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By Andre Fernandes
#117
This is a handheld device that is used to measure the distance from a fixed point of origin.

A known point on the earth's surface is taken as the device's reference point (acceleration, velocity and displacement zero). As the device is moved from this point, it should measure its acceleration and time. The distance travelled can be calculated using equations of motion in physics. Thus at any point in time, the device knows its position relative to the reference point.

This device can be used as an alternative to GPS in cars etc. Also u can measure how much distance u have covered while sitting in a plane, train, bus etc. Also it could be used to trace a path which it is moved through. The difference between this and a car odometer is that it does not require a moving wheel to touch the surface over which it moves.

Reward: Somebody tell me this is a good idea and develop it. Give my name a mention if u do :-)
By Bob
#380
Dear Andre,

The device you decribe has been around since the 1950's. It is called a inertial navigation system (INS). It was used for many years on ships, submarines and aircraft but is now considered obsolete.

Bob
By Kevin Pegrume
#381
I would not say the idea is completely dead in the water. There are miniturised solid state gyroscopes available now that did not exist in 1950s. These are used in "spy in cab" and vehicle traction control systems. As these chips become more widespread the cost of a hand held device based on one may be competitive with GPS. There is surely a market for a device that is a bit more sophisticated than a compass but not as expensive (or as accurate) as a GPS system.
By Shumway
#998
I have a GPS receiver that does all of what you are asking. I can switch the base reference point at will, even us it to guide me to any point on the globe. Although it's not inertial, it certainly provides all of your functions and then some.
By duh
#1009
a handheld GPS unit doesnt require a moving wheel to determine distance and speed....so why dont you want to use it?
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