Space Products & Innovation
Travel, Lifestyle, and Entertainment
GPS technologies continue to evolve, and several companies are energetically marketing GPS receivers embedded into products and platforms beyond phones or dedicated devices. For example, recent advances in miniaturizing GPS modules have allowed GPS watches to more closely resemble regular wristwatches in overall size and feel, while at the same time providing more features.
The integration of GPS receivers in smartphones has resulted in a surge of travel and navigation applications that can be used to enhance a travel experience. A startup company called My IndiEye Travel Companions has developed a GPS-enabled tourism application that can be used as an on-site tour guide at landmarks in India.
Space products and services provide people with new and more convenient ways to enjoy themselves at home or when traveling. Entertainment programming relies heavily on the global reach of satellites, particularly for major events such as the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Although space technology might be expected to play a role in smartphone applications and high-tech mobile entertainment systems, it can also appear in completely unexpected places, such as shoes. CAP-K, a spinoff company of ARTEC Aerospace in Toulouse, France, is using damping technology originally developed for Europe’s Ariane launch vehicle.
Communications satellites continue to contribute dramatically to entertainment, particularly while traveling by sea. Seamless high-definition television (HDTV) service is now available to mariners as they travel around the globe. In the past, if sailors traveled to a new region and changed satellite TV service providers, they would need to install new hardware to access the signal in addition to signing up for the new service.
Many applications use a “check in” feature, in which users share their location information via phone, to encourage connections between friends and to help businesses reach customers. The Nearparent application uses this technology to increase personal safety, allowing children to check in at a location and automatically alert parents they have arrived safely at their destination.
Many GPS-enabled smartphones focus on locating the essentials: restaurants, hotels, museums, and other tourist spots. However, some more unique options are also available. Roadside America by This Exit encourages road-trippers to take a detour by providing a map of thousands of the funniest and weirdest attractions, from the largest ball of twine to a park made entirely of concrete.
Wherever they may go, travelers can take advantage of new hairstyling tools derived from space-related nanomaterial research. Nanoceramic materials were developed by NASA researchers for the manufacture of microcapsules capable of delivering cancer-fighting drugs.