Location Awareness in Hardware

Location, location, location. Location awareness is going to become standard on newer gadgets (just as it is becoming commonplace with cars). This has of course been coming for a while and I am not the first to say this or write about it, but recently i have seen 4 interesting GPS hardware add-ons that I think signal that its actually coming in the next year. 3 of these are add-ons for your camera; the fourth is the GPS attachment for the PSP.

Sony’s GPS-CS1 GPS, the caribinered GPS records your locations as you are taking pictures. You can use the included software to then sync your photos to the location information. The functionality that this device provides is less significant than the fact that Sony is making it, thus (hopefully) making it more accessible to your average digital camera user. I agree with Engadget, the system won’t really be useful until there’s an easy way to get the photos and the location data out of the Sony system to Flickr. I think that we can safely assume that GPS functionality will start to be rolled into Sony cameras soon; perhaps they will use Sony’s new single GPS chip. (via)

Jelbert’s Geotagger is small device that connects a GPS unit (not included) to your camera. It looks a bit unweildy, but it hooks into the camera via the flash shoe and thus knows exactly when a shot was taken. It records the date, location and orientation of each picture. It requires software (not included) to link up the photos to the location data, but as it is hooked into the camera it should have more accurate data than the Sony GPS. (via)

Eye-Fi’s SD card is the camera modifier that I am most intrigued by. It is a soon-to-be-released SD card that has wireless built in. That is pretty cool on its own, but to show off their technology they built an application that uses the Skyhook Wireless API to determine the camera’s location via the nearby MAC addresses. The application inserts the geotags directly into your photos. So now your auto-geotagged photos can be set to upload automatically to your favorite photo-sharing site. The Eye-Fi comes out in December, but it sounds like Beta testing is going to begin sooner (just sign up for the mailing list to be notified).

I had been noticing the camera mods for a while, but it was the official GPS for the PSP (as opposed to the DIY version) that really got my attention. It will come with a navigation system, but it becomes really interesting when it gets applied to games. Two games, Everybody’s Golf Course and Metal Gear Portable Ops, will make use of the your location during play. It will get really interesting when some Big Games are built around the device. I expect we will see some at next year’s Come Out and Play Festival. I hope to see some PSP games that are purposefully open-ended enough that designers can craft their own games on top of them. To put it another way I want Sony PSP Big Games toolkit. (via)

Of course these are just some of the indicators. If you do a search on Gizmodo, Make:, GearLive, or Engadget you will certainly find more. Now I want it on my phone.