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chiaralily, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

GPS-Enabled Top Hat Helps You Navigate in Style

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chiaralily, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Finally, there’s a piece of wearable tech that combines the navigation technology of today with the snappy style of the past. A group of students from Cornell University have created a GPS top hat that uses directional sound cues to help users find their destination hands-free.

According to Hackaday, the hat feeds ambient audio tones into earbuds. A mix of phase shifting and amplitude make it seem like sounds are coming from a specific direction. Users simply follow the sounds, which guide them left, right, forward, or backward, until they arrive at their destination. According to the students’ study, “[the hat] does this by using the user’s current GPS coordinates, the destination’s GPS coordinates, and the user’s head orientation to produce sound through two-channel stereo headphones that can be perceived as coming from the direction of the destination.”

Of course, the sound navigation hat isn’t really a viable replacement for other GPS devices. Instead, the student project is a stylish illustration of new developments in navigational technology. Hackaday explains that the interface the students have created, which replaces visual cues with non-verbal audio cues, could one day be employed by apps to help users navigate without looking at their GPS device. 

The technology, they explain, could be of particular use for the visually impaired. Instead of feeding step-by-step audio directions into an earpiece, the GPS top hat emits a constant tone, that shifts as you change direction, providing constant directional input. “The device represents a step towards a walking-friendly hands free navigation solution that allows a user’s attention to remain on their surroundings,” the study explains. “Sound localization is also more intuitive so that the user can spend less time and attention to process the instructions.”

[h/t: Hackaday]

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WASProject via Flickr
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The World’s First 3D-Printed Opera Set Is Coming to Rome
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WASProject via Flickr

In October, the Opera Theater in Rome will become the first theater to play host to a 3D-printed set in one of its operas. The theater’s performance of the 19th-century opera Fra Diavolo by French composer Daniel Auber, opening on October 8, will feature set pieces printed by the Italian 3D-printing company WASP, as TREND HUNTER reports.

Set designers have been using 3D printers to make small-scale set models for years, but WASP says this seems to be the first full 3D-printed set. (The company is also building a 3D-printed town elsewhere in Italy, to give you a sense of its ambitions for its technology.)

Designers stand around a white 3D-printed model of a theater set featuring warped buildings.
WASP

The Fra Diavolo set consists of what looks like two warped historic buildings, which WASP likens to a Dalí painting. These buildings are made of 223 smaller pieces. It took five printers working full-time for three months to complete the job. The pieces were sent to Rome in mid-July in preparation for the opera.

Recently, 3D printing is taking over everything from housing construction to breakfast. If you can make an office building with a printer, why not a theater set? (Though it should be noted that the labor unions that represent scenic artists might disagree.)

[h/t TREND HUNTER]

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Live Smarter
A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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iStock

Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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