Posts Tagged ‘ABC News’

Car chases are exciting, but fraught.

One slip of the wheel, one errant pedestrian, one drunken driver, and difficult consequences may follow.

Police in Iowa and Florida, however, seem to have taken the counsel of Q from the “Bond” movies.

Instead of constantly hurtling after potential madmen, they have found an entirely new method of tracking their cars.

It’s called Starchase. Essentially, it’s a cannon that fires “bullets” that are sticky GPS devices.

CBS 12 offered an example in real life of how it’s done.

Iowa state trooper Tim Sieleman seemed rather mesmerized. He told CBS 12: “If you had told me 16 years ago that I would have had a cannon on the front of my car, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Officers in St. Petersburg, Fla., also are testing the system. As ABC News reports, the operation of the compressed air gun (not too unlike the sort that fires T-shirts into the crowd at NBA games) is quite simple.

The officer in the driver’s seat presses one button, the grill opens, and the gun fires the bullet.

If all goes well, the bullet, with a GPS device enclosed, sticks to the back of the car being pursued.

Once it does, the officer can slow down, because the suspect’s car will be tracked along the computer screen.

One further advantage, of course, is that the suspect’s car will likely feel the police have given up and hopefully slow down.

This seems so blindingly intelligent, at least until miscreants catch on, that there can’t be a drawback.
There is one. The system costs $5,000, and each bullet sets the taxpayer back $500.

As usual, a wise accountant and a conscientious bureaucrat will huddle together to see if it’s all worth it.However, for the passerby, won’t it be fun to see police car grills open up and bullets being shot out of them?

German inventors have developed a new pen that gently vibrates every time it senses a spelling mistake or sloppy handwriting.

Lernstift is a regular pen with real ink but inside it, is a special motion sensor and a small battery-powered Linux computer with a Wi-Fi chip.

These parts allow the pen to recognize specific movements, letter shapes and know a wide assortment of words. If it senses bad letter formation or messy handwriting, it will vibrate, ‘ABC News’ reported.

Users can choose between two functions: Calligraphy Mode pointing out flaws of form and legibility or Orthography Mode recognizing words and comparing the word to a language database. If the word isn’t recognized, the pen will vibrate, according to Daniel Kaesmacher, the 33-year-old co-founder of Lernstift from Munich. The other co-founder , 36-year-old Falk Wolsky had the idea for the pen last year while his 10-year-old son was doing his homework.

“His son had been struggling with his work and staying focused and Falk thought there should be a pen that gives him some sort of signal so he stays focused ,” Kaesmacher said.

After a year and a half in development, the founders have now brought Lernstift to Kickstarter to begin raising money and gauging interest.