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New Indoor Navigation Technologies Work Where GPS Can’t

GPS doesn’t work indoors, but other radiolocation methods are coming to a smartphone near you

10 min read
New Indoor Navigation Technologies Work Where GPS Can’t
Illustration: Bryan Christie Design

Today you can easily find your way to, say, the nearest Starbucks in a strange city, thanks to a cascade of events that began a little more than 30 years ago, when a Soviet Sukhoi interceptor flying high over the Sea of Japan fired off two heat-seeking missiles. The long-term result: You now have no trouble locating a cappuccino.

Of course, you’re not finding that coffee by the heat it gives off. You are most likely guided to it in missile-like fashion by the GPS receiver in your smartphone or on your dashboard. That ubiquitous piece of consumer technology works—indeed exists—only because the U.S. Department of Defense allowed civilian use of its satellite-based positioning system. That wasn’t the original plan. The Global Positioning System was supposed to be exclusively for soldiers, sailors, and airmen, until President Ronald Reagan ordered a sudden change in policy in response to the deaths of 269 people aboard a Korean airliner that veered into Soviet territory on 1 September 1983. Believing it to be a military aircraft on a spying mission, Soviet air defense forces shot it down.

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Poll: Would You Want to Work a Shorter Week?

Weigh in with your thoughts on a four-day workweek

2 min read
Person holding a giant sized pencil standing next to a giant sized calendar with days crossed out to show a four-day workweek.
iStock

When I worked for a company in Texas a few years ago, one of the benefits I enjoyed was a four-and-a-half-day workweek. The system enabled my colleagues and me to run some personal errands, see our doctors, and pick up our kids from school, among other activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic required many companies to adopt a flexible work schedule to keep their operations open. Many allowed their employees to work from home full time. Nowadays plenty of those employers are trying to persuade their workers to return to the office full time, but they are facing some resistance.

One solution some companies are trying is a four-day, 32-hour workweek for the same pay.

​Does your company offer a four-day workweek?

Would you like to work a four-day workweek?

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Xiaomi’s Humanoid Drummer Beats Expectations

Solving drum-playing helped quest for whole-body control

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot sits at an electronic drum kit

When Xiaomi announced its CyberOne humanoid robot a couple of months back, it wasn’t entirely clear what the company was actually going to do with the robot. Our guess was that rather than pretending that CyberOne was going to have some sort of practical purpose, Xiaomi would use it as a way of exploring possibilities with technology that may have useful applications elsewhere, but there were no explicit suggestions that there would be any actual research to come out of it. In a nice surprise, Xiaomi roboticists have taught the robot to do something that is, if not exactly useful, at least loud: to play the drums.

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Accelerate the Future of Innovation

Download these free whitepapers to learn more about emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Looking for help with technical challenges related to emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing?

Download these three whitepapers to help inspire and accelerate your future innovations:

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