DARPA Developing Navigation Chip That Doesn't Use GPS Technology - HotHardware
DARPA Developing Navigation Chip That Doesn't Use GPS Technology

DARPA Developing Navigation Chip That Doesn't Use GPS Technology

GPS is a powerful navigational tool that’s changed the way we travel, but it’s not without its shortcomings. The simple chip-to-satellite communication can be disrupted far too easily, for example, such as when a user goes through a tunnel or if there’s simple interference nearby. Being that GPS was originally developed for the military, those limitations are not just inconvenient, but life- or mission-threatening.

DARPA researchers at the University of Michigan have been developing a “timing & inertial measurement unit” (TIMU) that will augment GPS when needed to help a user navigate.

“Three pieces of information are needed to navigate between known points ‘A’ and ‘B’ with precision: orientation, acceleration and time,” reads a post from DARPA. “This new chip integrates state-of-the-art devices that can measure all three simultaneously.”

TIMU chip
TIMU chip resting on a penny

The TIMU chip (which is still a prototype) is just 50 microns thick and contains a six-axis IMU consisting of three gyroscopes and three accelerometers as well as a master clock. All of the layers are made from silica, which the researchers believe to be an ideal substance for integrating all of layers into a single package by dint of its hardness and performance.

The TIMU chip is smaller than a U.S. penny and is designed to fit easily into products from handheld navigation devices to “small airborne platforms”.
0
+ -

Being in the electronics domain, i clearly see the difficulty of making such a small chip. It wouldn't be hard to make a bigger one but the miniaturization is simply astonishing!

0
+ -

Holy crapples batman! Pretty impressive. It amazes what companies can do these days and this would be useful for in downtown metropolitan areas and such. DARPA always has cool stuff they are doing.

0
+ -

Using this ~with~ military grade GPS should be full-proof. There's nothing quite like knowing where the heck you are,.....

I love the miniaturization too. I was exposed to a lot of cool technology when I worked in the space program (many years ago) and a lot of it is available commercially now.

0
+ -

woah... Thats pretty nuts. I'm surprised they could make it that small

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment
Username:   Password: