TomTom Go Live 1535M: Has apps, will travel

TomTom's Live connected navigation service gets more useful with the addition of travel-specific apps by Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Twitter. The TomTom Go Live 1535M will be the first device to take advantage of the new functionality, with owners of the Go Live 2353M gaining parity through a software update this fall.

The new apps will live in the Services menu and, to be fair, "Services" is a more apt description of the new functions than "Applications," but we shan't split hairs. What most of the apps do is provide access to a wider selection of points of interest (POIs) than could be preinstalled on the unit, along with secondary information about those POIs.… Read more

Tagg Pet Tracker hooks Fluffy up to Verizon

I know that stab of dread that hits when a four-legged friend goes missing. I've always been fortunate to find my escaped cats hiding out under a nearby bush or car, but it sure would be a lot easier if they just phoned home.

The Tagg Pet Tracker is the next best thing to teaching Spot to use a cell phone. It uses a combination of GPS and Verizon's nationwide wireless network to keep an eye on your mutt's unauthorized meanderings. You can track your furry beloved with a mobile phone or online.

The tracking device is designed for pets over 10 pounds, so certain Chihuahua owners will have to find some other solution. It fits on your pet's collar and has a battery that can hold out for up to 30 days while also resisting water.

The Tagg can be set to send you an e-mail or text alert when your pet wanders outside of its designated home territory. A trip button lets you turn off alerts before you head out for walkies.

The Tagg kit includes a collar tag, docking station, and a year of service for $199.99. That's not cheap, but it's probably less than what you would offer for a lost dog reward.

Multiple tags can be used with a single docking station. Additional tags with a year of service cost $139.99. The Pet Tracker is due to start shipping next month.… Read more

Pioneer AppRadio shows promise, needs improvement

Since it was announced mere months ago, Pioneer's AppRadio has been the subject of quite a bit of buzz in the car audio world. AppRadio is the first in-dash car stereo to be completely controlled by a connected iPhone. The result should be app integration like no other receiver that we've ever seen, making this the ultimate car stereo for iPhone fanatics. I finally got my hands on this first of its kind receiver to put it through its paces in the dashboard of our test car and at the end of testing, I'm left with two … Read more

Yoda brings the Force to Garmin GPS

Last month Darth Vader found his way into Garmin GPS devices, and now Yoda gets his turn, offering some balance against the dark side of the Force.

The Yoda voice skin, which can be found at Spot It Out's GPS App Shop, gives directions for upcoming turns using Yoda's odd speech patterns, although the voice actor is no Frank Oz.

It also fills in with some Obi Wan Kenobi voice clips from the movies, along with sound effects. The coolest thing is the music score, coming on when you arrive at your destination.

Locutio Voice Technologies, which produced … Read more

Vader steers you to the Dark Side on Garmin GPS

Road rage much? If you've got a Garmin, you can now get your Force freak on with Darth Vader as your co-pilot.

About a year after TomTom, Star Wars characters have come to Garmin navigation devices starting with the Sith Lord himself.

Available for $12.99 from Spot It Out's GPS App Shop,, and Best Buy, the Vader voice package features directions such as "You have reached your destination, impressive, most impressive" and "Traffic ahead. The Emperor has foreseen it."

I bet he didn't foresee Carmageddon.

Parts of the "Star Wars" score are thrown in, as well as TIE fighter and lightsaber sound effects.

Check out the demo below. I don't know who does the voice work, but the TomTom version sounds a little more evil. … Read more

Trippy video tracks 'iPhone fireflies'

Watch the HD video below and you'll see a beautiful visualization of how 880 iPhone users moved around Europe in April.

The video, produced by European Web site CrowdFlow, shows iPhone positions as points of light on a map of Europe. CrowdFlow got the data by convincing volunteers to upload iPhone logs, which periodically show iPhone locations. CrowdFlow's points of light fade and spread out the longer it's been since an iPhone's position was recorded at a particular spot.

The project takes advantage of an iPhone feature that collects the location of nearby Wi-Fi and cell networks. This feature caused a stir when it came to light in April that iPhone users were being tracked without their knowledge.

CrowdFlow is combining data from iPhone logs to create an open database of Wi-Fi and cell networks. The goal is to make it easier to visualize how these networks are distributed. This video showing iPhone locations flickering like fireflies is one result. … Read more

Waze to provide traffic data during LA Carmageddon

Crowdsourcing meets broadcast during the July 15th weekend closure of the Los Angeles' 405 freeway, an event that has been dubbed the "Carmageddon" and is expected to cause traffic issues for as many as 500,000 drivers. Social traffic and navigation app Waze has announced a partnership with KABC-TV in Los Angeles to provide live maps, feedback of incidents, and traffic flow for the station's broadcasts.… Read more

MIT algorithm could help prevent midair collisions

MIT researchers are working on an algorithm that could help reduce the likelihood of airplane collisions in the sky, part of work to overhaul the FAA air traffic system.

The FAA's NextGen overhaul mandates that by 2020 all commercial aircraft broadcast GPS coordinates, which would be more accurate than ground-based radar.

The system uses GPS data to track hypothetical puck-shaped zones around smaller aircraft to keep them a safe distance apart. Thousands of small aircraft were involved in near-misses over the past decade and there were 112 midair collisions, according to MIT.

Researchers at the MIT International Center for Air Transportation (ICAT) based the system on months of real-world flight data. A chief goal was to reduce the frequency of false collision alarms. They decided to use two alerts: a moderate one when flight paths are converging, and a severe alert when a collision is imminent. … Read more

Contour+ is our new favorite sports camera

There's a new king of the sports camera hill and it's called the Contour+. This camera packs in every trick in Contour's book, including GPS location technology, smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth, and an established rail-mounting system. It also brings a few new tricks in the form of an HDMI output, a microphone input, and a higher-quality, superwide-angle lens.

Here's a wee bit of inside baseball: If you've checked out a recent episode of Car Tech Live, you've likely already seen the Contour+ in action. We've been using the HD sports camera to record the in-car footage for our On the Road segment for the past month. We've found that while not nearly as rugged as our previous favorite, the GoPro HD Hero, the Contour+ hardware is much easier to use, particularly when paired with the free Contour app for iPhone. (An Android version is just around the corner.)

Check out the full review of the Contour+ to see just how it earned our Editors' Choice award.… Read more

GPS device guides you by pulling your hand

The boffins at Japanese phone giant NTT recently showed off a prototype GPS device that guides users by seeming to pull their hand in a certain direction.

Under development for the past few years, Buru-Navi (PDF) is described as "route navigation by pseudo-attraction force." While it doesn't actually pull hands, vibrations within the unit create that sensation.

NTT Communication Science Laboratories recently showed off its latest version of the device at an open house event in Kyoto.

Weighing about half a pound, the disc contains a weight that moves at different speeds to mimic the sensation of pulling. The video below shows an earlier, rectangular version of Buru-Navi with the weight mechanism exposed. … Read more