Cellphones that can also track a caller's whereabouts once seemed at the leading edge of GPS. Now all sorts of devices can chart their travels as the chips that get location data continue to get smaller and cheaper. From still cameras to fitness watches, a new assortment of gadgets knows where they are, which can also translate into speed and distance readings.
Some combine global positioning receivers with other sensors, including altimeters and timers, that can give fitness buffs and thrill seekers a wealth of data on their progress. Others focus more on safety for kids, seniors, or hikers who like to wander off the beaten path. Here are five of our favorites:
GPS Ski goggles
Ski eyewear is no longer just about protecting the eyes and looking good.
The Transcend Goggle from Zeal Optics will fill eyes with a wealth of action info using GPS and other sensors. The goggles offer data on speed, altitude, distance traveled vertically, stopwatch timing, temperature, and location.
Future versions might display maps, text, or caller ID info from a cellphone.
The Transcend uses technology from Recon Instruments that splashes the data on the inside of the antifog panes, similar to heads-up displays on planes and some cars. With a six-hour battery, the goggles enable skiers and snowboarders to go "bigger, faster, longer, and safer," a promotional video says.
All that, and they still look fetching.
The goggles will sell later this year at a list price of
[It's again possible to get an instant photo even while outdoors.]
Amber Alert GPS 2
The Amber Alert GPS 2G Tracking System is an extra small tracker that kids can wear and that parents can actually use, says the maker.
The device can be carried in a pocket or attached with optional pouches or a band on the ankle or arm.
Besides GPS, the Amber Alert device relies on cellphone signals for sending and receiving location data. It sends an alert if the child holds down the SOS button.
Parents can send a text message from their cellphone to request location information, which comes back as a text message. Or they can track the wearer through a Web portal. Monthly fees depend on how many location requests they want. Unlimited plans that start at
There are paging functions, and you can even monitor voices around the child. Thirty minutes of voice monitoring costing
Nu-M8 Kid-tracking GPS watch
Kid-tracking GPS watch
Another approach is to build the GPS tracking into a watch that kids can wear.
The Nu-M8 is from a U.K. company called Loc8u. It combines location data with a wireless link that can send the location data to a Web portal or as text messages. The watch also sends an alert if it's "forcibly removed." Parents can set up "fences" on a map and get an alert if the child wanders beyond the safe zone. The watch's battery lasts up to a week on standby mode.
Loc8u also is launching a similar device in a watch for adults. It could be used to monitor impaired seniors or wandering sports enthusiasts. The kids' version is available now; the adults' will come out this summer. Both go for about
Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS watch
Workout-tracking GPS watch
Another watch with GPS comes from
The Ironman Global Trainer watch isn't the first GPS watch, but it is relatively sleek and better looking than a lot of its competitors. The watch can track speed, pace, and distance while also measuring location, altitude, and ascent and descent rates.
The data syncs later with computers and can include readings from other
Users can customize the watch's face to display up to four performance measures at a time.
The watch should last all day on one charge and can be recharged via a USB connection to a personal computer or with the included AC adapter. It has memory to store 100 location waypoints, 20 workouts, or 1,000 laps.
Gobandit's GPSHD Camcorder
While GPS chips are appearing more frequently in still cameras, the GPSHD from gobandit is one of the first video cameras that knows where it is.
The camcorder is aimed primarily at outdoor sports fanatics who want full bragging rights.
It records 720p video along with data on current and maximum speeds, altitude, and location. The waterproof camcorder, which is roughly 4 by 2.5 by 1.4 inches, attaches to helmets, bikes, or even the outside of a car, where it can be controlled with the optional remote.
Users upload the video and data to a PC and use gobandit software to add the tracking data, which appears as an overlay on the footage.
The camera can also grab 5 megapixel still images at intervals of several seconds. The video and stills are recorded to 2GB of internal memory, or to more memory added through a card slot.
Gobandit says the video cam will be available in
[Those clips can also be posted to video-sharing sites on the Web.]
Available at Amazon.com:
- How to Save With Cutting-Edge Tech
- Suddenly Instant Photos Are Everywhere
- Technology Opens Doors for Investors
- Apple's iPad: 5 Reasons Why the Apple Tablet Will Flop
- Apple's iPad: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- An Amazon Kindle for Every Student
- The War on the Book
- Ultimate HDTV HD Television Buying Guide
- What's New in Consumer Technology and Electronics
- CES 2010: Peripheral Vision
- Mobile Tech That Stole the Decade
- The Biggest Technology Flops of the Decade
(c) 2010 U.S. News & World Report