Sunday, March 18, 2012

8 Weird Uses for GPS

GPS drawing

One of the cooler–yet still odd–uses of GPS is GPS Drawing, pictured above.

GPS technology is becoming pretty advanced, and the list of uses for it is constantly getting longer. But are some of these really necessary? I have found what I think are some of the strangest uses for GPS currently available, so you can read through and tell me what you think. Most of these aren’t something that someone would use on a daily basis, but still odd for the fact that at some point, someone thought it was not only a good idea—but then did it.


1. Rat Remover – In Alaska, conservationists have used GPS to help remove rats from Rat Island in the Aleutians by using GPS guided rat pellets. The goal was to get rid of the rats so the seabirds will return to the island. No word whether or not it was successful, but GPS-guided rat poison is definitely a weird use in my book, and probably a bit of overkill (pardon the pun).

2. See who is around you – The Happn app creates a profile for you (pulling pictures and relationship data, likes and other information) based on your social media accounts (mostly Facebook), and then will tell you who you have ‘crossed paths’ with using GPS. The app insists that they are very careful with your information and there are protections in place so you can block people from seeing your location…but still. Seems a little stalker-y that someone you walk past could check you out on Facebook to see if they want to pursue a conversation. Kinda weird.

3. GPS Bra – This one tops my list. Developed by a student in India, this bra is meant to be an anti-rape bra has the ability to not only send an alert complete with GPS coordinates to a specified contact, but it also delivers a powerful electric shock—severe enough to burn—to anyone who unhooks the bra. I’m not sure if I want to laugh at the device or be upset that such lengths are deemed necessary. Regardless…kind of a weird application.

4. Condom Finder – Yep, you read that right. The New York Department of Health and Mental Services has an app that uses GPS to determine where the nearest free condom supply is, and also gives you details on how to use them.

5. Shoes – We actually wrote an article about this, but there are a few different shoe GPS devices, either in the insoles or the actual shoes themselves. Very James Bond, but seems a little unnecessary to me.

6. GPS Drawing – There is actually an entire website devoted to this, and some of the GPS drawings are pretty cool. Basically, someone rides (or walks or drives) in a specific pattern, tracking their route with GPS. Then, when they upload the route, the drawing emerges. Both weird and kind of neat.

7. Nativity GPS trackers – Apparently nativity scenes—especially baby Jesus—are commonly stolen around Christmastime, so some companies have been giving away free GPS trackers to churches to protect their nativities. The project is aptly called “Save Jesus.” While I applaud protecting private property, it still seems a little strange.

8. Shopping Cart GPS – A few companies have been developing GPS for shopping carts so you don’t have to walk up and down every aisle looking for something. I’m not sure what that would do for supermarket sales, but it certainly would be nice to be directed to the exact product you wanted.


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