at malls and decided I wanted to find a specific store, it then took me 5 to 10 minutes just to find a map to find where the store was, only to find the store was the oposite direction from where the map was, so I could find use for it also.
The other thought that comes to mind, with the last new car we got; I got a GPS in it. After using that GPS for 5 years the car was wrecked. I then discovered how dependant I had become on the GPS. Not sure if that is good or bad.
Finally as to locating children, yes you can call them on their phone, but will they actually tell you the truth of where they are?
The retail enhancing possibilities of this technology will undoubtedly pay for itself.
But the greatest benefit I see is for emergency response personnel . . . primarily firefighters slogging their way through a smoke filled building. I can envision a heads up display indicating directions to exit routes based on the firefighters actual location. That might be good information to know when you can't see more than a few feet in any direction.
Giant, a grocery store in MD, has a hand scanner that shoppers can pick up when they enter the store and scan their products as they shop. Additionally, the scanner pop ups deals based on my location in the store. It is a really nice device. So checkout is fast and easy because all I do is scan a barcode my order comes up, pay and go.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.