GPS Cyborg Implant

Last week, I wrote a short Python script that uses a USB GPS device under Linux to help with navigation.  It doesn’t have maps or anything — it just gives distances and, while you’re moving, the direction to the destination (as in “two o’clock”).  It prints this info on the terminal and speaks it using speech synthesis.

I joked about this in Comic #407, but it’s actually a pretty practical way to get around.  Just knowing what direction something’s in is a huge step toward finding it.  This past week I’ve used it successfully to find my way around towns I don’t know, and we even used it while driving to navigate to an out-of-town destination.

Plus, there’s the bonus that when you’re walking, wearing an earpiece, laptop in the bag, listening to the computerized voice whisper “TARGET DIRECTION THREE O’CLOCK DISTANCE ONE POINT THREE KILOMETERS ETA FIFTEEN MINUTES” into your ear, you feel like a cyborg.  I’ll have to set it up with a female voice and rename it “jane.py”.

Edit: I’ve just been testing the recent changes to this script, and it’s really not in a condition where I should be posting it anywhere.  But if you can use it as a starting point for hacking, here’s the link.  Some of you might find it useful sometime soon.

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